“Can I pinch her back?!”
My daughter implored this question to my husband and me after her younger sister had pinched her first. She knew the answer, but I suppose was hoping for something different.
My husband took the lead on this one, replying, “No! Would Jesus pinch her back?!”
“No,” my daughter muttered, whispering much softer, “but I’m not Jesus.”
At the time I inwardly laughed a little. I mean, I totally get it. I’m not Jesus either. The thing is, though, I should really try to emulate Him as much as possible, no matter the difficulty. Shouldn’t we all?
I’ve seen a lot of hate spewed on social media the past year. It has diminished some lately as the stress of a pandemic lightens, but it’s still present. Just recently I’ve seen things that continue to make me wince. My reaction is mostly based on the fact that people say the most awful things in the name of Christ. Christian friends and acquaintances will speak vile, hate-filled words, and it breaks my heart every time. When you speak anything as a follower of Christ, you are speaking in His name. We are His voice here on earth, most of the time. I don’t expect Christians to be perfect, no more than my husband expected our ten year old to be, but we do strive to show all our children that as followers of Christ, our goal is to be like Him. As much as is humanly possible.
It seems some folks’ parents didn’t teach them that part. I’ll throw you some examples.
A transgender person is given a government position of authority under a new presidency. Then come posts from Conservative, Republican Christians speaking out in anger. Listen, I totally get righteous indignation, but we still must walk in the love of Christ. It’s possible to stand for truth, while simultaneously standing in love. If I see words from Christian people saying this transgender, child of God is “disgusting” with emojis of puking, it makes me wonder. Every person you meet, no matter their decisions, choices, or sins, are a child of God. We somehow forget this fact. We forget that they were created by God, that they are loved by God, and that they are beautiful and precious in His sight. Not disgusting, not sickening, not worthy of our high and mighty disdain.
Here’s another example. The hot topic of immigration. A lot of the angry words I see about immigrants at the border are filled with judgment, contempt, scorn, and the exact opposite of love. They are selfish words. “This is my country! This is America! Go home! Get a job!”
I recall the words of Jesus instructing his followers to give their coat when someone asks for their shirt. To give to the poor, the hurting. I can’t for the life of me find the part where He says ‘hold onto yours, put a big fence around it to keep anyone else from wanting to share the blessings I’ve given you. Treat others like you’re better, more educated, and more worthy of God-given resources than they are.’ And He certainly didn’t instruct us to speak of other humans like they are less human.
Sometimes we are harder on my ten year old than we are our five year old. Why? Because she’s older. We expect more out of her. Likewise, as a Christian, I expect more out of my fellow Christians. I’m not saying it’s right when anyone says hateful, demeaning comments, but it’s somehow worse when it comes out of the mouth of a Christian. My ten year old knows better on many things because we’ve instructed her on what is right. Similarly, as a Christian, you have been instructed by God on how to react when situations are unfair or when someone mistreats you. He has told us the biggest commandment is to love others as ourselves. He has instructed us not to throw stones or mention the splinter in someone’s eye before removing the plank from our own. He’s told us to love our enemies. I’m all for justice, speaking truth, and standing up for what is right, but if we’re doing these things not in love, we’re just a clanging cymbal. A bunch of noise.
Look at it this way. A goal of Christianity is to help other people discover Salvation through Jesus. It’s not to keep tight border control of our country or to turn gay people straight! Our goal is to show the light and love of Christ, so others will see what we have, and they’ll want it too. We are really, really messing this up, guys! No, I don’t expect anyone to be Jesus, but I do implore us all to try and behave like Him. To love like Him.
Here’s an exercise for you. Take a look at your political posts on social media. Imagine someone who is lost, who desires love and acceptance. They don’t know it is Jesus their heart needs. They just know they need something. Maybe they’ve been looking in all the wrong places. The question is, when they see you, will they find what they’re looking for? I don’t think they will see unconditional love in your comment on a friend’s post where you use words like “disgusting” and phrases like “makes me sick” or “I hope they know hell’s hot.”
You know, it wasn’t right of my five year old to pinch her big sister, but I (as the parent) took care of it. My ten year old didn’t need to pinch her back. She needed to show her younger sister an example of how to behave even when you’re angry. To show her that even if it seems justified to hit back, you can turn the other cheek and let Dad handle it. I think we as a church have forgotten that Dad can handle it.
So, no, you’re not Jesus. I’m not Jesus either. But shouldn’t we try to allow others to see Him through us? Right now, I don’t think they can for all the hate in the way.
Thank you for so eloquently writing the frustration I feel when I come across posts full of hateful comments. I appreciate you sharing Jesus love!
Thirza Peevey says
What part does Christ have with the devil? Where does he show us joining hands with evil? When did he ever not tell someone to go and sin no more? Did he ever tell someone to do whatever they wanted, it was fine with him? Yes, he loved and saved sinners who turned to him, but I never saw anywhere that he joined with people who hated him, hated the father, loved their sin and fully intended to continue in it.
