I gave my life to Jesus almost 30 years ago in a conservative Southern Baptist church. It was “old school” in that the services were kind of formal, folks dressed up, and the music was very traditional. The church also strongly taught doctrine and I became (like many new believers) very rigid in my beliefs. Anyone who practiced their faith in Jesus outside of our interpretation of scripture was almost considered “lesser than”.
Those were the days when the SBC was really struggling to figure out who it wanted to be. It was “conservatives verses moderates” with a lot of animosity on both sides. Name calling and public feuding seemed to be commonplace with both sides claiming the moral high ground. (eyes rolling and heads shaking, the lost world looked on) Regardless of where you stood on the issues the conduct of both sides was a “black eye” to the cause of Christ. (opinion)
What developed out of that in many ways was an “us against them” mentality…
- “Us” against the moderates
- “Us” against the immoral
- “Us” against the drinkers
- “Us” against the lost
- “Us” against sister churches
- “Us” against Hollywood
- “Us” against anyone who does not act, think, dress, smell like…….well…….US!
Two Key verses give some good insight into what Jesus thought about about believers and those who did not yet know Him.
John 13:35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
For those who did not know Him:
MARK 6:34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
A friend of mine wears a t-shirt that boldly states: “Jesus Loves Strippers!” We could argue the appropriateness of the shirt or whether or not she should wear it at all, but here’s the thing…. after my initial wincing at it, I think she has a good point! Jesus does indeed love strippers….. He also loves homosexuals, cheaters, thieves, gossips, Republicans, Democrats, Baptists etc….. (John 3:15-18)
A Few Quick thoughts:
- Jesus was liberal in His Love for the lost (thieves, immoral, unloved, etc) (Luke 5:30)
- Jesus was fierce in his condemnation of the religious hypocrites. (Gospels, all)
- Jesus said that people will know we are His disciples if we “love one another”. (John 13:35)
- People are not the enemy…they are the objective! If a man who does not know Jesus, behaves accordingly…how can we condemn him?
- Shouldn’t our attitude be that of a beggar who has found food and want to show other beggars where to eat?
As a Christian my job is NOT to find a way to make a “bad person” good … it is to show THE WAY that a dead person can be alive.
excerpts from the The Bible Study Series, “Things They Did Not Tell Me About My Faith” – Hixon Frank 2007