I’d love to make this a series, but sometimes I struggle with follow-through on the blog. However, I’ve got more than one thing that Christianity is not (and more than one thing that Christianity is), so perhaps I’ll get lucky. Today, though, we’re starting with the thing I find to be the most important.
Christianity is not a license to mistreat other sinners. It is necessary to realize that we have been saved, and that we have been made different. That we are not what we once were. It is not a license to publicly mock those who do things that we do not agree with morally and spiritually. It is not carte blanche to take the beautiful love of God and use it against people. It is not acceptable to say that because someone behaves a certain way, God does not love him or her. It is not acceptable and it is not true. In fact, in scripture we have the words “While we were still sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) We have no evidence in Scripture that failure to perform equals to failure to be loved. We also have ample evidence that God loves those whom he disciplines. (Hebrews 12:4-13) We’ve even got practical evidence of that. Parents who love their kids set boundaries and practice discipline. (Proverbs 29:17)
Christianity is not a license to mistreat sinners. And while I know how important it is to start seeing yourself as a child of the King and not as a miserable, wretched sinner, I equally know that God saves sinners. He loves sinners. He came and died for sinners. He is redeeming my life because I am a sinner and it needs redemption.
This realization was of epic proportions for me. Once I realized that God loved everyone, I realized that in order to be like God and to glorify him, I had to love everyone. In case you’re curious, I haven’t arrived to that point yet. I’m woefully hard on people. I’m hard on myself, too. But if I follow Christ and if I long to glorify God, then I have to learn to love everyone. All the time. I don’t have to love their actions. I don’t have to condone what they do, but I have to love them. We all, who claim Christ, have to love everyone.