Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Outing Myself

I have the privilege (and I do believe it's a privilege, in the sense that it's where I can do the most good) of spending more time around non-Christians than most practicing, devout Christians. Some of those non-Christians are amongst the finest people I've ever met. I almost feel as if I'm outing myself: I love liberal, non-Christian Americans. I feel a passion for them that simply must be of God's leading. When my Christian friends do things that hurt them, I hurt, both for my non-Christian friends and then for the fact that too many of my Christian brothers and sisters use their words and actions (all in the name of my Savior) to wound. I hear a lot of "hate the sin, love the sinner", but nearly every time that phrase is trotted out, the emphasis is on hating the sin and almost never on showing Christ's love to the sinner (as if they are perhaps not worthy of receiving Christ's love, through us, until they are no longer sinners - oh what folly that way of thinking is!). Amongst non-Christians, there is often a false bravado. It's like the child who's bullied at school and decides to adopt a "devil may care" attitude to mask the pain. But deep down, almost to a person, a non-Christian can tell you ways in which Christians used their words and our Jesus to wound them deeply. Would that that was never me! - I pray frequently and fervently. It is absolutely true that Christians are supposed to be set apart. Indeed, I delight in being set apart. What glorious wonder it is to be a daughter of God! But I see too many Christians who want the Christian community to have a country-club mindset - one of exclusivity and superiority. God loves those non-Christians as hard as he loves us. And not just the ones who live in exotic foreign countries who have never heard the story of our Lord. But the ones here who grew up steeped in a culture in which some type of cultural Christianity is the norm, and are, often rightly so, jaded and dismissive of His followers because of that very experience. Jesus is the Shepherd. He will leave the flock and go in search of that one lost sheep. Because that one lost sheep means as much to him as me. What right have I, or any Christian, to hurriedly try and shut the gate in the Lord's absence? As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13 "But the greatest of these is love." Love should be the first step in our witness to the non-Christian and, per God's own word, it's the most powerful tool we wield. Love is what turns people to God, and, until they are in God's flock themselves, WE are the keepers and, more importantly, reflectors of that love. What an awesome responsiblity!

I love this song so much.  I hear it a LOT (I have the CD and they play it on the radio frequently) and it never fails to bring tears to my eyes.  This is just what I was trying to explain (only by someone who is way less verbiose yet increcibly more eloquent than myself).     


Anonymous said...

My dear daughter, you brought me to tears! I am soo proud of you. I know Mom is also. I pray for you and the family every night. You are a blessing to me and I thank God for you. I love all of you Dad

Serena said...

Beautifully written, Melissa! This really makes me want to get to know you better. I am afraid that along with our decision to homeschool the girls came the unfortunate loss of many opportunities to love those who are outside of our Christian bubble. I regret that! Having grown up in an "exotic foreign land" myself, I am now learning what it means to share the GOOD NEWS with people who are, as you say, jaded and dismissive of Christians because of our country club church culture and our pathetic testimony. I am praying with you that God will help me to seize opportunities to love His lost children.

Have you seen/read anything called "The Life Saving Station"? I posted a little video clip on my blog in March 2011 because I was so convicted by it when Pastor Dave shared it in youth group one night. I'm sure that you can find it on YouTube. You would probably enjoy it...