What If?

What if Christians were followers of Jesus Christ? I know this may sound ridiculous, but bear with me. I live and serve in a city that is on the upswing, but has far to go. There are issues in our schools, poverty is rampant, inadequate healthcare for the poorest is a reality, and there are groups trying to make life better for so many people in Greenville, yet when they ask for help, or try to mobilize churches, nothing happens. crickets. But yet, when the city council votes to recognize June 26th as LGBTQ Equality Day, the folks come out of the woodwork and start mobilizing and holding meetings to let their thoughts known. Now, I don’t want this to be about LGBTQ persons or equality day per se, but I do want to point out a few things.

What if we, as Christians, got as passionate about adequate healthcare for the many children living in poverty without access to healthcare as we do about a non-binding resolution that is celebrated around the country?

What if we, as Christians, got as passionate about flood relief and recovery in Washington county and rallied together to rebuild some houses as we do about going to city council meetings to do nothing more than shout our disagreements at the mayor and city council?

What if we, as Christians, lived by the words of Jesus to love our neighbors as ourselves, instead of throwing stones at “sinners” whom we believe to be against the will of God?

What if we, as Christians, followed Christ’s example to extend ourselves beyond our own comfort zones in reaching out to the least, the last, the lost, instead of separating ourselves from those we do not understand or even want to understand?

What if we, as Christians, stood up for Jesus by not shouting what we are against, but by living by the example of Jesus Christ to not cast stones, to welcome the outcast, to heal the wounded, to make sure everyone has enough, to love our neighbors as ourselves (without qualifications), to pray for our enemies, to seek justice and equity, to cross the boundaries that were created to separate us?

For you see, Jesus never said, 
“Love the sinner, hate the sin.” or, “To stand up for me, you must go to this townhall that calls sin a sin.” or, “Let he who is a sinner throw stones at everyone else.” or, “They will know we are Christians by the way in which we judge others.” or “Judge them all, they all deserve hell.”

But Jesus did say, 
“Love your enemies.” Matthew 5:43–42

“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” 
Matthew 7:12

“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” 
Matthew 22:36–40

“For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” 
Matthew 23:12

“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. ”
Matthew 7:1–5

Jesus said a lot of things, but it seems to me that so many of us have lost sight of the words of Christ. I don’t think it is because we don’t love God, through Christ, but I do think it is because it is so much easier to be against someone or something than it is to actually live like Jesus lived and to love like Jesus loved.

They will know we are Christians by our love! Not our hate. Not our morals. Not our political affiliation. Not our orientations. Not our nationalities. Not our gender identities. Not our rightness. No! The will know we are Christians by our love.

What if? What if we lived by that law of love and the example of Jesus Christ? Our world would be a much better place.

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