Sunday, May 7, 2017

Accepting ALL of the Body of Christ

I was reading a book recently on communion that spoke of the body of Christ. It proposed that when we reject others in the body of Christ, we are rejecting Christ Himself.

I once heard someone say that when we insult the Church, we are insulting the Bride of Christ. I doubt many husbands would take a friend's remark kindly if they said, "Don't get me wrong, I like to spend time with you, but I don't like your wife & don't want to spend time with her." Yet that is the equivalent of what we say to Jesus when we spurn His Bride.

But what if the insult is deeper, is much more personal than not liking your best friend's spouse? Christ is not just the Bridegroom of the Church, He is also the Head of the Church. So when we tell Jesus that we don't want to spend time with the Church, we are essentially saying that we only want to spend time with His face, not His hands, feet, or body.

Can you imagine that conversation?

Jesus: Hey, man! Wanna hang out with Me later?
Human: Sure thing! You know how much I like to spend time with You.
Jesus: Sweet! I think we could feed some homeless people, donate things we no longer use to a thrift store, volunteer at that new soup kitchen...Wait, you don't look too thrilled anymore.
Human: Well, it's just...hmmm...I don't know how to put this...Your body stinks, Jesus. I mean, I don't mind hanging out with Your head, but the rest of You stinks. Part of You are dirty and I don't want to touch them. How can you expect me to give You a hug when Your arms haven't touched water in who knows how long? And look at Your leg! It is bloody and all gross-like!!
*Jesus looks at the human in disbelief.*
Jesus: Do you want to remove My head to take Me with you for coffee?
*Human looks relieved and pulls out an ax.*
Human: And here I was worried that You wouldn't understand. Is there a tree stump around somewhere to make this easier?
Jesus: My body goes where I go. It may be a different color than you. It may be messy, dirty, and stinky. Parts of My body have problems & injuries, and is hurting & troubled, but this is My body, that was broken for you. You don't get to choose which parts you like best or which parts make you the most comfortable.

How does Jesus feel if we just want to hang out with Him & not the rest of His body because it's...
...stinky?
...hurting?
...a different color (or from the wrong side of town)?
...struggling with problems?
...messy?
...dirty?
...troubled?


When we don't want to spend time with a fellow follower of Christ, it is more than not liking our brother or sister. It is more than not caring for your friend's wife. It is shunning the body of your Savior. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

It's Time to Put Down Our Stones

I saw the video going around of the news interviewee having a live interview in his home when his children burst in his office and he brushed them back without even looking at them. What surprises me most about this viral video is the reactions of Christians.

Instead of Christians walking alongside this man in the valley of his internet humiliation, we are sitting on our high horses judging him for his parenting fails. Or if we are reveling in his humiliation and mocking him. We should be extending our hands of compassion to him, maybe even giving the internet some perspective by sharing a story of our own parenting fails that just never went viral. We should be known as merciful and gracious people, because we know that we have been shown loads of mercy (not getting what we do deserve) and grace (getting what we do not deserve and could never earn).

So maybe you never face-palmed your kid while in an international live interview, but we have fallen short of the Father’s ideal of parenting. If we are not parents, we could be aunts, uncles, babysitters, or nursery workers. We have all interacted with children and we all have regrets for how we treated them at some point.

As Christians, the core question that we ask should be “How would Jesus have reacted in this situation?” or “How would Jesus have me to react in this situation?” It is not incredibly difficult to know how Jesus would react in a situation like this, because Scripture recorded a similar story. No, there were not internet and viral videos back then, but a crowd of righteous people indignantly dragged a sinful adulteress before Jesus, tossing stones in their hands, prepared to stone her for her sins. And Jesus even gave permission for her to be stoned, IF the one without sin threw the first stone. Stone after stone left the hands of the righteous, falling harmlessly to the ground, because they knew they had sinned. Jesus and the women were left alone; her accusers were gone. The Sinless One did not condemn the adulteress, but sent her away to leave her life of sin.

Christians, it is time to get off our judgmental high horses and learn to walk alongside people in the valleys of humiliation. It is time that we learn to extend mercy and grace instead of condemnation. It is time to put down our stones, and offer the hand of friendship.

Speaking of which, I will get off my high horse now. :-)