I ran across this video on Facebook Friday night. Around 11:30. I had just posted a status update about finally clearing out my inbox…managed to answer and reply to all of my email, file what needed filing and finally delete some things that were just taking up space. I’m down to two remaining emails, y’all. I feel liberated.
I was headed to bed, but I got sidetracked looking at one of my college roommates recent wedding photos. Don’t you love how Facebook allows us to see glimpses into people’s lives when we can’t be near the people we love? Anyway…as with any social media site, I somehow started jumping around from profile to profile; reading
stalking and looking at photos, when a video caught my eye. I don’t do YouTube videos too terribly often, but this one got my attention. I’ve placed it below. Take a second to watch (it’s 3:00-ish minutes…I’m sure you can spare it and it’s worth it).
Josh and I have talked about this very thing time and time again in our lives. This is a topic that gets me fired up and ready to start shouting. If I’d been in the room when someone started talking about this, I’d have been one of those women shouting hearty “Amens” and “Praise Jesus!”
I’ve been part of places where the moment you let your weakness show…admit to your shortcomings…let on that you aren’t perfect like Christian’s are “supposed” to be…everything changes. I’ve been on the receiving end of those judgmental stares. On the other side of the room when the whispers start. Been the brunt of an indirect but oh-so-obvious Facebook status.
And it’s wrong.
If you don’t know my story, let me give you a quick rundown:
I drank myself to the point in college where I should have ended up dead. Not only did I drink to an extent that I was an alcoholic at not even 20 years old, waking up hungover and spending the day itching for the evening when I’d party it up again, but I was also foolish with my choices…looking to hookup with whoever I could, whenever I could. Trying to find acceptance through popularity and doing what the “popular” girls did.
How I didn’t end up dead in an alcohol related car wreck or pregnant with an illegitimate child, is by God’s grace only. And it’s only by God’s grace that I’m still here and have reached the point in my life where I am comfortable sharing my mistakes and hoping that others learn from them.
But you know what? Those mistakes? Those stupid choices?
They don’t make me any less SAVED than anyone else.
We ALL have baggage. We all need grace.
If we didn’t, then the cross? The cross is meaningless.
I’m not bashing the church or saying we don’t need the church. God gave us the church-the body of believers we are supposed to come together with to worship and fellowship-as a gift. But, it’s been the church-the building, the body of believers thumping the scripture over people’s heads-that has led people away.
It’s the church that’s left me feeling many times over like I don’t want to be a Christian anymore.
Because as unfortunate as it is, “christianity” isn’t the same today as it was when Jesus Christ walked this earth.
Christianity isn’t a once a week (twice if you go on Wednesday’s) thing to just check off your list.
It’s not driving the most expensive car, to the most prestigious building, wearing the top of the line name brand clothes and sitting in the front row singing louder than anyone else, interjecting the “amen” in the right spot.
It’s not knowing or memorizing the most scripture or being able to understand Hebrew.
It’s not knowing the Books of the Bible or having the most verses highlighted on those tissue paper thin pages (Bonus points if you use something like the inductive method with all kinds of different colors, all coordinated in accordance to subject matter.)
It’s not looking the other direction when a brother or sister in Christ is struggling and needs your help. It’s not passing judgement or condemning someone over a bad choice or even a series of bad choices. Last time I read the Easter story, I’m pretty sure Peter denied Christ…not once, not twice, but three times.
Jesus rode a donkey. Not a Porsche. He wore a robe and sandals. Not Chanel and Jimmy Choo’s. He carried with Him the presence of the Almighty. Not a Michael Kors bag.
Jesus associated with the least of these so that we could have the greatest of his grace.
In fact Jesus was the least of these. Dig your Bible out and read-really read– about who Jesus was. Because he wasn’t who the churches seem be depicting him to be these days.
A church is fine. Going to church is fantastic. My family and I go every week.
But, who do you see in church? Your friends? Family members? People you associate with? Families that are part of the school attached to the church? Upstanding citizens of your city?
Do you see the least of these? Do you see the barstool type people? Do you see the broken, beaten and bruised souls that are all around us? Do you see the Vets holding the signs outside your local fast food place? Do you see the homeless man you always pass by, but manage to “turn the other cheek” to?
We aren’t too good to reach them. We aren’t too good to associate with them.
When did becoming a Christian…becoming a church member…take us from being ONE of the least of these, to thinking we were the BETTER of these?
The Bible tells us in the book of 1 John that all wrongdoing is sin (src).
Not some of it.
Not just a little bit of it.
ALL of it.
There’s no good sin and bad sin.
No right sin or wrong sin.
No little sin or big sin.
It’s ALL sin.
From that little white lie to the adultery. From stealing a pencil from your office (that wasn’t yours!) to murdering half a dozen people.
It all put Christ on the cross.
It all kept Christ on the cross.
And at the end of the day, when I stand before God at those pearly gates, I know that I will answer for the mistakes that I have made (and heaven knows there’s been a lot of them). I know that I will have to give an account of all the wrong doing in my life.
But when all of my transgressions are counted and the great and mighty Lord of Lords gets ready to place his verdict? I want to be sure that I hear him say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”
If I have to be the “too good of these” to engage with the least of these, then how much like Jesus am I really?
Shepherds who shot slingshots.
These don’t sound like the high society type to me.
And if associating with them makes me more like HIM…then that’s right where I want to be.
Because when Christianity becomes about being better than the ones who need to hear the good news of Jesus Christ, then I don’t want to be a Christian anymore.
Have you ever been on the receiving end of a church’s (or Christians) criticism and judgment? How did you feel? Are you under the impression that that’s what Jesus Christ is like? If it is, I’d love talk to you more about who my God is and what he is really like!