Wednesday, July 07, 2010

They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love

All too often we Christians are known more for the things we dislike rather than the love we show. Even though Jesus told his first followers that they would be known by their love (John 13:35), the self-professed followers of Christ that many times get the most attention are those that are anything but loving.

It seems to be the angry, self-righteous folks that get all the attention while the meek and humble that quietly serve others go unnoticed. But it is encouraging to know that some believers in Christ think that love is more powerful than hate and that grace will win more people than guilt.

A gay pride parade was recently held in Chicago and a small group of a few dozen Christians decided that they would attempt to demonstrate at the parade. This group, however, went with the motivation of love and weren't driven by hate. They wore t-shirts that said "I'm Sorry" and attempted to show some remorse for how the gay community has been treated by so many Christians.

Tim Schraeder shares more details about the parade on his blog and provides a link to a story told by Nathan Marin, a leader in the Marin Foundation (the organization that led the unique demonstration). Here's the story from Nathan:
"What I loved most about the day is when people “got it.” I loved watching people’s faces as they saw our shirts, read the signs, and looked back at us. Responses were incredible. Some people blew us kisses, some hugged us, some screamed thank you. A couple ladies walked up and said we were the best thing they had seen all day. I wish I had counted how many people hugged me. One guy in particular softly said, “Well, I forgive you.”

Watching people recognize our apology brought me to tears many times. It was reconciliation personified.

My favorite though was a gentleman who was dancing on a float. He was dressed solely in white underwear and had a pack of abs like no one else. As he was dancing on the float, he noticed us and jokingly yelled, “What are you sorry for? It’s pride!” I pointed to our signs and watched him read them.

Then it clicked.

Then he got it.

He stopped dancing. He looked at all of us standing there. A look of utter seriousness came across his face. And as the float passed us he jumped off of it and ran towards us. In all his sweaty beautiful abs of steal, he hugged me and whispered, “thank you.”

Before I had even let go, another guy ran up to me, kissed me on the cheek, and gave me the biggest bear hug ever. I almost had the wind knocked out of me; it was one of those hugs.

This is why I do what I do. This is why I will continue to do what I do. Reconciliation was personified.

I think a lot of people would stop at the whole “man in his underwear dancing” part. That seems to be the most controversial. It’s what makes the evening news. It’s the stereotype most people have in their minds about Pride.

Sadly, most Christians want to run from such a sight rather than engage it. Most Christian won't even learn if that person dancing in his underwear has a name. Well, he does. His name is Tristan.

However, I think Jesus would have hugged him too. It’s exactly what I read throughout scripture: Jesus hanging out with people that religious people would flee from. Correlation between then and now? I think so."
We don't have to agree with the choices that people make in order to love them. And many in the gay community possess deep wounds from Christians and the Church that has led them away from a relationship with God. Unfortunately, we all fail in our hope to love others well. I know that I'm not consistent in my desire to love others as Christ does and I'm guessing that you're probably the same way. But as we yield to God's Spirit in our lives, He gives us the ability to love others in ways that we are unable to in our own strength.

Hate has never changed the world but God's love will. We don't have to compromise our convictions in order to be loving. Jesus was more committed to truth than you or I, yet he never wavered in His love for the broken and hurting. As a follower of Him, I hope that I can live the same kind of life that is more characterized by love than anything else. I frequently fall short of that goal but I will continue to pursue loving others just as Christ has loved me.

(h/t to Keith Battle for the link to the article.)

10 comments:

Kristin said...

beautiful

Kaye said...

Sometimes my response to something I read is to wish that I had written it. The first line of this post is one of those times. "All to often we are known..." That idea has been mulling around in my mind & you state it so well. As I read on, I wished I had written the whole article. *grin* I've been following the story of the "I'm sorry" campaign with great interest.

Thanks for yet another challenging post, Scott.

scottcrocker said...

Thanks for the comments, Kaye and Kristin.

chasong said...

Hello there,

I’m currently wrapping up a study of the end-times on my blog, Reflections on the Christ, at http://chasong.blogspot.com.

There’s been talk of guillotines being imported into the United States and other scary bits of news.

However, I am discussing about them from a prophetic point of view and hoping to stimulate more research and personal study of God’s word and the end times.

If you have the time, feel free to drop by, express your thoughts, and maybe even shed some light for others who come by. I’d be honoured.

Keep shining.

Cheers

Anonymous said...

Hi Scott,
Your words really impacted me and I quoted part of this post at a recent even held for an organisation of many local churches. Others there were also impacted by your words and suggested that I print a copy to hand out. I am not sure if that is OK with you / copyright so would like your permission before I do that. Thanks for your insight. Fiona

scottcrocker said...

Thank you for your kind words, Fiona. That is fine with me to print off the post and distribute to whomever may like it. I just ask that you include my name and the web address of my blog. God bless.

Scott <><

Anonymous said...

Thanks Scott,
I referenced you and "Crocker Chronicle" for my oral presentation and will add your blog address for the handout. I am only reproducing the last part starting ... "as we yield to God's spirit.." and through to the end. My audience thought it was a poem. It was uplifting and thought provoking for all. I am sure they will appreciate the link. Kind regards Fiona

Minister Marlene said...

What a tremendous blessing your post is for me today. We should be very sorry for shunning the groups we shun and I know the Lord is pleased with the" I'm sorry" campaign. I had not heard of it. Thanks so much for posting this for us. I will have to do a report on this at my Triond.com/Minister Marlene blog.

The Lord Jesus delivered me from a homosexual life style. I had a history of abuse, all I needed was the church to show the love of Christ. Sadly, at the time that love was not shown. I was strong enough to seek God's love for myself. But not everyone in that life is able to do the same. How on earth can they hear the gospel unless we let all in to hear with loving arms.

Beautiful post my brother, you have made my day! God bless you brother Scott. This is a blog I will follow.

Minister Marlene said...

Beautiful post! The" I'm sorry campaign" is a bondage breaking movement!

scottcrocker said...

Thank you so much for your gracious words, Marlene. I appreciate it!

Scott