It isn’t a secret that I have a difficult time reconciling my love for Jesus Christ, as well as His undying love for us, with the hellfire and brimstone teachings we often grow up hearing from pulpits across the nation. Let’s face it, it was Christ Himself who beautifully and brazenly pissed off all the church leaders of his day by drinkin’ too much, standing by an adulteress, befriending a tax collector, and hobnobbin’ and loving all the wrong sorta folks.
I’m baffled by the centuries of pernicious shame that mainstream church teaching has sown among millions of Christian followers in light of verses such as John 3:17. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” And yet, so many church-goers seem to take a perverse delight in condemning their fellow followers of Christ.
It seems so easy for some Christians to write off those Christians who are drinkers, queer, divorced, adulterers, fornicators, smokers, lapsed, questioning, or … you name it. But aren’t these the self-same people that Christ died for on Calvary? I’m grateful to God that He did not write off those of us who sin (Greek, ἁμαρτία, ας, ἡ, hamartia, meaning “to miss the mark”).
Perhaps this is why Jesus made it clear that we should be concerned with our own faults, not our neighbors’ faults, when he said, “You hypocrite! First, remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5). He always made it clear that judging was to be done by the Father since “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
With His help, may I never be the one to cast the first stone. (John, chapter 8).