What if we're wrong?

I get so frustrated by the “saved vs. lost” conversation in Christian circles.

It occurs to me that we are all lost.

We are all sexually broken, have our addictions, our coping mechanisms, our vanities…and yet, a lot of our conversation sounds so much like the man in the temple whose prayer Jesus was disappointed in…”Thank God I am not like this sinner.”

Ours aren’t exactly the same. They have different variations. “Thank God I am not ___(gay, performing abortions, an alcoholic, Hindu, etc.)_____. But the heart behind it is the same.

And I think if we were to be truly honest, we’d have to admit that we want it to be an exclusive club. Like Jonah, we don’t want God to save the world. Because, we believe our efforts wouldn’t be rewarded. Like the older brother in Matthew, we have little use for prodigals.

And so we make rules. And we measure. And we come up with these crazy systems for determining who is out and who is in. Doctrinal lines are drawn and debated so that we know for sure that we are in the "us" that is saving "them".

This week, I learned that a really cool woman who spent 15 years as a pastor’s wife considers herself atheist. And, I get why. People in Christian circles aren’t honest about their lostness. Heck, do you think John and I got to twenty plus years of marriage without catastrophic wrongs against each other? That we’ve skipped merrily along in utter bliss? Guys, the divorce rate among Christians is the exact same as the rest of the world because of lostness.

These divisions aren’t unique to Christians, by the way. Try driving an SUV in Portland or grabbing a muffin that might have egg in it when you are vegan.

The thing is being honest about our prejudices, pride, lies, sexual brokenness, and addictions doesn't mean that they define us. The beauty of the story of the Bible is that there is so much more to us than that. All of the heroes are flawed. All of them. Eve. Noah. Abraham. Sarah. Moses. Peter. Paul.

What if God doesn’t zap us perfect when we turn to Him because then there would be no parity? John Brooks quoted, “God’s strength is made perfect in weakness.” Then aptly added, “ And we hate weakness.”

And here we are. Unbelievable messes. We hide it so that we can hang onto the measuring stick. The “us vs. them” because the picture we’ve painted of the saving love of Jesus Christ has somehow zoomed in on the saving instead of the love. And, “Oh yeah, Jesus. Here. I can help You with that.”

What if the measuring stick were about the love instead of the saving? The “Love is not boastful?” or “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” What about “love your enemies?” Anyone signing up to send a Valentines Day card to BinLaden? What about Bush?

If love is what we measured, I wonder how we’d do.

One thing is for sure, the snotty bumper stickers would have to go. And possibly much of this blog post.


D Herrod said...

If love were the measuring stick we would see other humans as God does. Through his comprehensible love God gave us the very costly gift of salvation. In the sermon this morning our pastor made an observation that greatest commandant is to love God. The 2nd greatest is to love others. If we really love God then we will show his love to those who are lost, hurting, isolated, cut off -- the outcasts.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this post. Lot of thought behind it...Supermom Dad

RandomCathy said...

Supermom Dad! I am honored you read my blog. I know I live half a world away, but I've loved reading your daughter's story. She is an incredible woman...which as you probably already know speaks volumes about you as a father.

BA said...

Just found this posting and once again, you make me think. I like that.

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Maira Gall