The older I get in my faith and the more knowledge I acquire about God, the more I truly begin to think about the true meaning of the love from Christ and the less I know about everything in general. I do not profess myself wiser in knowing about things of the world, but I do know that somehow God is transforming my heart and causing me to really think about things of this world in a new light. These are few things that really have pulled on my heart strings as a Christian and I want to share them with you, maybe you struggle too.
Heart Tugger #1: The Shootings in Colorado @ the Batman movie premiere.
I can not even begin to comprehend what went on in the mind of the people who were sitting in the theater, when that broken, damaged man came in and open fired on those innocent people. My husband and I went to see Dark Knight Rising and when the movie began, I kid you not I stopped breathing for a moment and looked at the EXIT signs in the movie theater, my heart raced and I imagined for a brief moment- what would I do had I been there? What thoughts would have ran through my mind? How would I respond? Or even how would I have responded if my children were in that theater watching that movie? As a parent- what fear would have gripped my heart? But then I also wonder what would cause another human so much turmoil in his own head, that he thought this was something he needed to do? What broke in this murder, that caused him to go over the edge and take others lives? What evil causes a person to behave like that? I realize while the rest of the world is angry and demanding justice- I am asking an odd question- but I wonder, I really do.
Heart Tugger #2: The Shooting of the Sikh People during their worship.
This was shortly after the first incident, but it didn't nearly make the headlines or cause the controversy that the Batman premiere did. Again another broken, damaged man walked into a Sikh temple and open fired on the people as they worshiped- as they worshiped. Just typing this makes my soul heavy. When I went to church the following Sunday I sat there and I thought to myself, what keeps a wounded soul from coming into our church today and not shooting us all up? What is to prevent that from happening? And the answer is this: Nothing, nothing keeps a person from walking into my church on any given Sunday, with a bomb strapped to their chest, from blowing us up because we believe in a God who they don't recognize. I will also add that I was deeply ashamed by my own Christian community who failed to reach out to the Sikh people, like the Colorado people and offer them up in prayer or offer to assist them during their time of grief. I wondered, why? Was it because they worshiped a different God? Was it because they didn't share our faith? and I started to get angry because I thought, after all aren't they still God's children?
Heart Tugger #3: A certain denomination of church who proclaims to be Christians (who I will not name because I don't want to draw attention to them)
This is not new news, in fact this particular group has been around a very long time. They are, in my opinion, very comparable to the KKK, only they proclaim to be Christians. This group protest outside soldiers funerals during families times of grief- proclaiming their child died for an America that God hates and that is why their child died- because God is punishing them for defending our country. They picket all around the US using hateful hurtful signs- like God hates fags (which is even in their websites title). They feel very strongly about the gay community and they have no issue spouting out their rhetoric and self- righteous judgement upon anyone and everyone. My cousin sent me a message the other day, asking my opinion on this particular topic and how I felt about this group. She said they were coming to her small town to picket a soldiers funeral. I can't help but shake my head and bow it in shame-I think to myself what if Jesus were here today and he witnessed these people doing what they do, what would he think? The Jesus I know did not preach hateful messages, he did not condemn anyone- in fact the very opposite-because we should all be condemned for our sins- he choose to die for our sins, freeing us from that condemnation. He is the very definition of true love- and yet these poor lost "christians" have forgotten that message. Sadly, I fear they are spreading hatred and even more dissension towards true Christians. This is what the world sees and this is how we are judged.
Heart Tugger #4: The Homosexual Community
My husband and I are licensed foster parents in the State of Ohio, and we spent the spring taking classes with other people who desired to be foster parents. Some of those people were gay and lesbian couples. This is something I have been going back and forth in my mind about- over and over, struggling with what I know to be true. Here is my struggle a child (or children) is taken from a home because it is not a safe environment for the child. One can not assume that it is drug and alcohol related, because one thing I have learned is it can be for a variety of reasons- some beyond the parent's control, such as serious illness and they are unable to care for their child and they have no one else to do it, job loss to the point where they are unable to provide for their family and are forced into this alternative, homelessness- again not because of a choice but due to life's issues and circumstances, death of a parent or caretaker. Fostering is not for broken children- it's for broken families. Families who need someone to step in and share God's love with these children- to provide them shelter, to provide a home and love, to provide a temporary solace while their parents or caretakers work to get their lives back together.
