Don't get me wrong. I'm a sinner. I'm human and that's kind of what we do. I make bad decisions on the regular and I don't always behave in a Christ-like way. Sometimes I blatantly ignore that whole WWJD thing and do things my way instead. That's called freewill. God gave us that privilege fully aware that we would screw it up from time to time. And boy do I ever. But, for the most part, I make a conscious effort to be a good person. And, the way I see it, being a good person starts with how I treat others.
But then there are the times that something bothers me so deep into my core that I feel like I'm doing myself a disservice by not speaking up. So I'm going to do just that.
There's lots of talk around the globe right now about discrimination. It's an age-old problem, really. For generations people have endured discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex...you name it. Most recently the hype is in regards to homosexuality.
The people supporting this type of discrimination use "religious freedom" as their reasoning.
Religious freedom? This has consumed my thoughts lately because I cannot wrap my head around it.
I'm a Christian.
Like many words in the English language, Christian can be used as both a noun and an adjective.
According to Merriam-Webster "Christian" is defined as the following:
: A person who believes in the teachings of Jesus Christ
: of or relating to Jesus Christ or the religion based on his teachings
: of, relating to, or being Christians
: treating other people in a kind and generous way
Hmmmm. Perhaps I am missing something, but it appears that if I choose to discriminate against another human being, I am contradicting THE VERY THING I am using as my excuse to do so.
I feel like simple definitions should be enough to prove my point, but perhaps not. So I'll take it a step further.
People love to quote the bible to support their stance on this one, so I'll do the same. Let's pretend I'm someone who feels at liberty to pass judgment on others and one day I find myself at heaven's gates.
God: Well, hello. Welcome to Heaven.
Me: Hi! I'm sooooo happy to be here!
God: Well, I've got your file here and you've got a few things to explain before entering paradise.
God: It looks to me like you spent a considerable amount of your time on earth judging others.
Me: Ummmm....well, only people that I decided weren't living right. But, I decided that because of some things I read in the Bible.
God: Oh? Well, if you're so versed in the Bible, I must ask...did you read the whole thing?
Me: Ummmm...well, for the most part.
God: Great! Because in that case you know how I feel about judging others. I believe it's Matthew 7:1-5 that says "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."
Do you remember that part?
Do you remember that part?
God: Do you know that I love you?
Me: Of course I do!
God: Even though you're a sinner.
Me: Uh-huh. That's why you sent Jesus to die on the cross.
God: Right. So, you must also know that I love everyone. And you remember that I commanded that you must also love one another, right?
God: Right. Because you know...the Bible. Which means you know that John 15:12 says, "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."
God: Did you by any chance use your Christianity as a reason to behave the way you have behaved? Remember, I already know the answer so think about that.
God: Well, that doesn't make very much sense to me.
Me: Why not?
God: Do you love me?
Me: Of course!
God: Well, if that is true, and it is true that you follow the Bible, and your life's intention was to be a Christian, then I would think you would have put some consideration into John 4:20 that says, "If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen."
God: Can you explain yourself?
Me: I was self-righteous.
God: And you know how I feel about that, right?
Me: *sigh* I do. Romans 10:3? "For being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness."
God: Very good! Now you're getting it. It seems to me that all this time you've behaved as if you could do my job better than me.
God: But you knew this was going to happen. It's later in Romans that says, "Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will ALL stand before the judgment seat of God."
Me: I'm sorry. I'm so, so, sorry.
And that's a conversation I'd just rather not have.