Monday, July 11, 2011

Loving with gloves on

Every Christian knows that you are not called to hate sinners but to hate sin. We will even claim that we actually do not actually hate sinners but love them and want them to be free from their sin.

And every sinner in the world thinks that this is a joke.

Do you want to know why? Because we don't love them.

We don't care about their life, we don't care about their story or their pain. We only care about what it will take to get them onto our team. Once they are a Christian, we think, then we can care about them. Caring about them now will just encourage them to stay in their sin.

Isn't that what we've learned? Isn't that what we've feared? If we accept someone in the middle of their sins, they will not have a reason to change; we can't validate a sinful lifestyle.

Friends, this is a lie.
"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:6-8 ESV
That death was not conditional, God didn't wait for us to come over to his side before He adopted us. He chose "the right time," and then He just did it. Moreover, He got impossibly intimate with our sin by putting on our own skin.

If I would love another person like Jesus, that means extending my love to them, without condition, and then holding it there until they take it. It also means no longer being afraid to love people.

As Christians, we can find ourselves in a perfect storm of fear. We are offended by sin, we are outraged by it, but, most of all, we are afraid we're going to be caught doing it. At the same time we are often afraid to actually tell people that they are sinners. These combine to create this wall of fear, denial, and hypocrisy that effectively separates us from the people we are supposed to love.

Essentially, we try to find a way to love people without having anything to do with them. Our love becomes political rhetoric, meaningless platitudes that sound inspired but fall flat. It's safe love, the kind of love that covers both our Christian obligations and our righteous backsides.

The kind of love that isn't really love at all.

In effect, we try to love people without getting their sin all over us and without making them mad. I picture a man gingerly handling a poisonous snake or an anthrax filled pipe bomb.

We are loving with gloves on.

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