So many aspects of Christianity get forgotten by too many Christians–usually those with a camera on them, unfortunately. I’ve recently talked about these aspects under the banner of S.A.F.E. Christians. S for Secure–You can come to me without fear of judgment or gossip. A for Affectionate–I will care about you even if I don’t agree or you don’t share my religion. F for Fighter–I will fight for your humanity.
But now, it’s time to talk about the most heartbreaking failure of them all: E for Everyone.
This means that I swear to try and be a S.A.F.E. place for every race, every gender, every religion, every age group, every socioeconomic status, every sexual orientation, EV-ER-Y-ONE.
Why, why, why do I have to even talk about this? Why do people claim the name of Jesus Christ, who died for the whole world (John 3:16) and yet still say it’s okay to write off an entire people or make enemies of them? Now, some people have had bad personal experiences, and that’s a nasty web to untangle, to which I will give some grace. However, there is also too much grace given to systemic racism in the church.
Too many Christians say that if that black guy had just obeyed the law, he wouldn’t have been killed by the police. As if corruption were impossible, or police never did anything wrong–or even made mistakes. These same people often wave the Confederate Flag. What, the Confederation was obeying the law? I’m not trying to bash cops en masse–their job is way harder than I can handle. But to just dismiss the lives of blacks without question? What is Christian about that?
Or what about Syrian refugees? Remember that debate? How Christians were so concerned for their own safety that they labeled every single Syrian a terrorist who should be left to their own devices? No talk of feasibility, finances, or America’s role in the world, just a flat-out ban based on the actions of a few.
Christians need to be concerned about the lives of everyone, no matter their color. See the oppression, division, and inequality. You may not be able to fix it, but we should all cut it out of our lives. We should be the first on the racial equality train. Does Jesus discriminate by color? I hope not, because I’m not Middle Eastern like he was.
This one makes a little more sense (not good sense, but still…). The Bible talks about wives submitting to their husbands. But somehow, we decided that means all women should submit to all men. Local admonitions were taken as absolutes. Remnants of old cultures became paragons. Man lead, woman make sandwich.
Maybe that’s why we let rapists go free because they’re great athletes and jail would ruin their future. All while condemning the woman for daring to get raped, daring to call the man out, and daring to demand justice. The audacity!
But Christianity calls for justice. The Bible says that Jesus will judge sin, which means he doesn’t let evil go unpunished.
So why do we?
This one ALMOST seems justified. We’re Christians–it’s a religion (sort of). All other religions preach a different god or no god, so that makes them our enemies, right?
Go read Acts 17:16-34, an account of when Paul was in Athens, surrounded by idols. Did he act like they were his enemies? I won’t give you the answer. Read the Bible, the Christian’s source of authority, and see what Paul did.
Yes, I believe that Christianity is right and all others are wrong. But where does that give me the right to mistreat them? To ignore them and their needs?
Or worse, to demand that they be registered, like the Muslims? “But, Mike! Their holy book tells them to kill infidels!”
Yeah, and ours led to the Crusades and the Ku Klux Klan. Should we be registered?
“But, Mike! That’s just a twisted offshoot of Christianity!” That’s my point: you don’t know how someone is going to interpret their religion, how liberal or legalistic. And even if they were all terrorists, there is no room in the Bible for hate. I refer you back to Paul, persecuted by everyone, but kept loving them enough to invite them into the Kingdom of God.
Every Sexual Orientation
“But the Bible says–”
To love our neighbor. (Matthew 22:39)
“But God said–”
That our status with God is far more important than our preferred gender. (Genesis 3:28)
Died for literally everyone. (John 3:16)
“But they’re sinning!”
If you see someone living in sin, your reaction should be to love them despite it (or because of it, if you want to be technical) because that’s what Jesus did. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Jesus didn’t wait until we were Christians living perfect, holy lives to love us. That would contradict the point.
Ev. Er. Y. One.
Here’s a general tip: love the most when they deserve it the least. That little oft-quoted phrase sums up God’s love for us and therefore how we should love the world. Whether they are friendly neighbors who look and act just like us and go to our same church, or a stranger across the globe with a different god, sexual preference, and skin color. Love at all times.
I’m not saying agree on everything–you can’t. I’m not saying sin is unimportant–why did Jesus die then? I’ll even agree that there are blacks who dodge the law for selfish reasons, Muslims who terrorize, and gays with an anti-Christian agenda.
But you know what? The only reason I can even claim to be a Christian is because Jesus died and loved me despite my race, sex, orientation, etc. My being a young, white, straight male had nothing to do with it. So if God wants everyone in, I have no right to keep everyone out.
How do you keep people out? Ignore them. Label them. Judge them. Leave them to their oppressors. Wave off their cries for help.
Or simply justify your own righteousness.
As a S.A.F.E. Christian, I promise to do my best achieve the opposite: to be a shelter for the wounded, weary, and angry; to love and care about everyone despite our differences; to fight for the humanity of everyone, regardless of whether it affects me; and to do all these things for literally every person I can.
I am imperfect. But my imperfection only compels me to love others as best I can, because this is what Christ Jesus did for me.
Go now. Be loving. Be brave. Be S.A.F.E.