Dear Friend Who Might Not Identify with the Christian Faith,
Once again, I am so embarrassed. I have to apologize. Apparently, some of us Christians still haven’t figured out what causes are worth defending and fighting for. Apparently, we still have a difficult time understanding what true justice is. Apparently, there is something we still have a hard time getting. What you need to know, what you may not see from some Christ followers when they are being held accountable to their lack of wisdom and judgment, is that Jesus actually had this beautiful way of imparting justice through grace. It was so backwards! It didn’t make sense to the people of his day and it still doesn’t make sense to the people of ours. But, his ultimate act of justice was to turn condemnation on its head and to provide a way for us to be fully justified through grace. So, you need to know that if what us Christians say and what we do does not represent this tender and unyielding grace, we are out of step with what our faith tells us. This upside down justice also tells us that when we say and do hurtful things, things that express anything but grace and mercy, we drop our defenses. We apologize. We are wrong.
People are so desperate to be on the side of what’s right. I recently read a blog defending a popular reality T.V. star and some Scripture he quoted and comments he made. Someone commenting wrote, “I’ve actually lost friends over this issue.” She wrote it as a badge of honor for defending her faith. Really?? You’ve lost friends over some comments made by a reality T.V. star? Wow. My friend, please know that Jesus also had this amazing way of making friends… And the friends he made were so unlikely. They weren’t who you would expect. He didn’t make friends based on who he identified with, or who made him feel comfortable, or who represented all of his core beliefs. He made friends based on who needed a friend the most… The outcast of society, the sick, the weary, those sitting in condemnation. Why? Because he was the embodiment of love. In fact, the friends he lost were the ones who didn’t like who he was making friends with! Scripture teaches us that love is gentle, kind, and humble. It teaches that love does not seek our best self-interest and is not easily angered. It hopes in all things and it perseveres. It says that love never fails. Scripture also says that GOD IS LOVE. Bottom line. Every time. This is why I follow him. This is who I want to be like.
I fail so often at true love– at true God. Sometimes I forget what it looks and sounds like to be like Jesus. I have said many things that I regret– Things that were such a poor representation of justice, mercy and grace. For this, I am deeply sorry. But, through it all, I have learned that I don’t need to be on the side of what is right. If you find me defensive about anything, may you find me defending the cause of the oppressed, the orphan, the widow. If I’m fighting for justice, may I fight for justice on behalf of those who have been hurt time and time again by judgment and ridicule. If I’m losing friends, may it be because they just can’t handle the way I love. If this doesn’t put me on the right side, then I guess this is the risk I have to take.
Your Christian Friend