A few years ago, my friend Dr. Dave Sutter gave me a copy of Rosaria Butterfield’s book, The Gospel Comes with a House Key.[i] I was about a third of the way into it and was CHALLENGING. (Thanks Dr. Dave!)
After reading something Rosaria wrote, I was going to write a Victory Call about how we – our nation, our world- think that by redefining our reality to fit our own thinking, passions and desires that we are more truly ourselves. Our culture has shifted from God-centered, God-defined personhood in which we are ALL created in God’s image TO self-centered, self-defined personhood in which we are who WE say we are. We live in a post-Christian time.
Even as I was considering what to write, God showed me that I missed Rosaria’s primary point[ii] and that as those loved, forgiven and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, we are called to genuinely love others to draw them towards Jesus.
Yes, we live in a culture that has shifted from truth to a lie, deeply deceived by the father of lies, BUT none-the-less we are called to live, model and express God’s love to others, believers and non-believers and not just in word. “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18
There are those non-believers that are easy to love and to delightfully engage with. Then there are those non-believers that hold fast to beliefs that are contrary to God, to His word, and to beliefs that we hold dear. They may be antagonistic, argumentative, and flaunt their individuality in ways that we find offensive. To them we are judgmental, critical, narrow-minded, and flaunt our outdated religious beliefs in ways they find offensive.
This led to the question I whispered to God: LORD, HOW do I love those that are so different than I? HOW do I love those whose life-styles are offensive to me? HOW Lord, How? Does this question resonate in your spirit?
My precious child, remember before I redeemed you by the blood of My own Son, remember your life-style was sinful, grievous, and offensive to Me. “…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 While you were still sinning, living in darkness as My enemy, I rescued you. I loved you. I saved you. I redeemed you. I chose you. Your redemption, your salvation, your adoption is ALL ME, not you. Remember you were far off and I have brought you near. You were part of the kingdom of darkness and I brought you into the kingdom of light. You were hell-bound, I claimed you for heaven. You deserved My wrath, I exhausted My wrath against My Son on your behalf.
Sister, how shall we respond? Shall we respond with pride and arrogance being judgmental and critical OR shall we respond with gratitude and humility embracing those who need the same Savior we do, with the love and acceptance of God empowered by His Holy Spirit? How will we ever have an opportunity to speak truth into other’s lives if they do not see and experience that love and truth in us first? This is not something we can fake. Judgement and a critical spirit will surface in so many ways that we will never really control. We need Jesus to change us, change our hearts, and infuse us with His love for people – the easy ones and the hard ones.
O Lord. Forgive me for being unloving in so many ways. Give me Your love for others. Change what needs changing in my own critical, judgmental heart, selfish, proud heart.
Yes, we live in a post-Christian world BUT Jesus Christ has risen; He is alive and continues to rule and reign not just on the earth but the entire universe. His divine plan and purpose is moving forward and His end game cannot be thwarted. Amen.
Written by Diane Hunt: Diane Hunt serves on the board of America’s Keswick and is the Executive Director & CEO of Changed Choices, a Christian non-profit in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at email@example.com.