Posted by: minnow | September 11, 2009

Lie # 4: We Love You Just the Way You Are

Humm…Nope.  I just don’t buy it.  Truth be told in all the circles of folks I’ve hung out with–hippies, humanists, intellectual agnostics, theatre folks, Christians, Republicans, Democrats, artsy-fartsy types, social reformers, environmentalists–the Christians rank pretty close to the bottom of the list for being known by their love.  In fact, we not only take pot-shots at other groups on a regular basis (homosexuals, feminists, and liberals come to mind) we do a pretty fair job of shooting one another in the foot. 

I know those in glass houses…but seriously, how will we ever change if we never take a critical look at ourselves?  Some will say we should not care what the “world” thinks of us, that the Bible warned us we would be hated.  But let us at least be hated for the right reason!  Let us be hated because we look too much like Jesus, NOT because we look, act, and sound like the Pharisees!

Jesus was hated because He made it impossibly difficult to be self oriented.  He made it hard to get rich and stay rich.  He rejected the idea of climbing the ladder, getting ahead, and being top dog.  Jesus was hated because He saw people for who they were, loved them anyway, and expected His followers to do likewise.  He was hated because he focused on people’s needs and ignored their wants.

Sadly, the Church’s reputation is not like Jesus.  Oh I have heard it preached too many times to count that, “Jesus loves you just the way you are.  He just loves you too much to leave you that way.”  But too often you can translate that: Jesus might be able to love you the way you are but we will show you how you should clean up your act so you can look just like us.  We will also tell you what you should believe and how to worship God and when and where to pray and what to pray for and…ad nausium.  And, if you do not go along with what we tell you then you are just rejecting God  and we can not help it if you choose to go to hell.  We wash our hands of you.  Oh, and by the way, we will give you about a year.  So, you better plug into a small group, and be reading your Bible, and start tithing, and quit hanging out with your unsaved friends, and…

Do we really love people just the way they are?  Quite frankly, I am not sure we even find out who they are before we begin the whole make-over gig.  We rarely discovered what gifts and talents they might have to contribute before we start plugging them into our needs–“Here, why don’t you sign up to work in the nursery.  We need nursery workers.  You can start serving there.”  In truth we are more focused on the holes we have to fill in order to keep our ship moving.  Let us be honest.  Are we actually prone to take new believers to lunch or do we simply direct them to the appropriate small group and sign their children up for Sunday school?  Do we treat people like car parts that ought to fit into our machines or as individuals with their own unique inner workings, designed by the same God who created us? 

I wonder if the last time we (the Church) loved someone right where they were it was because they were finally right where we wanted them?  God knows, I’m guilty.  But I refuse to stay guilty.  I am determined to first let people in, to find out where they live–emotionally–before I start to reprogram them.  And if I’m successful maybe I will learn a thing or two in the process.

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Responses

  1. Interesting post. I particularly like this question: Are we actually prone to take new believers to lunch or do we simply direct them to the appropriate small group and sign their children up for Sunday school?

    It’s very easy to just run through the process.

  2. You have some very good points minnow.

    My favorite part of the blog is when you said, “He (Jesus) was hated because he focused on people’s needs and ignored their wants.” That very much strikes true for me and I never really thought of it that way. This is not good news for me and many of my friends because I often find myself praying for my wants and forgetting my and other peoples needs.

    I very much agree with what you are saying. I think the biggest problem is that the “Church” really does think they love people “just the way they are”. The “Church” does not think they are trying to change the person or fit them into a place they aren’t built for. It is a great frustration.

    The problem with truly forcing yourself to see where the individual fits is you don’t have absolute control that way. I think the Church has grown to trust in themselves and are only under the illusion that God is making the Choices. This illusion has had century’s to build up. It will be very hard to break. I am glad you are up for the challenge to help break it. Thank you for bring it to my attention in a more in depth way.


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