Growing up, my view of Christianity was kind of outwardly focused. I would say that I, at least partially, defined who and what I was by how others acted. If someone cursed, did drugs, slept around or got divorced I pursed my lips and thanked God I wasn’t like them. I wanted to save people from their crappy lifestyles, not to reconcile them to Love himself.
We really, really want to fix people. We believe it’s our sacred duty to warn everyone, believer and unbeliever alike, that they aren’t doing it right and they should immediately change. I’m not exempting myself from this either. I would feel extremely guilty if I didn’t say something (or at least frown) when someone was doing something unseemly in my presence. But here’s some good news (or annoying news, depending on your position): you don’t have to straighten every crooked picture you find.
Morals are Important, But Not Alone
It’s okay (and even Christian) to be opposed to certain things. There are simply ways that aren’t loving to live. I should choose not to live in, and trust God to keep me from, such unloving ways. But my job isn’t to make sure some non-Christian doesn’t live those ways. I don’t see Jesus spreading the good news of good deeds. I see him spreading the message of reconciliation, where a life of love and pursuant acts of love bloom.
When I look at Jesus and the way he lived, I see a life of pure love without boundaries, and purpose (seeking those in need of a resurrection from the dead, not the walking dead who blindly considered themselves moral professionals, by which they refused his help) and ended his life with the ultimate act of love. A perfect God, rejected and hated by his own creation, came running to our rescue anyway.
The Grace of John McClane Be Wth You
It would be like John McClane walking through broken glass, crawling through air conditioning ducts and facing countless battles in Nakatomi Plaza to save Hans Gruber. Alice refusing escape back through the looking glass to care for the hateful Red Queen. The White Whale giving his life for Ahab. Edmond Dantes spending all his innocent years in prison plotting how to bless his false accusers.
And that’s only a dim reflection of the truth. It’s laughing forgiveness in the face of a spray of assassin’s bullets; a finely wrapped box filled with all the peace in the world held out to crowds flinging feces. And we want to judge. We want to think we have the right, and that anyone can be our true enemies, unworthy of our affections, owing us a thousand moral dollars when we’ve been forgiven a debt of a gajillion.
I want to be that kind of love. That’s how I want to live every moment. That’s who I want God to make me—like Him.