My heart aches for the lost. This has been my internal mantra for some time now. It haunts me. It wakes me up at night sometimes and rolls around in my mind on a daily basis. I am learning to love people and seeing them without the peace that Christ brings is torture on my soul. Judging the lost for doing what the lost do hurts my heart and yet it is prevalent throughout the world of “Christianity”. What better way to run them off than to yell and scream at them or condemn them at every turn. My faith has been hijacked by hate and centuries of hypocrisy that drives those that I love into oblivion.
Jesus spent his days calling the religious out on their sin. He did not condemn those who did not know him. His greatest acts of mercy as recorded in scripture where to the unbelieving sinners that he encountered and to the sinners yet to be born by his death and resurrection. He made an effort to get into their midst and to love them, to show them something that they had never known. Jesus was love, in its entirety and most true form. Even when he chastised the elite, it was because their actions pushed away those that he loved. His righteous anger flared when he saw the widows and the poor, the aliens and the prostitutes, the unknowing and uncared for, all being pushed away by hypocritical religious police.
We are called to be like Jesus, to strive for his perfection everyday in our lives. We fall short at every turn. Never has someone turned their back on Jesus because he hated them, because he only loves. The ache in my heart is because I have to defend what is called the bride of Christ, or the church, to my unbelieving friends and loved ones. I have to defend Gods instrument of grace and love because it often times hurts more than it helps.
Institutionalization has invaded Gods tools. More important is a system, denomination, or hierarchy than loving the unloved. Protecting those within the church has become more important than reaching those outside its walls. Jesus, Paul, Peter, all of them, call for us to police ourselves, chase our salvation, and learn to love like the Father loves. It is commanded, its not an option!
Friends, family, strangers; I will strive to be an advocate for Jesus. I will strive (and often fail I’m sure) to love you as Christ loves you. In me you have someone who, while a sinner and far from perfect, is also someone who will always try to keep my eyes and arms open. Jesus is the answer, always look to him, and have mercy on those of us that sometimes forget and fall.
Lord Jesus, all glory goes to you always. Convict me and change my heart. Keep in my heart, a longing to share your love. Keep in me, a humility, that speaks to your grace. I beg you, place in me an empathy that cannot be quenched. I thank you for your grace and ask that you would mold me into an instrument that can be used to display it to others.