I didn’t see that either. I don’t think asking someone to inspect their words and actions, and to see if they are delivered in love, has anything to do with “joining hands with evil.”
I think my concern is the idea that we are expected not just to love all people but to completely affirm their choices which I think most evangelical Christians are tired of walking on eggshells over. Also, the Bible does NOT say we are all children of God. It says quite the opposite. It says we are created in His image.
Some choose a different father: “But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.”
1 John 3:8-10
Love other BELIEVERS. there’s the rub…
Thirza Peevey says
Never try to be a PR person for Jesus. He doesn’t need it. Never try to win someone to yourself, hoping they will see Jesus in you. They won’t. Preach the honest Gospel that all are broken sinners in need of redemption, like the Wesley Brothers, Count Zinzendorf, George Whitefield and Charles Spurgeon, and you’ll have to preach in a field because the church can’t hold the congregation.
I’m saddened to read these judgmental reply comments. These are the very folks you speak of, and perhaps your message hits too close to home for their self-righteous comfort. For every one of them, there are many, many more out there who read your words and know your heart and also know the love of God in their own hearts. God welcomes us all DESPITE our humanity. Who are we to think it’s okay to offer any less for others in this life? Gender, skin color and birth place are circumstances, not human failings in need of redemption. Judgment, on the other hand…
Alison Bisset says
Once again Brie, you have hit the nail on the head. If we have Jesus in us, which the Bible tells us we do when we give our lives to Him, then of course we are to try to emulate Him by loving others – He, Himself, said – “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” That old song ‘and they’ll know we are Christians by our love’ says it all.
linda McCormack says
Your thoughts about posting political posts made me think. The lady who hosted Musical Memories is an example. It is a great programme and she comes across as an amazing lady and I am sure she is but when I take a look at the things she posts on her Facebook page I would never know that she is a Christian..she appears to me to worship at the alter of Trump. Just reading the posts and then finding out she is Christian nearly put me off Christianity for life and indeed has made me question a lot of things about my faith and leads me away from evangelical Christianity. I make a point of never making political comments. Sorry for the ramble. Carry on writing these great articles. Love to you and your family. xxx
Thank you 😘
Brie, I like your overall meaning of your post. Christians are to love others no matter what choices they make in life. The verse that I go to when I feel like I’m starting to fall short of this (which happens almost daily) is 1 Corinthians 13: 4-6. These verses remind me of what Christ like love truly should be. However, I do believe this was a political post. If it wasn’t a political post Linda would not have mentioned Trump. For every argument that was made that we are not showing the love of Christ through recent events, I can counter that argument that people are demonstrating the love of Christ. For example, the crisis we are experiencing at the border currently has caused a high increase in sexual assaults, murders, theft, drug and sex trafficking, increase in transmittable diseases, etc. The vast majority of people who are against allowing illegals to cross the border are not against showing compassion, but against the hurt and hate that is caused through trying to enter the US this way. We have a legal process in place and I welcome anybody to this country that does it the legal way. I’m not sure what is meant by “worshiping at the altar of Trump”, but if Linda is defining it as a president who protected religious liberties (which were under unprecedented attack during Obama/Biden Administration, i.e., Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor), is a robust pro-life president, confirmed constitutionalist to the supreme court and the federal appeals courts, created the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, etc. I guess you can put me in that category also. I am not upholding Trump as a moral exemplar for our kids to immulate, but I would say he is the most pro-religion president we have seen in our lifetime. So, if christians are to demonstrate godly love for the Biden Administration policies and decisions that same love should have been shown during the Trump Administration.
Nancy A Obrigewitsch says
I agree with what you said in your post Brie. Love is unconditional. It doesn’t see race or gender. Nor does it see a person’s ability to talk, walk, speak. That’s God’s view I believe. For he created all of us knowing what each us would be just as he knows all the hairs on our head. So why do we think we need to be the judge on this earth? We really don’t. If you want to be a Christian then please consider that a Christian would realize that only God is the one who can judge us. We humans are ALL sinners every one of us who hopefully have asked God for forgiveness!
“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”
II Corinthians 4:3-4 NKJV
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,”
I Corinthians 6:9 NKJV
It’s written in His word!! Yes we are to love one another but not turn a blind eye to sin. How can a follower of Christ justify telling the gospel but not telling someone of their sin??
I think it’s important to build relationship. Take a look at Jesus and the adulterous woman. She was in sin. The crowd that came to Jesus with her were calling out her sin. We always remember the part where Jesus told her to “sin no more,” but we neglect to notice His actions prior. He didn’t join in with calling out her sin. Rather He saw her as an individual. At the cost of Himself and His reputation among the religious, He stood up for her. He built a relationship with her at that moment, by seeing her, showing compassion for her, and offering the path to forgiveness. If He was just to focus on sin He would have stoned her. Instead He focused on her. I think we can follow that example. Build relationships and see people. No stones. Once they see Jesus, then let’s start the conversation about sinning no more.