Controversy? How Would Jesus Want Us to Act/ReAct

I’d like to share a guest post here today by Kelly Alley. I am honored to know this lady. She loves God and loves others. She is LIVING IT OUT! She does not write for a career nor does she have a blog, but I know her heart is to show Christ to the world. She did not hesitate to accommodate my request when I encouraged her to write about this particular topic. If you’ve read my Open Letter to Christians, you’ll see why I requested that Kelly articulate this. If you haven’t read it yet, then you’ll want to read it after reading this, and join our movement for Christ’s heart of love to penetrate us so that heart and mouth check out to His will.

She has a great deal to say on Christians dealing with controversial topics. I particularly like this statement she makes: “When we squeeze God, and what He thinks, into what we feel is comfortable and won’t offend anyone, we are failing Him and fooling ourselves.”

We must remember: Jesus was controversial in His time on earth. So controversy may follow us as we speak Truth. It is HOW we speak it that wins the battles.

Welcome, Kelly.

****

Today I read a post by a friend, which was a link to a letter in Esquire magazine from November 18, 2009, titled, “What If Jesus Meant All That Stuff” By Shane Claiborne. What bears noting is that this comes on a day that the U.S. Supreme Court is beginning their hearings on gay marriage in Washington, D.C. People have been posting the newest equality symbol, a red background with a pink equal sign, all over Facebook today, and many blog threads and post threads have dealt with this very controversial subject. The discussions have become quite heated in some cases. This provides a very good example of something several friends of mine and I have spoken about recently, which is how Christians respond to non-believers in discussions and debates over current issues that we face.

Several of these issues are at the forefront right now: politics, other beliefs and religions, abortion, and homosexuality. I’ve long said that in situations where we are discussing things with people who may not agree with our views, it is imperative that Christians react and respond in a way that models what Christ would have us portray. Many times people who call themselves Christians do not exemplify how many of the rest of us would want to be represented.

Here’s an extreme example. Take Fred Phelps and his congregation at Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, KS. Extreme, yes, but that’s a perfect example of someone touting Christianity that has not one clue of what Jesus stood for and came to do here on earth.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17

Please do not get me wrong. I do NOT think we should compromise that which Scripture clearly states is not of God, but I’ve been reminded SO MUCH lately of the words of the Casting Crowns song “Jesus, Friend of Sinners”:

“…the world on their way to you but they’re tripping over me … plank-eyed saint with dirty hands and heart divided …”

That is the exact OPPOSITE of what we are called to be. When Jesus came and spoke among the people in the towns where He was teaching, who did He come to? He did not come to the wealthy kings and religious leaders of that time. He went to the poor, the afflicted, the diseased, and (gasp) even prostitutes and criminals.

So what does this mean for Christians, and how are we to respond? Does it mean we accept sinful THINGS that people are doing as okay? Conform to the culture around us and its world views so as not to offend anyone or step on the toes of other religions or even other denominations of the Christian faith?

No! But we accept THEM, and realize that we are sinners, too! And that they are also made by God in His image and He loves them and desires for them just as much as He does for us. They have the same chance as we have to accept the sacrifice Jesus made as payment for us. Notice the emphasis on ourselves in the same song:

*I* was that lost cause. *I* was the outcast…You died for sinners JUST LIKE *ME*, a grateful leper at Your feet.”

Sometimes we forget that there are no sins greater or worse in His eyes when it comes to sin that keeps us from His presence.

40YearWanderer_Heather_Mertens3

When we try to fit our knowledge of God and the model that Jesus gave us into some mold that the world has forced upon us, we not only disappoint Him but we also do a great disservice to ourselves and our fellow man. I hear of people saying that the Bible may say one thing, but they just don’t think that sounds right. They tend to want to believe something less intense and more comfortable in today’s society. That, or they just flat out don’t believe what is written. It doesn’t matter what you feel is more comfortable for you and easier to believe. What matters is that God’s word is infallible, and what He determines as right and wrong stands as such.

However, we can love others and speak truth without judgement (for that is not our place) while still conveying the message of what we know to be acceptable according to Scripture. Otherwise, we are in danger of going against Romans 12:2:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

I read this, in an article on this very topic, in The Christian Post:

“When a society orients itself to disorientation, when they call evil “good” and good, “evil,” when common sense is no longer common, and when natural law is replaced with unnatural lawlessness, we suggest that God’s judgment is probably around the corner. Just think, Sodom thumbed their nose at God just like America has, and the last time we checked…things didn’t turn out too well for them.” -By Ken Hutcherson and James Hansen, Christian Post Guest Contributors.

When we squeeze God, and what He thinks, into what we feel is comfortable and won’t offend anyone, we are failing Him and fooling ourselves. The results are disastrous.

Many people seem to forget one very important fact. We were “created in His image” which means: we were not created with sin, for sin, or in sin. We were created to be without it. Sin entered in when mankind (Adam & Eve) made the very poor decision to disobey what God had said. He gave them the boundaries and warned them not to cross it. He also, however, created them with a mind to make choices. We have free will to choose….right vs. wrong, good vs. evil, and Jesus vs. eternal separation from God. This is what many people today refuse to acknowledge.

So, yes, we can love people and we can show them the love of Jesus, and in that love point them to the choices that bring them closer to Him rather than drive them further apart.

Author: Kelly Alley

©2013 Kelly Alley

This post originally appeared at 40YearWanderer.com. It can be reblogged with all links and exact wording intact, but can not be copied without permission.

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8 thoughts on “Controversy? How Would Jesus Want Us to Act/ReAct

  1. lenwilliamscarver says:

    Just a quick note Heather to let you know how God has blessed me the last couple of days. He has lightened my heart and my spirit, gave me a softer tongue and helped me to minister to someone who said she was afraid to go to church because God scared her. By the time we finished talking she agreed to visit our Sunday morning service. PTL! I know that this would not have been had it not been for your intecessory prayers so a great big THANK YOU AND GLORY TO OUR GOD!!!~~Len

    *MY GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD!*

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    • Heather Mertens - 40YearWanderer says:

      Len I sent you a private message in reply. But I must say that reading this elated my soul. I give the glory to my precious precious Jesus. God of all now and forever – He has heard my prayers of long to love others through Him. He has answered my prayers and I see that happening. I love you dear Sister in Christ. Glory to God and only God. Please send my love to this sweet soul who has decided to trust God through your encouragement and love. Let’s keep passing it forward!

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    • Heather Mertens - 40YearWanderer says:

      Thanks for the affirmation, Walter. I will pass it along to the author.

      Yes conviction and correction. The church needs that after the poor job it has done of loving people. I see all the horrific sins and sinful lifestyles perpetrated by many in the Biblical accounts during Jesus’ time on earth. He convicted and corrected but through love. Pure love is what won them to Him.

      Love and compassion are ours to distribute.

      Thanks so so much for the comment!
      Blessings,
      Heather

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  2. Kelly says:

    Thank you for all the encouragement! It’s not me, it’s all God, but I’m so pleased to see that the things He has put on our hearts is reaching others. If we stand in agreement, and pass it along, we reach more hearts and minds with love than judgement. :) It’s all for His glory! Blessings to all of you!

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