when your “faith” becomes a barrier….
So, let me intro this with a warning that you may not like what I have to say in this one… in fact, I will probably be surprised if I don’t get a call from a family member or friend on the topic. And the topic is “tolerance vs. loving without judgment.”
When I was younger I was drawn to the people in school who were not “like” me… People who were “different” (different in some eyes, not my own) – by different I mean: people who loved differently than me, who thought differently than me, who believed in things different than me, who connected to the Lord differently than me, who wore clothing different than me, who had different color skin than me, who by the world’s standards were not like me at all. AND all my life I have been told that I am “too tolerant” of things than I should be regarding these areas.
I have always been very offended by the thought of being “too tolerant” when loving my friends in a way that Jesus would.
I laugh thinking that maybe the same people who think that I have been “too tolerant” wonder if they have been “too tolerant” with me? I mean, I was the girl who grew up without dad, who got pregnant as a teen, married as teen, divorced as a young adult… Were they “too tolerant” with me when they showed me love?
I guess this really surfaced when three things happened when I was in my adolescent years and I have never been the same since:
1) I fell in love with someone of a different race and many of my family and friends did not support me because of what it “might” look like to the world and how would God feel about that?
I think God would be totally okay with loving another believer of Him… Regardless of age, skin color, ethnicity, or status. His love knows no boundaries.
2) Several of my closest friends came out to me that they were gay or homosexual. Should I love them any less? Should that change how I thought of them? Are they any less of God’s creation than I am? I had several people say I was/am way too accepting of the gay/lesbian lifestyle.
I know in the deepest parts of my heart, that I am not to judge anyone for how they love. If you truly love your friends and family, than you love them without conditions. There is only One true judge, and I cannot help but believe that He will search all of our hearts and that all sin is equal in His eyes. By promoting legalistic attitudes about who should love who or how one should love another then we are missing the point--- by doing that we ARE limiting God’s love which we are commanded to show to the world. It is about our own love and our own journey with Him that matters, not our critique of others emotions or choices.
3) Many of my friends do not consider themselves followers of Christ… In fact, I would say the majority don’t. I have often heard the statement, “don’t become tolerant of that because _________ is, and they don’t go to church…”
I know it is important to surround ourselves with the Christian community for support and healthy relationships, but I think someone missed the boat on not associating themselves with those who believe differently than we do. You can’t be a light to the world if you are always hanging with the other candles. A light shines brightest in the darkness. Isn’t this the whole point of Jesus? He hung out with the hurting, broken, and those who believed in everything BUT Him. This is the Great Commission. If that means, I have to go drink a margarita with one of my girlfriends to talk about life because that is the only time she hears about God’s love – I am okay with that. AND I feel no conviction about that. (I should add I don’t do that often) but still God places certain convictions on certain people.
AND maybe that is the point of this entire post. CONVICTIONS…
I don’t feel tolerant when I feel like I am doing things God has commanded me to do. Maybe my methods for showing His love to others aren’t safe enough? Maybe I am not conventional enough to just invite my friends to church like “normal” Christians do?
But, I would rather go down as being one of those “Dangerous Christians” – have you heard of them?
They are the kind who aren’t afraid to take some risks for His kingdom. To go where the people who need Him most are – with no hidden agenda – with no ploy to get them “saved” – with every intention of loving them and walking alongside of them, and sharing your life with them… just like Jesus did it.
May my faith NEVER become a barrier from showing His love to someone….