Jesus is the greatest example of a God who is "for" people.
There is something terribly wrong when the God of Scripture is the greatest example of a God who is for people and the church that bears His name and self-professed Christ-followers are better known for what we are against – against gays, against sex, against change, against freedom, against abortion than what we are for.
Moral purity, sound theology, Biblical sexuality are all good things. But they are not the goal of being Christ-followers. They are the result of people becoming more like Christ. But when we make the by-product the goal while excluding radical heart and life transformation by Jesus Christ, the very things we stand for become repugnant.
Christ must change how we look at people. People are no longer just poor or rich, educated or uneducated, pretty or ugly, they are no longer just the drunks or addicts, they are no longer just divorcees, people living out of wedlock, the girl who got pregnant in school, white or black.
We can’t help but see people for who they are – children of God who need grace, love and acceptance just like we needed grace so that Christ can transform all of us.
If Jesus were walking the earth in 2011, I am certain that Jesus would see beyond the tattoos, the piercings, the long hair, the clothes, sexual deviancies, the loud music, the colors, and sins of the people to see a child of God who desperately need to find themselves in the grace of God.
And in the presence of Jesus, regardless of who you are, you are welcomed, received, and made to know that you matter to God. So much so that God would send His only begotten Son to die for them so that whoever would believe in such a God would be made a child of God and would never die but have eternal life.
Judgment doesn’t change people. It’s love. It’s grace. It’s wide open acceptance.
Only when people know that God cares, are they ready to hear God’s truths.
Grace comes first.
Acceptance comes first.
And when they are accepted and know that God cares for them, they are ready for God to transform them.
I am convinced that it’s only when the church that bears the name Jesus Christ gets this right that we’re going to make a difference in this community.