Tag Archive: judgement


yaholoI met the guy with the interesting name of Yaholo by stumbling upon an article he published on the Red Letter Christians site titled ‘Let’s end our silly battle for Jesus’ personality’ and then his ‘Putting God in a box to keep people out’ sounded a lot like my ‘God is bigger than my box, He’s bigger than my theology, He’s bigger than my understanding, He’s bigger than me’ statement and song that I would often make groups sing before I spoke to them. So i took a chance and contacted Yaholo and asked him if he would consider writing a guest post for my blog… and here it is:

“You’ve made this day a special day by just your being you. There’s no person in the whole world like you. And I like you just the way you are.” – Mr. Rogers

If someone were to ask you what the most controversial or divisive subject among Christians was, you might pull out the usual suspects like abortion, LGBT rights, or long-standing theological debates like water baptism and penal substitution. However, I have found the most controversial expression which riles up the blood is “accepting people just the way they are.” The debate is not just whether or not we should “accept people,” what what “accepting” even means

What Does “Accepting Others Just They Way They Are” Mean?

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. – Matthew 7:1-2

To live “without judgement” means that we do not condemn or condone. We reject the “eyes of man” which looks upon others according to their circumstances, appearance, or behavior. We look at people with the eyes of the Holy Spirit, which sees in everyone as a Child of God. Wherever people are in a moment is irrelevant, each person is valued and loved in the sight of heaven.

To “accept people as they are” is to see through whatever externalities surround them, look right into the soul and say “you are important.” As such, we make no excuse to alienate them, reject them, shame them, or diminish them.  We find every reason to show hospitality, respect, appreciation, and thankfulness of their presence.

Accepting People is NOT “Moral Relativism”

One of the biggest accusations thrown out in the plea for our society to become more accepting of others is that somehow doing so is throwing out our sense of morality or truth. Quite the contrary, accepting people as they are, wherever they are, into our culture, society, and organizations IS a declaration of truth. It is an affirmation of the love of Christ and states that people are more important than ideology. The truth that all people matter and have value is a more important truth than any theological dispute.

True Christian Morality is NOT a List of “Do’s and Don’ts” It IS Loving One Another

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” – John 15:12

Jesus Christ and the Apostles never defined morality as a list of good and bad things to do. Christian morality has always been about how we treat one another. Therefore, to accept others “as they are” is not a belief that morality is ambiguous, but that treating each other with respect, dignity, and appreciation IS morality. We do not examine our own spiritual health by our ability to “avoid temptation” but by our ability to show the love of Christ to others.

“Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin” is Still Hateful

This expression has been used to justify pure hate, judgement, and condemnation under the auspice of personal detachment. In other words, “I am treating you like a dog because of your sin, not you.” The truth is that at any given time we all have plenty of sin, immaturity, and corruption in our own lives. How hypocritical is it then that we make others feel so bad for sins which are simply more apparent or culturally less acceptable than our own?

“Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:4-5

So Do We Just Stop Trying to Change People?

Short answer, yes. No one can change people accept the Holy Spirit working in their lives. Long answer, we have a lot we can do to improve a person’s life and show them the love of Christ. The key difference is that only a judge tries to change a person’s life, our calling is to participate in the lives of others. We never rescue or “save” another person, we connect with our neighbors and those around that we all may continue to become whole (holy) together. It is our privilege and honor to affect good in the life of another.

So What’s the Point of Preaching the Gospel?

If you are asking about the “Good News” then there is a great purpose for it. If you are talking about “Sinner in the Hand of an Angry God” then no, not so much. Most (if not all) of the sin in this world is a void of love. People lost in self-destructive habits, despair, depression, or unstable relationships are not needing reminded of how “bad” they are. Most of people already believe they are useless, worthless, and unloved. Our job is to fight this darkness with the message of God’s love, Christ’s sacrifice for us, and then take VERY seriously our call to demonstrate it.

Understandings of Acceptance

  • Our job is not “fix” or “change” people, but to always, intentionally, and consistently participate in the lives of others. Most well meaning Christians experience “good samaritan” burnout. They interfere in another “lost person’s” life in hopes of changing it, and then get disillusioned and cynical when they don’t “succeed.” This was never our calling. We do not have the capacity to know what a “fixed life” looks like, we do not know how an individual needs to grow, such things are God’s alone. We must only take responsibility for our own selves, and constantly bring the love of Christ into the world.

  • Individuals must figure life out for themselves and be graciously allowed to do so. Persuading someone of one thing or another, means they will eventually leave it. If someone does arrive to an understanding on their own time, in their own way, then there is NO understanding. The evidence of truth is example, we show Christ to others and give light to follow, we must not persuade, proselytize, or persecute.

  • Those living in what we call “sinful habits” are usually people just trying to survive. They are surviving emotionally, financially, and socially. Our job is not to judge or condemn such behavior but to see it as a sign that our help and participate is required. We seek to relieve the burdens of the lost, sick, and drowning that they might be able to grow of their own effort.

