Jesus in the Real World

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I love Jesus. I really love Jesus. But I am sick about all the stuff people try to attach to Him.

I grew up in a home where any religion was ridiculed. It was for the weak, gullible, unintelligent — the last thing anyone in our family wanted to be. Yet, Jesus is so appealing. When my sister told me that Jesus wanted to love me and forgive my sin and be my Savior, that’s all I needed to know. I was fourteen, and I accepted Him on the spot. I struggled a lot after that, trying to resolve my dad’s caustic comments with this Jesus who saved me. “Counting beads,” my dad called it, a reference to the Catholic rosary, but it was his slur for superstitious, organized religion.

Then I married and had kids — suddenly the stakes were multiplied. Our church taught us to pray, read, take on ministry — all the good things Christians do. But subtly, we learned that the culture of Christianity is about behavior modification. Sin management. Read, pray, love in order to hold sin at bay. But behavior was never meant to overshadow the Person of Christ. It’s like a party hosted by the Great Gatsby, but the party guests haven’t even seen him. Not because He isn’t there, mind you, but because they got so caught up in all the periphery, they’ve rather forgotten who they’re there to see.

But I think God has been unraveling the whole church culture for us. He’s been retrieving the message of the gospel and shaking all the behavior modification off it, so we can see it as it was meant to be. No wonder. The under-30s are not interested in church-as-usual. A list of acceptable behavior is not going to do it for this next generation. They want life, the very thing Jesus offers in abundance.

Augustine said, “I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are wise and very beautiful; but I have never read in either of them: ‘Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden.”’ Jesus will give you rest no matter how hard you’re struggling, or how heavy the load you’re carrying! That’s what He does. And He’ll give you more abundant life than you can imagine.

Click here to read “The Woman Forgiven For Adultery”

9 thoughts on “Jesus in the Real World

  1. I appreciate your point of view. I appreciate full that you are being directed by God to reconcile the church and the love of Jesus with ANYONE and EVERYONE willing to hear the gospel. “For GOD so loved the WORLD, that He gave…”

    Not “For God so loved the STRAIGHT world…that He took away salvation from homosexuals”

    I don’t get why some Christians don’t get it! So sad.

    Jesus has become irrelevant in the lives of the people who need them most because the church body has been used as an instrument of satan. If we make people feel badly enough about who they are (right or wrong)…we give the devil a foothold. We give the enemy power over a life that needs those chains broken the most.

    You know, the verse that says “If the son has set you free, you will be free indeed”…we are free indeed. We have been set free by the shed blood of the son of God. Not set free by our good behavior and the blood or set free by our repenting from sin and the blood of God.

    Repentance from sin is a work that only Jesus can do in our lives individually. It is not an automatic “step two” after salvation occurs…sometimes repentance looks like a lifetime of sanctification. For many of us, the sanctification process is much more about allowing the Lord to convict us, recognizing what the biggest issues are in our lives, and turning from them in His time.

    I recently read on facebook a conversation that had been posted between you and another reader. She is adamantly against your “acceptance and love” of anyone who is not a married heterosexual.

    She used facebook as a forum to expose private letters between you and she.

    All I could think about when I read them was that SHE was biggest stone-thrower I have ever read. To take a private conversation between the two of you and post it for all to read…how does that increase acceptance and love of God’s children in ANY way. It doesn’t. It simply was an opportunity for her to have an “ego boost” by other likeminded stone-throwers. How would she like for us to publicize the painful parts of her life?

    Maybe people are grieved that they see you teaching and accepting the lifestyles of others…so start a blog of their own because it disagrees with their understanding of scripture. Fight the battle elsewhere. Maybe they should ask the Lord for more understanding and for His direction.

    Aren’t there plenty of places on this planet telling the LGBT community that they are bad, wrong, and going to hell? Do we need another one?

    I say no.

    Let God chisel. We are all His masterpieces anyway.

  2. Susan, I’ve wondered if Jesus looks at all of this and ask if HIS sacrifice wasn’t sufficient enough for us to simply love, because he loved us. We can make a mess of what is the pure and perfect gift, Jesus!

  3. Another great piece, Susan. YES to everything you said! Made me think of this song that I am attaching by Wendy Francisco entitled, “The price of a gift.” “I remember when I first came to the churches—a moonlight world where people thought the same. I was caught up in the joy of new-found faith. But somewhere I began to see a game. I noticed through the corner of my eyes people failing—falling through the cracks in our sidewalk of perfection. Torn by judgmental people and cast adrift. How can we raise the price of something that was given as a gift? Whenever rules are added to our freedom, someone somewhere always cashes in at the cost of those who do not fit the program and are told that God rejects them for their sin. We don’t gain the kingdom because we’ve earned it. We are all just like the woman at the well who cried, “come and meet the man who knows everything about me.” When someone tries to make it more, they’ve got something to sell. Why did Jesus laugh with all the sinners? Why did hurting people flock to hear him? What is it that offends the proud, but draws the broken? What finally moved the religious ones to kill him?”

    And if you are interested in more great reading full of interesting twists and insights, here is something else I came across today: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/loveisanorientation/2013/08/homophobia-hell-and-how-i-decided-to-become-an-ally/ Enjoy!

    Love ALWAYS!

    ~Paul

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