Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we don’t give up. So then, let’s work for the good of all whenever we have an opportunity, and especially for those in the household of faith. Galatians 6:9-10 (CEB)
I believe in transparency. I think it’s a good thing when people know who you are and where you’re coming from. I also believe in doing no harm. Words penned hastily and without thought can do much harm. Sometimes, living within the margins of these two beliefs can
get a little sticky. I have many opinions about many different topics, but publicly airing those opinions is not always beneficial to someone else’s walk with Christ. To speak or not to speak–that can be a confounding question.
Today, I choose to speak. I choose to speak because it’s a conversation God and I have been having for quite awhile. I choose to speak because I feel that to remain silent would do more harm than speaking. I choose to speak because I love God, and sometimes loving God means that you have to stand at the precipice of a cliff and jump.
So, what am I jumping into?
My friends, my soul is weary of the narrative of hate that is being perpetuated in the name of Christ.
A few days ago, my husband showed me an image floating around Facebook. It was an image of a man wearing a turban. Underneath this image was a caption that described this man as a devout Muslim who had murdered his wife (or something extreme) for not obeying Islamic law. The great irony (or horror) of this image was that it was a still image of Professor Quirrell from the movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
“This is someone trying to be funny, right?” I asked my husband. He tracked down the origin of the image, and it wasn’t funny. It was a continuation of the anti-Muslim rhetoric that has become all too familiar in our society. Professor Quirrell’s image fit the narrative of bigotry that many white Christian Americans have adopted.
Not long after, I heard a news report about the state of North Carolina’s new law requiring all citizens to use the public restroom that corresponds with the gender on their birth certificate. Many other states are contemplating similar laws. This law is a direct indictment against transgender Americans. It is an attempt to legislate predominately Christian prejudice and further extends the narrative of bigotry in the name of Christ.
I’m not taking a stance on transgnder and homosexuality. I am, however, taking a stance on bigotry and prejudice done in the name of Christ.
If you read the Gospels, Jesus’ message wasn’t one of exclusion. In fact, the people who were
excluded from Jesus’ love were the religious leaders. Jesus spoke out numerous times against these leaders because they had allowed their legalistic interpretation of Scripture and church tradition to blind them to the message of salvation. Their rules and regulations–their desire to be the elite and powerful–were preventing people from having a relationship with God.
So Jesus went out from the temples and synagogues. He spoke in boats, on mountaintops and in the homes of those who welcomed him. He reached out to those who were unclean, immoral and unwelcome in church. He offered them love. He offered them compassion. He offered them his life.
Jesus didn’t ask for a birth certificate before he healed. He didn’t check the country of origin before dining at someone’s house. He wasn’t afraid to cross the border into Samaria and to interact with people who looked different or practiced a different faith.
You see, the narrative of Jesus is a narrative of love. Jesus suffered, was tortured and was brutally executed for the salvation of all. So why then do we, as Christians, try to put boxes around that love? Why do we so often refuse to offer the love of Christ to those who most need it? What are we afraid of? Do we think there will be less love for us?
The Creator and Redeemer of humankind has a love that is infinite and boundless. That, my friends, is what the narrative of Christians should be.
Paul advises the Galatians not to tire from doing good. He tells them that they will have a fruitful harvest if they don’t give up. Love works. Jesus showed us that. So, as Christians, if we want to leave a legacy of Christ to future generations, we need to share a narrative of love today.
Blessings and Peace,