  • Few of us ever really discover our gifts, talents, and purpose. If there is any obvious ministry of the Church community, helping people discover their own value is sacrosanct. We cannot rest in our society or communities until we learn to help everyone discover their value and find an exalted place among us. Such things are not meant for a few, but for everyone. Those of us who become “realized” as individuals must labor to help others do the same.

  • People cannot believe in a loving God without believing in love. If they have never been shown love, how can we ask them to believe in our Gospel? Love is the evidence of Christ in our world, without an abundance of love, hospitality, and acceptance how can we proclaim anything else?

[To read more from today’s guest, Yaholo, check out his blog over here]

as i stand so close to the flames

that the tiny hairs on my arms start to catch alight

filling my nostrils with that pungent, burning hair smell

i catch the silhouette of my reflected outline

quietly nodding my silent assent

to those who by their righteous actions tonight

have ensured that this clinic’s business

for the immediate future at least

has been violently aborted

 

as i stand to the far edge of the back of this lively and passionate crowd

i am caught up by the exuberance with which our leaders

are delivering today’s heartfelt message of righteous anger and God’s judgment

on those who would exchange normal relations

for these abominations

not quite confident that God does indeed hate fags as has been so eloquently declared

through the intimacy of a well-intended loud speaker

or the letters lovingly painted onto an otherwise pure white poster

i at least choose to hold my focus

on all those who will be set free

as a result of us gaily presenting our well-crafted sermon

as we came out here today

Lovingly Gesturing Biblical Truths

 

back at home i spend some time online

catching up on the news

all the time dodging the vitriolic and caustic comments

of fellow christian brothers and sisters

resolutely aligning themselves with either camp

and how could you possibly hold THAT opinion

if you have given any attention at all to THIS specific verse?

(“You fool!”… understood.)

 

another moment, yet another person caught in a crime

this time i bend down to pick up my stone

but am stopped in my tracks

by the sound of his voice

speaking these words

so lovingly

‘let the person who is without sin throw the first stone.’

 

and i pause for just a minute

 

as i think it over to myself…

a ticking watch nervously counts down this moment of interruption

my heavy breathing bears testimony to the wrestling that’s going on within my head

as i roll his words around in my mind, this way and that way, looking for the answer

but then suddenly it comes to me in a flash

as i remember that he has already paid for my sin

when he died on the cross

he took all my guilt and shame

and the sin penalty that should have been mine to pay

and he paid for it in my place

and so that makes me sin-free, right?

 

that makes me the one able to throw the first stone…

just like he said.

 

my hand finds a suitably jagged edged piece of stone

closes tightly around it

i can feel its rough edges digging into my skin

i stand to my feet in a single motion

powered up by all the holy righteous anger i can muster

and with every muscle in my body giving assent to my actions

i hurl that stone with all my might and watch as it hits its target

watch as you slump quickly to the ground

 

and, as if the dam wall has been burst

i watch as my just action unleashes the rest of the frenzied crowd

some who had already started to let their personalised rocks fall to the ground

 

again and again the rocks smash against their intended victim

your cries have long since passed

blood and bits of skin and bone fly hideously around

and within moments you are no longer a person

but a grotesque mass of broken body and blood

 

broken body

and blood?

 

as if in a pitch black tunnel just noticing a faint hint of a light up ahead

something starts to swirl within my mind

a recollection, a mass of thoughts, something is trying to be heard

and i try to focus in on what is being said, as my stomach fights against gagging from the smell that is rising up from your body

your dead body

broken by me… broken for me?

no, broken by me.

 

i glance up.

struggling to see clearly with these beams of wood protruding from each one of my eyes

i manage to finally catch a glimpse of him

his face displaying so obviously that this is not the way he was hoping it would end

as if something has gone wrong

gone horribly wrong

but what is it? i did what you said. i did what you have to have wanted. right?

 

and there it is

off to the side, faint and very much in the distance

but there is no mistaking the call of the farm bird sounding the beginning of a new day

or is it the end of one?

nope, there it is again.

and one more time.

 

i realise that the first crow has labelled me a resounding gong, a clanging cymbal

the second told me i am nothing

the third plays out that i have gained nothing

all three signifying that i have failed in this,

in this, my virtuous enacting of your justice

and if that is true, if i have failed in this

that surely means that no part of this was truly Love

 

what is the first commandment? obey the rules

what is the most important? don’t step outside of the lines

what is the gospel? don’t do this long and complicated list of things

GODHATESFAGSGODHATESPEOPLEWHOHAVEABORTIONSGODHATESTERRORISTSGODHATES

wait, what?

 

 

 

 

i stand close to the flames

trying to massage some warmth back into my hands

no-one needs to come up to me and ask if i know Him?

i know my actions have already answered that one

and as i catch my reflection in a nearby piece of glass

i notice the flames, licking at my feet.

 

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