Tuesday, November 17, 2009
What Part of "For God So Loved the World" Do Christians Fail to Understand?
I get emails from people and organizations telling me to boycott businesses that do not act like Christians want them to. They claim that this pressure will make them comply. I think this sounds a lot like what the Pharisees did in Jesus' day.
The Pharisees didn't have anything to do with the sinners. They were very good at condemning their sin and would accept them if they would simply comply and do what the Pharisees wanted. They expected that Jesus would follow their lead if He was a great religious teacher. He certainly couldn't be the Messiah if He didn't comply with the Pharisees' rules.
Jesus, however, had a different idea. He loves sinners. He decided He would hang out with them. He expressed His love for them. Out of the sinners came Matthew who would write a Gospel. Another sinner named Zacchaeus would repent of the money he had cheated from people. He would return it fourfold. Mary Magdalene would become one of Jesus closest followers. He loved on these people and they came to know Him.
Jesus abandoned the Pharisees' method of coercing people to comply with their behavior. He gave us the example of loving people into the kingdom. His love made them repent of their sins.
I wonder why we just don't get it. Why don't we understand that genuine love will win people into the kingdom? Our judgment should be reserved for those who are believers. We should approach believers when they sin. We should gently urge them into a renewed relationship with Christ. However, we should be showing love rather than coercion to those who do not know Christ.
I wonder: Instead of Christians boycotting stores who do not comply, what would happen if we decided to love and pray for them instead? What would happen if we wrote them letters of love and said we were going to shop at their stores? What if they understood that our God is One of love rather and forced compliance?
Do you think that we would see more people come to Christ?