Now I understand there are some children who are in homes due to drug use, domestic violence-etc. but those children above all need a safe home to stay in. These poor babies need stability and security. Recently we were asked to provide respite (temporary care) for a foster family who was going on vacation and were unable to take the child with them. It just so happens that the foster family was a lesbian couple, who were also in the process of adopting a child through the agency- while fostering two other children. It was here that I was challenged as a Christian. Lesbian couple's fostering and adopting children, where did my beliefs fall in this area? I could sit here and tell you all the things I know the bible says about it, but I can also tell you all the things the bible says about sin period. Homosexuality is a sin, but so is over eating, so is shopping addictions, so is hoarding, so is pornography, so is alcoholism, so is gambling, so is slander, so is gossip, so is malice, rage, envy and deceit. I have been allowed to raise children even though I am obese- is it wrong to not allow two women to foster children and give them a safe home because of their sin? Is it wrong to allow them to provide safety, security and love for a child because of their personal sexual preference? I ask because I am asking...I am seeking...
God says to love the sinner and hate the sin. Sin is sin- I personally do not believe in levels of sin. I have not found proof in the bible that there is one sin greater than the next, other than blaspheming and denying God. I am not to judge mankind, yet the above heart tugging statements make me question and wonder so many things about our world.
What would Jesus do?
How would Jesus handle the guy in Colorado after the shooting? I imagine if the shooter stood before Jesus and recognized who He was- he would fall to his knees and beg His forgiveness. I believe this man's weeping would be so loud that the whole world would hear it....I believe Jesus has a broken heart, I believe it angered Him and saddened Him what happened in Colorado- but it also angered Him and saddened Him at what happened in the life of the shooter to make him that way in the first place. I believe my Jesus would embrace the Colorado shooter and forgive Him. I believe Jesus would be able to bring about this man's repentance without hateful hurtful condemning words- because no where in my bible does it say Jesus dealt with the sinners like that. Many a murderer existed and was forgiven by Jesus- look at the life of Paul, Jesus own apostle, who killed the Christians. Jesus changed him forever- why wouldn't He do the same for this broken man?
How would Jesus handle the shootings at the Sikh Temple? I imagine the shooter facing the same Jesus as the Colorado shooter- and then I see my Jesus wrapping his arms around the Sikh people and comforting them. I see Him reaching out to these people, and they become drawn to Him- drawn to His love- drawn to His kindness, drawn to His compassion. They want to know this Jesus...this Jesus who wept with them during their time of loss.
How would Jesus handle the people who are affiliated with that certain church? (John 8:7-10) I imagine my Jesus being in front of the crowd when they are shouting hateful things. He then leans down to write in the dirt and stands before the condemners and says "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone" and again stoops down to write in the dirt. Slowly I see the signs of the self-righteous being thrown to the ground. One by one the protesters walk away, and where hatred and anger and rage existed- there is now Jesus' peace and holiness.
How would Jesus handle the homosexual couples who are fostering? (James 1:27) Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and keep onself from being polluted by the world; (Psalm 82:3) Defend the weak and the fatherless. Would He approve of their lifestyle? No...Would he shout hateful words at them and chastise them like the church did? Would he not love them like the murders in Colorado and Milwaukee? My Jesus has the power to change with love and kindness, again I believe when face to face with the Lord- any sinner would repent. We all fall short-we are all full of sin...but next to Jesus how could we not be changed?
So if we are Christians, how do we represent who Jesus is? How do we hold still to our beliefs in what the WORD says and live our lives? If you took a quick survey and asked others- how does the world see Christians? What would they say???
Now take another survey but this time ask this question;
How do you think the world sees you? Do they know you are a Christian by your love or by something else?