What I saw and heard made my heart hurt. Back-biting, gossip, whispers and snickers at the expense of someone just across the table, snide comments about people not present, to name a few.
At one point, a very friendly (and highly inebriated) couple wandered our way. I watched as the circle around the table closed in on itself - not literally pulling their chairs in, but just as blatantly turning their heads toward one another in avoidance. A couple of the men at the table engaged in conversation with the young couple, discovering that it was their wedding night and they were out celebrating. I overheard someone murmur (about the men talking to them), "Don't feed the animals." The ache in my heart grew.
Momentarily, righteous anger stirred inside me. Is it any wonder that society in general finds Christians to be judgemental and hypocritical? I'm not saying we all are all the time. But surely each one of us has been at one time or another.
But just a quickly I felt a pin prick in my spirit that deflated my self-righteous attitude. Are my conversations with good, Christian friends any different than what I was witness to here? Don't I, too, respond with avoidance, judgement, and fear when approached by people I don't understand?
I don't want to be the kind of Christian that proves an angry, God-hating society right. Rather, I want to be a true Jesus-girl, loving as He did (and still does).
Jesus, to the woman caught in adultery, said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go now, and leave your life of sin." (John 8:3-11) He hung out with partiers, thieves, adulterers, and all sorts of sinners. (Matthew 9:10-13, Luke 7:34) Jesus would rather offer love, grace, forgiveness, and hope than judgement. He would rather be condemned and ridiculed for associating with society's reprobates than be proclaimed "holier-than-thou" based on the company He keeps. Jesus is socially promiscuous.*
I hugged a homosexual once.
I told him of my love.
A love that flows from deep within,
And it's a love from God above.
Although I am not gay myself
I surely must confess, that
Though I don't agree with him
I love him nonetheless.
I ate lunch with a prostitute.
From her I would not buy.
And though the world just shook its head,
I simply asked her, "Why?"
More than myself I loved this girl.
More than my very life.
Forgetting all that she had done
I looked beyond her strife.
I kissed a politician's baby.
I let him kiss mine, too!
I will not likely vote for him -
I do not share his views.
But no matter what he says or does,
No matter if he wins,
No matter if he ruins my life,
I pledge my love to him.
I say, "I'm not a perfect man,
And I've nearly sinned my fill."
And God who knows all things about me
Says that He loves me still.
God loves my soul, a soul so black.
And I know this much is true -
God loves every other soul
No matter what they do.
*Quote courtesty of and poem written by our guest pastor last Sunday, Rob Chartrand of Crosspoint Church.