It’s gotten to the point where I hate to see a post (Facebook, blog, news story, or something else) that begins “What should a Christian response to (insert your own favorite topic here) be?”
Because 99.9% of the time, what follows is definitely not my idea of what a Christian response should be.
Oh yes, it may be surrounded by words of love and, to give those who share it the benefit of the doubt, I do believe that they are sharing it out of concern. But when I read it, far too often what I read are words of harsh judgment and condemnation…
I shudder when I think of people reading those words when they are looking for words of hope…for an acknowledgement that they are persons of worth…that someone loves them as they are and is willing to walk on their journey with them. For vulnerable people–young or old–who need to know that despite what they may have done in the past…despite whatever issues they are struggling with…the words they too often hear are that they are abominations…that they must change who they are in order to be accepted…that no one can love them.
I wonder if Jesus weeps when he sees those responses. Based on what I read in the Bible about how he treated people, I think he must.
He spent a lot of time with people who were on the outside…who were marginalized…who were not accepted. But he didn’t tell them they were worthless…or that they were abominations. He didn’t require them to change who they were before he would accept them.
He loved them.
That’s it. He loved them.
He called a tax collector–a traitor–to follow him as one of his inner circle. He gave the woman caught in adultery a second chance. He allowed a sinful woman to wash his feet with her tears…and challenged the righteous man who told him that was an inappropriate response. He talked theology with a woman who was not only not of his religion, but who also had been married multiple times. He spent much of his time with people who were unacceptable for one reason or another.
And because he loved them…because he saw them as people of worth…many of them became who they had the potential of becoming.
So what should be a Christian response to ______? For me, the answer is found in the Gospel of Matthew:
…one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”