Jesus went into the darkest places and the lowest parts of society. He talked with people everyone else would have avoided. He chose fishermen—a lowly, unimpressive trade—to be His disciples.
The woman at the well had multiple husbands, but He didn’t look down on her. Instead He told her who He was and is. He chose a tax collector to be one of his disciples and a young girl from the middle of nowhere to be his earthly mother. Jesus died for the sinner, He came for the lowly, He loves those society labels dirty.
That is what I strive to be like in my life. I strive to be the person that you can ask the questions that you can’t ask anywhere else, a place where you don’t have to only use “Christian” language, a place that welcomes all with Christ-like love. Because that’s what Jesus did. And shouldn’t we all? It is definitely something worth striving for.
But how often do we shut ourselves away from the gritty parts of life and the people that make us uncomfortable?
Do You Have a Fake Cleanliness?
Think about it: is your church a place where someone could walk in and be vulnerable about past failures or current struggles? Maybe a past abortion or current struggles with same-sex attraction? Or a battle with addiction or pornography?
What about you? Sometimes it can be easier for us to stick to “Christian-y” language and censor other things out. There’s nothing wrong with having your speech full of encouragement, Scripture, and biblical truth. In fact, that’s very good. That’s not the Christian language I’m talking about.
What I am talking about is when it becomes fake, or when we prevent others from speaking because they don’t fill their speech with the correct Christian catch-phrases. That’s when there’s a problem.
It can be harder to talk about the deeper things, or to hear someone else talk about them. It’s difficult to bridge the gap from surface fluff to the deeper heart struggles we all face. It’s so much more natural to push the harder things to the side and focus on what’s easier.
But people need to realize that the gospel can handle their deepest struggles and worst failures. How will they realize that, if we, the bearers of the good news, don’t take the time to listen and understand their struggles and failures? We can’t stop people from asking the hard questions, but rather we should encourage them to. Questions like: Am I going to hell? Why does God allow pain? Why didn’t God save my loved one? What does God say about my sexuality? Can God forgive my deepest sins?
A God Big Enough for Our Problems
Don’t stop others from being real and honest about their problems. And don’t stop yourself from being real either. Hebrews 4:16 encourages us to bring all our baggage to Christ, knowing that He offers mercy and grace: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
God wants all to be able to come to Him. 1 Timothy 2 tells us that He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” He extends His invitation to any and everyone no matter their opinions, views, backgrounds, country, or anything else.
God is not afraid of our deep, dark secrets or our impossible questions. So we shouldn’t be either. He is not a God who separates Himself from the mess. He stepped into it to pull us out.
Christianity is not a religion full of perfect people, it is a Gospel filled with broken people who have been redeemed. It is not an exclusive club, it is a welcoming home for all.
Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave[a] nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
In other words, there is no left or right, no democrat or republican, no black or white, no superior or inferior, no rich or poor, no better or worse. There are only people, created uniquely and loved infinitely by the God who came to save them.
Mark 2:17 “And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Come Broken, Become Changed
Christ came for the sick. We all have sin-sick souls that require His healing. That doesn’t mean we should just accept anything or everything and expose ourselves to sin. What we dwell on affects our hearts greatly. Loving as Christ loves doesn’t mean ignoring real sin issues or affirming every lifestyle or mindset, but confronting sin with the news that grace is greater and that Jesus died to redeem those sins.
We can’t live a Christianity that is exclusively for the perfect and those without broken pasts, because in reality no one is truly perfect. Christianity is for the hard questions, the dark pasts, the shattered dreams, and the broken sinners.
Jesus wants to welcome that transgender person, that person with the criminal record, the one everyone else considered too far gone, the one forgotten, and all who are lost. He wants the person who annoys you and the one you disagree with. He wants to welcome them and begin the process of transforming their hearts and minds to reflect His perfection.
He welcomes the broken, but the amazing part is that with the power of Christ, we don’t continue to live in our brokenness, but are healed by the power of His shed blood. He takes the shattered pieces of our sin-flawed humanity and restores and transforms us.
One day the transformation will be complete, when we stand before Him clothed in Christ’s righteousness, but until then He keeps working, accepting our brokenness but not being content with leaving us that way. He changes us because His plan is better and sin doesn’t have to enslave us.One day the transformation will be complete, when we stand before Him clothed in Christ’s righteousness, but until then He keeps working, accepting our brokenness but not being content with leaving us that way. Click To Tweet
He came for the bully and the bullied, the broken and the one to blame. Each and every person He created He wants to redeem. Don’t stop anyone from coming to Him, instead point them to Him.
And don’t stop yourself from coming to Him either. He wants you as you are, and He knows the real you so you don’t have to hide from Him. He already knows every dark secret and hidden pain, and He still loves you more than you could ever know.
God’s love is too powerful and deep and vast and wide to be censored. His grace is too uncontainable and true and wonderful to be censored. The message of the Gospel is too free and moving and life changing to be censored. So don’t censor it, let all come freely to the arms of the Father.
I know, Sometimes it can be easier for us to stick to “Christian-y” language and censor other things out. Censorship of the Bible includes restrictions and prohibition of possessing, reading, or using the Bible in general or any particular translation of it.