Jesus would have been much better received today than most Christians are. Coming from an evangelical Christian background, I can testify that most Christians I know believe that they are rejected from society because of their moral standards. “Hollywood is so corrupt! Politicians are so corrupt! The Media is so corrupt!”
But didn’t Jesus encounter corruption and depravity 2,000 years ago? Absolutely. He spoke with whores, thieves, murderers, and outcasts. And those people loved him. They weren’t repelled by his message. That’s right. They were drawn to him. Jesus was and is a friend to sinners.
So what makes 21st Century American Christians so different? What is so different about us that the secular world ridicules and rejects us?
In one word: LOVE. God IS love. Jesus IS love. Jesus walked the earth for thirty some odd years and deeply loved the people he encountered. He was moved with compassion for them. He longed to see them restored. He only said what he heard the Father say, and he only did what he saw the Father doing. And that was always, always, always love.
We’re not rejected in 21st Century America because of our moral purity. We’re ridiculed, rejected, and scorned because we do not love. Our goal is to do what we’re supposed to do, and we think that is to tell people about Jesus and try to get them to join our side. And we’ve missed the first and foundational precept of Christianity:
For God so loved…
Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking. Love is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
The Christian life is to be walking by the Spirit, with the Spirit, full of love ready to be expressed. And all of these come from the Father. He is the source. We do not strive to love. We do not push ourselves to love. We love because we are loved. This means that if we are not loving, we have not received love. To taste and see the love that God has for you is to in turn be moved with His love that now dwells in you and to desire to love others.
I’m sharing this post not because I need to lecture, but because I need to learn. These are the thoughts God is leading me to.
“Seek Me in the Word, Daniel. Meditate on Me and My attributes, My actions, and My words. You were led to believe falsely about me through the lives of men who taught about Me when you were a child. Now is the time to restore the Truth to you. Know me as I am, not as men have said I am. Know my love, and you will be transformed. Give yourself time to think of me and talk of me. I am better than you ever dreamed. You have nothing to fear. Come closer. Draw closer. Find rest for your weariness.”
Lord, I am coming.