I passed a sign a few weeks ago outside of a church gate that read “No sleeveless, no shorts, no pants allowed inside”. It took me by surprise so I paused and reread it. Yup! thats exactly what it said. [What????] Oh the pain of seeing it was tremendous. I thought to myself, “why do we make this Christian journey so complicated?” Its unfair to blood and sacrifice of Jesus to do that. Imagine if you will with me for a minute. A prostitute on her last wit is seeking a place of refuge from her Pimp who is beating on her and that church was the only place she sees. Shooting off like a speeding bullet she pressed towards it and the first thing she sees as she hastened to enter the gate is “No sleeveless, no shorts, no short skirt or pants allowed inside”. [Oh my God!] What a turn off.
That one soul could possibly be lost because of such uncouth, boorish, curt, welcome. I understand that we all need rules but when these rules take the place of what should be loving embraces for the lost and hurting then we have become Pharisaical. Rules are important but these regulations should not be so stringent that they turn away or turn off those who need our Jesus. Are we not here to propogate the gospel so we can plunder hell and populate heaven?
Let us not fool ourselves. Jesus died for all! ALL! Jesus loves all! ALL! Our duty as believers is to show the real Jesus by living and loving like he did. Then again some of us cannot do so because we do not know the real Jesus. For us, he is a Big Stick God…just waiting to punish us when we slip up. After all, God is a just God right? Nonsense! That kind of thinking is purely Religious and not Relational. God is just, yes. God is fair, yes. God is holy, yes. However on top of all of that God is love and he is quicker to forgive than to spew out wrath.
Psalms 103:8 – “The LORD is compassionate, merciful, patient, and always ready to forgive.” GWB
We need to understand that Jesus hates punishing his prized masterpiece – mankind that he loves so much. Whenever he absolutely has to, he does but it is not the first and foremost thing in the forefront of his mind. He first wants to show mercy, kindness and forgiveness before judgment and condemnation. Why do you think he has not yet returned? He is giving everyone ample time to turn from their sins and follow him with their whole heart. The day of judgment is the most dreaded day for Jesus because he is going to have to punish forever the people he died for and loves so much.
Lets get it together people. Lets be about the Father’s business the best way we can by using his Son as the perfect example. Loving God and then loving people even as the God we love have himself loved us.