Not Christian leaders we disagree with. Not people we don’t like.Not because of politics. Not because of doctrinal issues. Not because of skin color. Not because of country or family of origin. Not because of a sin issue. (We’d all be voted off.) Not because you drink wine or have grape juice for communion. Not for anything. Jesus is the common denominator, not the great divisor. (Score for almost a math reference!)
The thing is: Christianity is not a democracy. We don’t choose who Christ calls or accepts. We have no pre approval rights for his guest list for the banquet of heaven. We’re not the wedding planner. Christ alone holds that right. He died for it. His invitation is simple: come. Those who are weary, burdened. Those who are exhausted. Hurting. Lonely. Rejected. Come.
Come. Yes. Even to the thief on the cross. Even there, as he was dying, Christ was still inviting. Even one could do nothing to rectify his wrongs. He still invites: Come. Today.
I’m sad to see the invitation being held hostage. By divisions. By disagreements. By us.
I’m sad to see believers of Christ making Attacks. Shunning. Judging. Slandering.
We , who should be known be known for great love; for Christ, for each other and for all. Instead are known for arguing over who sits closest to Jesus. (Not a new argument, look it up) Worse yet- we verbally yank the chairs out from under others. We Lori fly or silently cry out: “You can’t sit with us. You’re wrong! You’ll taint us! You’re not worthy!” As we yank chairs- They fall, hurt, on the floor. Still at the table. But broken. Because it’s not our party.
The good news is: Our words cause hurt but they do not condemn people. Only god can condemn. And, I’m pretty sure that’s something he’s gone to great extent to avoid. So our declarations may hurt, but they have limits. The party is HIS. As we pull chairs- he mends the tears.
It’s time to stop. We have to stop trying to dictate who’s jesusy enough for the Jesus club. It’s not a clubhouse in the back yard. We don’t vote people in or out. It’s a kingdom being built by it’s king. Hint: that’s neither of us.
I’llbe honest. I try hard to let Jesus be judge. And I fail, daily. I can’t tolerate someone’s teaching. I detest someone’s actions or more often their words. And in my heart/mind I decide they aren’t “part.” There’s no seat for you here.
What I fear is- in doing so, I and so many like me, are cutting off parts of our own body. (Never good. Lose a body part and you’ll quickly understand. Even injuring the smallest part causes great pain. Don’t believe me? Kick the corner of a cabinet with your shoes off. Stubbing your baby toe is excruciating.) cutting g off parts- literal or figurative, hurts us. And I have to believe it hurts the one who prayed that we’d be one. The one that admonished and exhorted us to love one another. The one who inspired the reminder to speak the truth- in love. Always.
Today my friends, I encourage us all to look inside. Ask ourselves a few questions: “who does Christ invite?” “Who have I decided isn’t worthy?” “Can I honestly say that my words have been spoken in and with love?” “Who have I voted off the island?” “Is it even mine to vote on?” I have a feeling- not.
Lord Jesus, I seek your face. I seek your presence. I pray for your body of believers to overcome disagreements with love. We need not agree, but we are called to love. I pray that you’d help us to figure out how to do that. It’s not easy. I pray you’d help me with my anger and my judgements against others. Help me to remember who’s party this is. In Jesus name, amen
I’m spending some time re reading the sermon on the mount, and all the gospel accounts of Jesus. He hung out with and loved so many people that had been voted off… condemned. Judged. By people. It seems to be a favorite thing of His.