This week, my Facebook news feed has been a bit confusing. I’ve had a hard time telling who’s who.
A few of my friends’ profile pictures have turned into this:
Far more of my friends’ profile pictures turned into this:
My week has been pretty crazy, and I haven’t had the emotional energy to get caught up in a controversial Facebook debate. I will say this, though. Some of my Christian friends have expressed their deeply-held beliefs with love and compassion and what I perceive to be an attempt at gentleness. Other professing Christians have appeared rather compassionless and intent on pushing their agenda of being right. Those people’s Facebook posts have made me wince and cringe.
To be honest, it has hurt my heart. Because I know those quick comments and bumper-sticker slogans have hurt my gay friends. And for some of my friends who have felt bullied and belittled their whole lives, weeks like this bring up all sorts of emotional garbage. And I don’t think Jesus is glorified any time His followers participate in something that feels like bullying or belittling.
I don’t necessarily agree with all Walter Wink says, but I can agree with this quote —
The fact is that there is, behind the legal tenor of Scripture, an even deeper tenor, articulated by Israel out of the experience of the Exodus and brought to sublime embodiment in Jesus’ identification with harlots, tax collectors, the diseased and maimed and outcast and poor. It is that God sides with the powerless, God liberates the oppressed, God suffers with the suffering and groans toward the reconciliation of all things. In the light of that supernal compassion, whatever our position on gays, the gospel’s imperative to love, care for, and be identified with their sufferings is unmistakably clear.
When we are faced with controversy and debates about what the Bible says or doesn’t say, I want to err on the side of showing too much love and mercy — especially if the controversy is about someone else’s sin. Or whether or not what someone else is doing is a sin.
And if I believe I have figured out or happened upon or discovered The Truth – and, to be honest, I believe The Truth found me – then I want this Truth to transform me from the inside-out. I don’t want this Truth to be a weapon I use to bludgeon those who disagree with me; I don’t want this Truth to be a manipulative tactic to get others to behave the way I want them to; I don’t want this Truth to be an excuse for bullying those who are different than I am.
This week, I commemorate the Truth that Jesus’ love and sacrifice is offered for ALL of us. I celebrate His resurrection. I celebrate that LIFE defeats DEATH, that LOVE defeats HATE, that MERCY defeats SIN.
I celebrate GRACE because in His great love and mercy, Jesus did for you and me what we could never do for ourselves. And He offers His GRACE to all of us, whatever our Facebook profile picture is.