I love Jesus. This is something most of you know.
What you’d be shocked to find out is that:
- I cuss a little.
- We vaccinate our kids.
- There’s still processed food in my house.
- We did the cry-it-out method and used to spank.
- I drink in moderation, on occasion.
- I listen to music besides Christian music.
- I lose my temper and yell several times a week.
- I have seven tattoos and rainbow colored hair.
- I watch (some) R-rated movies.
Any other stereotypes I can address?
Yep. That’s right. I’m a person. A flawed human being. With a little of a rebellious, punk-rock streak.
Listen, what’s really shocking… what many people can’t seem to understand… is that God still loves me. Like, loves me enough that he DIED for me. Even though I still do these things.
In fact, despite what you may think of me for these things, I love God with every fiber of my being, would do anything for Him and put Him above all else. These things actually don’t negatively affect how devoted I am to God.
Yet, for many fellow believers, that’s not good enough. Being a work in progress is not acceptable. I’ve been told that supporting vaccinations brings my faith into question.
Honestly, I’m really tired of all the bullying among fellow believers. It’s getting so out of control… when we’ve got believers saying things to each other like “you can’t be a Christian and vaccinate your kids” then we have a HUGE problem.
There is a HUGE misunderstanding of what God’s love means if we can say this to someone without batting an eye.
Whether or not you vaccinate…. God loves you.
Whether or not you circumcise…. God loves you.
Whether or not you listen to rock ‘n’ roll…. God loves you.
Whether or not you co-sleep… God loves you.
Whether or not you cuss a little… God loves you.
Whether or not you drink a little… God loves you.
Whether or not you have tattoos…. God loves you.
Whether or not you eat clean…. God loves you.
Can we talk about the real things here? Can we stop debating how old the earth really is long enough to see that this has no bearing on whether or not we’ll spend eternity in Heaven?
It’s about the heart, people. A fellow believer may choose not to watch R-rated movies because it has an negative effect on their spirit (I can’t watch Supernatural because of this reason, actually), but that person cannot condemn another believer because he does watch R-rated movies. That’s between him and God. All God has asked us to do is love one another. Loving someone means saying “What does God say to you about R-rated movies?” and listening to — truly hearing — their response, followed by “I can’t personally watch them because, they often affect me in a negative way.” And leave the rest up to God, should he see fit to change this choice in the other person.
But this “Why in the world are you watching that stuff? Have you seen this article talking about how Christians should never, under any circumstances, watch R-rated movies? How can you be a Christian and watch that?”
This, this is bullying. This is condemnation. And there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
No one thing, or even a few of these petty grievances against fellow believers, can separate us from the love of God.
So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:
They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.
Romans 8:31-39 (MSG)
In fact, go ahead and take a gander at all of Romans 8 (I love The Message translation — always hits straight to the heart — but I’m not any less a believer in the awesomeness of God’s love because I don’t read the KJV. Just so we’re clear where I stand here.)
Stop berating each other. Stop backing each other into a corner and bombarding fellow believers with your right way. Stop telling other believers where their heart is based upon your assessment of who they are.
Only God knows their heart. And I can promise you, he’s working on them. He’s working on me. But He’s working where He sees fit to do so right now.
Your job is not to determine God’s agenda for someone else’s spiritual growth. Your job is to love each other. God may reveal something through a loving relationship organically, with grace and without judgement. In the meantime, get to know people. Build a relationship. Love.
Because God sure as heck loves me just because I’m Michelle. Not because of my character, how many good things I do, or the choices that aren’t quite right. Plain and simply, because I’m me. That’s enough for him, flaws and all.
And He loves you simply because you’re you. Unconditionally. Regardless. Period.