Very early yesterday morning, long before anyone arrived at the church for worship, I was walking out of the sanctuary and noticed a reflection in the little window in the door of the back of the church. I took a picture and put it on Facebook. I know everyone thought it was a picture from outside the sanctuary looking in toward the front. It was actually a picture from the inside looking out and what you see in the glass is a reflection. It only worked because it was dark outside.
I’m going to make a leap, as I often do in my blogs, to Jesus. This picture reminds me that we, as His followers, are to be a reflection of Him. And I think all of His followers would agree that to be like Jesus means we need to love everyone. And up to this point, you’re all with me and loving today’s post. Now is when some of you will begin to get uncomfortable. Some of His followers are of the opinion that loving everyone means that we accept everyone’s behavior, never talking about sin in specific terms, never being confrontational, and claiming Jesus is one of many ways. Ironically, the only ones that people with that view confront are the others who talk about sin in specific terms, who call sin what it is, who call sinners to repentance, and who claim Jesus is the only way to receive forgiveness.
Speaking as one who preaches of our need to repent of our sin and be changed, I can tell you that I wish I just had to be like “huggy Jesus”, showing love exclusively through acceptance. I get no joy out of proclaiming the correction part. But Jesus also showed love through correction. And people hated Him for it. And in His own words, He said that the world would hate us. Society doesn’t hate the churches who allow anything and everything and who proclaim that your way is OK and my way is OK, too. However, to be like Jesus, I believe we must love by accepting and pointing to the repentance and correction that the Bible says is necessary only through Jesus. And it’s not even like we can change on our own, but only through the power of the Holy Spirit when we allow Him to change us.
I want to reflect both sides of Jesus’ love – the grace that all are loved and welcome, and the truth that God loves you as you are, but does not wish for you to continue in your sin (nor me in mine), and Jesus is necessary to be reconciled to God. And some people will be grateful and turn from their sin and turn to Jesus; and others will not want to hear it and will hate me for saying it. And it’s always been that way and will continue to be until Jesus comes back. But as time goes on, there are just fewer and fewer of us willing to be hated.