Can I just say I have NEVER been challenged by a series as much as I've been challenged by this one? For the next few weeks I'll be sharing the ways in which our current series has convicted ME of being an annoying Christian.
Gandhi said that he loved the Christ but hated Christians.
Sometimes I feel like more people would love and follow Jesus if it weren't for Christians.
My biggest pet-peeve concerning Christians? Christians are so judgmental (for more on this see my Cannibal Christian post). Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you"--why don't Christians?
A few weeks ago Pastor Jeff led us through John 8:1-11 (which I also talk about in my Cannibal Christian post) and the "big question" was: "How do we stop throwing stones?"
1. Care more about the person than we do our position.
The Pharisees were willing to interrupt the ministry of Jesus to push their own selfish agenda. They needed to be right--even if that meant sacrificing righteousness.
Don't Christians do that all the time?
We get so riled up about issues we forget the PEOPLE. Whether the issue is abortion, gay marriage, or porn, we want OUR way to be the right way and we'll mow down anyone who gets in our way--this is not exactly the way to get people interested in knowing Jesus!
I loved Pastor Jeff's challenge:
What if we loved people instead of yelled at them. Fasted FOR them instead of fought WITH them. What if we got to KNOW them, instead of focusing on knowing how to GET them.
2. Remember who I am and who I used to be
When Jesus told the Pharisees that those who were without sin could cast the first stone, He was reminding everyone that they were sinners deserving of death.
Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. It doesn't matter what the sin is--because of our sin we deserve to die a sinner's death.
How quickly I forget my sins.
How quick I am to point out the sins of others (Matt, if you just "amened" that you could be in trouble).
When I reflect on how much transformation has taken part in my life and heart because of Jesus, I am humbled. How can I not offer grace and love to others in response to the undeserved gift I received?
3. Step away from them so they can step to Him.
When all of the Pharisees realized that they were sinners and stepped away, Jesus was left standing with the adulterous woman. Jesus was with the woman--in her sin, in her shame. He was with her.
Jesus is with those we oppose. And when I throw stones at people, I'm throwing them at Jesus. YIKES!
Pastor Jeff stated:
I wonder if sometimes people can’t hear Jesus [be]cause all they can hear is us? If they can’t see Jesus [be]cause all they see is us?How often are Christians the reasons people refuse Christ? How often am I the reason people refuse Christ? Will I be accountable for the times my judgments keep people away from Christ?
I pray that my heart would be transformed--that I would be humbled before Jesus. That I would be tender toward those with whom I disagree.
What I think is that Christians can be judgmental.
It's time for me to stop throwing stones.