If this is shocking, my bad. I thought you knew.

GET THIS

So I just read in For the Love (Jen Hatmaker, 2015) that according to statistics and research, young adults are leaving the Church in droves due to Christians being a defensive, cliquish bunch of consumerists who are hostile toward the gay community and are arrogant science-haters who care more about morality and voting records than justice and transformation.

Wow! **Shot to the heart and we’re to blame! We gave love a bad name!**

I knew we were considered hypocrites, but haters? I could say that this shouldn’t surprise me because Jesus was persecuted and still is through us. BUT (that’s a big but) have we brought this on ourselves?

I want to make some personal declarations about my beliefs so that I’m totally clear on this.

  1. I love everyone – e v e r y o n e – but hate sin.
  2. I am a sinner.
  3. Life is eternal, going beyond our human form. You and I will live beyond our death on earth.
  4. Sexual sin is one of a plethora of sins, including many of which I am guilty. (Transparency: I had sex before I was married. That’s sexual sin.)
  5. Everyone is a sinner.
  6. The only non-sinner is God, of whom Jesus is part. So, the only human who never sinned was Jesus.
  7. Because God is pure and sin is not, I and everyone else are not worthy of being with God in heaven.
  8. Jesus erases sins.
  9. Only those who accept Jesus as their Savior are sin-cleansed and heaven-bound. (We still sin but should not want to sin. We should abide in Christ and allow him to abide in us, to help us not sin, even when we want to.)
  10. God wants everyone to be “saved” (from eternal damnation) through Jesus.
  11. Sadly, the unsaved will be separated from God forever, in hell. This is why Christians share Jesus, to save people from an eternity in hell.

So, I love LGBTQ people, though I am a married heterosexual.

I love hypocritical and judgmental Christians, atheists, agnostics, and people of other religions, though I am a Christian.

I love women who have had abortions and men who have encouraged them, though I am pro-life.

I love people who’ve done heinous things because Jesus loves them. Just read about some of the sinners God loved throughout history: David, Rahab, Paul!

I hate sin. What’s sin? In the bible, we’re told what constitute sin. I also believe that the Holy Spirit speaks to each person who seeks a relationship with Jesus. The Holy Spirit talks to the heart. He has told me to do things I’ve not done – and I count that a sin. He has told me to do things I have done – and I’ve never regretted those actions.

Jesus said, basically, Shauna, you’re a sinner. Don’t you dare judge others who are also sinners. Love them! I loved you in your sin and am still forgiving you when you sin! (Matt 7:1-5, Matt 22:34-40, 1Cor 13)

Listen, I’m fine with people disagreeing with what I believe, like what constitutes sin or eternal life or whether the Cowboys should still be America’s team (um, yes). These things are between each person and God. I do want to share the hope I have in Jesus and let people know Jesus loves them and wants to save them. But I don’t want to shove it down their throats, and I certainly don’t want to judge or condemn.

What’s so heartbreaking to me is this crummy image Christians have created for the Church, even to our own children!

DO THIS

STOP IT! Get that RBF off your mug and smile at everyone.

Hug (when allowed by law).

Bothers don’t shake hands. Brothers gotta hug.

–Tommy Boy

Encourage! Instead of being Debbie Downer, say things that lift people up, boost their self-image, their courage, and their joy. Your encouragement should be truths.

Love as Jesus loved – love oppressors of the poor (tax collectors), as well as prostitutes, alcoholics, idol worshippers, unbelievers. You should love all humans because every single person was made in the image of God. Of GOD! He created every human for a purpose, reflecting his very image.

Love all kinds of folks, and if they’ll let you, guide them to finding our precious Lord so they may inherit the Kingdom with us.

PRAY THIS

I encourage you to look beside you and see Jesus, and to talk with him as if he’s present and interested in your prayer, because HE IS!

Lord, your Church, your bride is off-center. You said of faith, hope, and love – great things – love is the greatest. You said love everyone. Yet we do not. We judge. We are missing the mark! {YOUR NAME HERE} misses the mark!

Forgive us, your Church, and forgive me. Give me your eyes and heart for people. Grant me to take n your unbiased way of living, that I might attract those who seek you, so I can share Truth with them.

Lord, help us, your Church, to rebuild our image, from judgmental and cliquish to accepting and loving. This world needs your love. Use your people to share it. Give us the courage to go against the grain for you, to step out and love for you.

And thank you for pursuing me in my sin, saving me, making me an heir of heaven, and for forgiving me still when I sin against you. Amen.

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