Earlier this week I saw an instagram photo of well-known gospel artist Kirk Franklin together with Kanye West. I’m sure the thought occurred in everyone’s head that saw it: What could they possibly have in common for them to be friends? What is someone with a high reputation in the christian community doing with someone with an extremely high reputation of secular music? If you asked along the lines of those questions, I think we’re already missing the point of what’s being said here.
As christians, how many times did we look at someone and already make up our minds about them and saying we are too good to get to know them. How many times have we let our pride ruin potential relationships and bridges? How many times have we crucified our own brothers and sisters for associating with someone we decided did not fit our convenience? Oh, how we all need repentance of this.
If you want convenience and comfort, stay in your bubble of the small community you created for yourself and be exclusive.
The gospel is not convenient.
The gospel is not comfortable.
The gospel is not exclusive for certain ears to hear.
The gospel gives hope to the hopeless, welcomes any race/class/gender/educated/non-educated to the a part of the body of Christ. It is the message that no one wants to hear, but it’s what everyone is looking for. We like to paint this picture of christianity as a bed of roses in a tidy garden. It is already imbedded in our minds in what a christian looks like, who they should and shouldn’t associate with, and so forth. It is not fair for us to expect someone who just became a christian to achieve instant holiness. I have been a christian for 5 years and I am no where near holiness. We think we’ve got this whole christianity thing down, so to see another christian think differently, and sin differently can make someone think that they are not yet ready to be christian. To use a broad example, when a celebrity decides they want to follow Jesus, oddly enough it’s not the non-christians to bash on them first, but the christians! What??? Shouldn’t have they been happy for them?
Christians, we need to stop doing this. We need to stop acting like body guards at the gates of heaven deciding who should be able to run into Jesus’ arms. We cannot put God in a box and expect him to only work on people how we want Him to. Christians are always a work in progress. Nothing about us is finished yet. God is not finished working in you just like God is not finished working in the addict, the depressed, the lonely, and anyone else that does not fit the cookie-cutter frame of a christian in our heads. Yes, we should still rebuke, yes, we should help those strengthen their journey with God. But you cannot share the truth without love, just as you cannot share love without truth, because they go hand in hand. Since God is so ridiculously patient with us, then we don’t get to play a judgmental version of God with others. None of us get it right every time or most of the time or even half – and almost never the first time.
I am so grateful that God does not require me to clean myself up before coming to Him. I am grateful that even though I can feel like my wrongs are unforgivable, He forgives me. I am grateful that even though I do not meet the standards of some Christians, Jesus came down and fulfilled those standards and took my place. A Christian is not defined by his progress, but by his Savior. I pray that we grow into having the heart that Jesus has for the full spectrum of humanity.
“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6
“As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.” Romans 14:1
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:4-7