I will never forget the hurt in my dad’s voice as he lovingly but painfully confronted me.
Just days before he excitedly pulled out his guitar and showed me a song he’d written. I come from a very artistic family – music and creativity flow freely on both sides. My dad has written a few songs, and this was a new worship chorus he’d just written. He wanted to get my thoughts.
As he sang the simple but powerful words, I easily recognized the melody. It was probably one he wasn’t terribly familiar with, but had heard as we kids played the radio incessantly. Most certainly the tune stuck in his head and easily fit the words that had filled his heart during his devotion times.
I didn’t want to disappoint him by telling him that while the words were great, the tune wasn’t his. So, I simply praised him for a great job and kept the rest to myself.
Sunday morning, after worship was sung, he grabbed his guitar and excitedly shared with our reasonably sized congregation that the Lord had given him a song. I squirmed as he sang it, because I knew without a doubt that others would recognize the tune as I had.
Lovingly, one of the ladies on the worship team pulled him aside and shared with him that the tune wasn’t original.
He felt betrayed by his daughter’s silence.
As indeed he was.
I learned a very important lesson that day:
I thought my silence was protecting him from disappointment, but what it actually did was set him up for public humiliation. What I thought was love was actually selfishness. I didn’t want to be the one to break the news, so instead I allowed him to stand in front of a few hundred people and unknowingly pass a borrowed tune off as an original.
Lately I have seen this same “selfish love” (which by definition is an oxymoron because 1 Corinthians 13 clearly states that love is not selfish) in the church. Only on a much grander and more disturbing level!
I have been deeply troubled as over the past few months I have read more and more articles and blog posts by Christians about them “just wanting to love on the sinner”. It’s become a mantra I see over and over. Most often in reference to homosexuality and the LGBT community.
And to be clear, I have no problem with reaching out with love to the LGBT community!
I am literally surrounded by sinners everyday. I spend more time with sinners than I do with my brothers and sisters in Christ. And I think that is exactly how it should be!
Jesus loved sinners. Oh – He deeply loved sinners. His heart was repeatedly moved with compassion for them.
Yes, I believe the church should love sinners, she should be known for her love of sinners.
Sadly, when I read these articles and blog posts by Christians, it is paired with the idea that our love shouldn’t confront sin, but it should simply make them feel loved and accepted.
Friends, this is dangerous! This is a false love that is neither demonstrated by Jesus nor illustrated anywhere in Scripture! Not only is this a false love, it is literally the antithesis of love.
It is hate.
It is betrayal.
To glibly show love and acceptance to the LGBT community without warning them of the consequence of their actions is no different than standing passively by as a driver careens off a precipice to his death.
Does Jesus love the homosexual? The lesbian? The bi-sexual? The transvestite?
Yes. A hundred times yes!
He allowed His body to be beaten unmercifully until He was bloody, swollen, and nearly delirious from pain because of His deep love for them.
He allowed Himself to be mocked, ridiculed and publicly humiliated out of deep love and compassion for them – as for all of us who are none of these.
But the love Jesus felt for sinners never stopped Him from saying, “Go and sin no more”. It never stopped Him from calling sin what it is – a capital offense against a holy God.
His love never prevented Him from saying, “Be ye perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect”
Quite the contrary!
His love compelled Him to say these things!
Out of deep love and concern for their eternal souls did He speak out and call sinners to repentance.
And then He commissioned us to do the same!
He commanded us to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
Believe the gospel – which is simply this:
We are all sinners in need of a Savior. Our sin has offended a holy God and has separated us from Him. The only way to pay back the debt of sin is by death – a blood sacrifice. But even our own death could never repay the debt of sin we owe. That’s why Jesus – God in the flesh, the only perfect human being to ever walk planet earth – came with one purpose: to die and reconcile man to God!
By acknowledging our sin and our need for a Savior – namely acknowledging the sacrifice Jesus paid for us on the cross – we become reconciled to God.
That is the gospel!
You cannot share the gospel – you cannot fulfill Christ’s command – you simply cannot love a sinner without addressing their sin!
Ezekiel said it best in chapter 3:
When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.
Does Jesus love the homosexual? Yes! Just as He loves all sinners. And He wants to show that love through us!
We must simply lay down our own pride and fear that they will reject that love so that the purity of God’s love comes through – unhindered by our own insecurity.
For if they reject that love, they don’t reject us. They reject Him.
A final word: I acknowledge that the church has often been on the other extreme, when her confrontation of sin has been hateful and intolerable. This is no more Christ-like than a false love that refuses to speak about sin at all. Both are wrong. Both are sin. Both are dangerous. Both leave the sinner in their sin and close the door to any hope of salvation. True, unadulterated, Christ-like love is a love that isn’t afraid to touch sinners, and yet isn’t afraid to speak the truth. In love. Always in love. But love never remains silent.
True love protects!
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