Okay, I must start off by apoligizing if this post seems like I am lashing out. I got a little riled up yesterday. This is not directed towards anyone that I know personally, just a general frustration. I am about to blow off some steam as I do some therepuetic blogging.
I was on Facebook yesterday. For those of you who do not know what Facebook is, it's kind of like Myspace. You have a profile, can look up friends and do all sorts of other cool stuff. It appeals to a slightly older crowd than Myspace does and seems to be a little more secure against internet predators.
So, I was trying to send an online gift called a "piece of flair". It's a little button that you can pick out and send to a friend. It will show up on a little bulletin board on your friend's profile. I love to do this for some of the kids in the youth group at church. Most of the "flair" is pretty humorous. It just a fun way to give some of my favorite Facebook people a smile. Plus it is excitedly reminicent of my 80's childhood days when we used to wear denim jackets and carry denim purses that were covered with different buttons and pins. Ya, some of you remember that, don't you?!
Anyway, so I came across one that made me stop. It was an image of a church sign, you know the ones where you can change out the letters to show a different message each week. The sign said "God loves all people, unless you have a tattoo, then you are going to hell."
Okay, I will just go ahead and get this out there. I have a tattoo. It is a daisy, about 1" X 1" on my back right hip. Do I regret it? Yes. It is a scar that serves to constantly remind me of a time of rebellion against God, my parents and even my future husband at the time (Josh was less than pleased when he got word of my body's new addition). So for that reason, the message on this "piece of flair" caught my attention and kind of ticked me off.
First of all, I am aware that most images on the internet have been altered in some way to make them sensational. I am also aware that the book of Revelation warns against receiving the "mark of the beast" which could be a tattoo. However, Revelation is very specific about what exactly the "mark of the beast" will look like. I assure you it is not a daisy.
What irritates me, if this sign was in fact real...(well, even if it wasn't), is that there is this common trend among Christians to think that we are better than "sinners". We are all sinnners! "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8) We may even humbly talk as though we know that we are no better, but our actions speak otherwise. (yes I am ashamed to say that I have to include myself here too) It is the very thing that drives so many away from a life with Christ.
One of my college roomates had a guy friend who was homosexual. He told me that he would never step foot in a church again becuase someone at the church where he was attenting told him that he shouldn't come back because he was gay. What right does anyone have to think that they are more deserving of a seat in a pew, than a gay person? Is it any different when we talk negatively behind the back of a fellow church-goer and then sit proudly in the front pew, singing our hymns and shouting our amens. You may say, "but at least I have a repentant heart." But, how might a person living a life of sin learn that a repentant and obedient heart is what God desires if they feel shunned by the "body of Christ" and never return to that place where God's Word is proclaimed.
When Jesus came upon a group of men ready to stone a woman for committing adultery, he said, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7) They all left.
How fair is it when a child is born with both male and female reproductive organs? Imagine the hormonal haywire that they are predisposed to. That is completely unfair! It is no different with someone who is genetically inclined to be alcoholic, depressed, angry or abusive - both sexually and physically. None of that is fair. And yet, we are still called to live a life of obedience to God. He promises not to give us more than we can endure.
"I can do all things through Christ who stengthens me" (Phillipians 4:13). If we allow God to help us there is nothing that we cannot overcome.
Having said this, I also believe that even though these things seem incredibly unfair, God is good. He also has a sort of personalized degree of accountability for each of us. He takes into consideration our age, our knowledge and our circumstances. "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains." - John 9:41 Above all, there is Grace, Wonderful Grace! We are "justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." -Romans 3:24
In the meantime, we must be patient with ALL people and love them where they are, just the way God does. It may not be comfortable for you to sit in a pew next to a gay person or someone who is having an affair or a young teenage girl who is just starting to show. God does not promise us comfort in our walk with Him. Take heart in knowing that He is at work and allow yourselves to love even when it is uncomfortable.
"Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! -John 1:29
God has revealed to me as I blog that I am not being very patient or loving to those Christians who have failed to display patience or love. lol. I set out to "teach a lesson" to fellow Christians only to be taught one myself.
Speak Lord. Your servant is listening.