Sunday, October 21, 2012

Laughing at Jerusalem

"Judge not, and you will not be judged
condemn not, and you will not be condemned forgive, and you will be forgiven." Luke 6:37

When I was in the deepest throes of chronic-pain-induced depression, I would get pictures in my mind like day dreams. I'd see Jesus standing in a white robe, talking and laughing, and when He'd see me, He'd stop laughing. He would get this disgusted look on His face and turn His back on me. An awful lie.

The symptoms of my disease, the disease itself and the shame it brings, are all results of sin. Some results of sin we can control, and some we cannot. When we see someone living out the result of sin in a way we think they ought to be able to control, what is our reaction? One of disgust? Or  one of love?

Bullying isn't a sin unique to children. It's laughing at people with tattoos or piercings, spitting on an openly homosexual person, figuratively or literally, or spitting on those who stand against homosexuality. It's talking badly about someone who spends their surplus income on luxuries for themselves, scoffing at Muslims and Christians, rolling our eyes at unwed mothers and at housewives. It's being repulsed by the overweight, the alcoholic, the homeless, and it's being repulsed by those who do the repulsing. 

The tragedy is that so many of us are led to believe the knee-jerk disgust we feel for each other is appropriate and even condoned by God.

As I'm invited to laugh at the mistaken and the God-given inclination to judge the sin turns into the sinful inclination usurp God's place and judge the sinner, I have to ask: Did Jesus laugh at Jerusalem? Or did He weep for it? (Luke 19:41-44) The world hates us, that's true, and we hate it right back. But when we hate the people in it―the people Jesus died for―when we judge them as either saved or damned by what they wear, or judge them as nonredeemable because of what they confess today, when we believe that "they" are the sinful ones so much more deserving of eternity in hell than we are, we hate Jesus. We hate His love and the fact that He died for the WORLD and EVERYONE in it, and we become the mistaken.

Love for another is not condoning their sin (or our own), and love for God is not disrespecting the people He loves, and it certainly is not inviting others to disrespect them along with us. LOVE is desperately wanting to change their minds, for Christ's sake and for theirs.

Nothing anybody can do, wear, feel, or even believe can make Jesus hate them. Jesus will always want every single person the Father created to believe and act rightly until their dying day when time for their salvation has run out. He gave His life for that. For them. He understands the fate of those who reject Him with the sin of unbelief (whether in the form of outright rejection, naive ignorance, or plain old-fashioned self-righteousness) better than anyone, and He cries for them.

Jesus doesn't hate. Jesus is patient and kind. He does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. He doesn't condone sin or sinful actions, He doesn't laugh, He isn't disgusted, He doesn't mutter insults behind anyone's back, and He doesn't turn His back on anyone. He weeps: with us in our pain and for us and our errors. And He gives Himself for OUR salvation. What are we willing to give to keep every possible person from rejecting that salvation? Are we really going to reject them right back with giggles, whispers of disgust, and feelings of our own superiority?

If so, whose salvation is less secure?

Suggested verse to repeat when that knee-jerk sin pops up is from Ephesians 4:5
PRC buddies, remember to breathe!
"Speak the truth -------> 5 count inhale
in love." -------> 5 count exhale

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