“Consider The Person”, from Pope Francis, “A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. " Before I expound on this post, I wanted to share my struggles as a husband, father and legacy dad – First of all, I am a sinner saved by grace. Secondly, I sin almost every day and on the days that I don’t sin, I sin even more because of my pride. There is none righteous no not one. Therefore, what hope do I have in salvation between the outcome of heaven and hell?
Whether you believe Him or deny Him, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man (woman or child) comes to the father but by me.” This may be a very hard statement by an awful lot of people but don’t miss the message – Jesus was born of a virgin, was on this earth for 33 years, performed many miracles (thus fulfilling all prophecies about the Messiah), was crucified, in 3 days rose again and now He sits at the right hand of God the Father.
The Law of Moses, better said, the Ten Commandments was put on this earth not to condemn God’s chosen, rather, to condemn those who do not know His Son – Jesus Christ. The list goes like this
Commandment # Old Testament New Testament (Jesus re-clarifies)
1st Commandment No other Gods before God Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, body, soul and strength
2nd Commandment No images (no idolatry) keep yourselves from idols (what’s before God)
3rd Commandment Do not take God’s name in vain do not blaspheme God, His Son or His Spirit
4th Commandment Keep God’s day holy The Sabbath is between you and the Lord
5th Commandment Honor Mom & Dad Honor your parents with respect and joy
6th Commandment You shall not murder if you even hate your brother – you murder
7th Commandment You shall not commit adultery if you even lust – you commit adultery
8th Commandment you shall not steal don’t even think about stealing
9th Commandment you shall not bear false witness do not lie about your brother or sister
10th Commandment You shall not covet the word reveals this often
I have to apologize about the term, Christian, for many wear that badge of honor but truly not many know the cost of being a disciple. If you truly define yourself as Christian then the world really should see Jesus and not our sinful self – and our diluted version. Because if we are really honest so many Christians let ignorance (not knowing the Truth) stand in their way of the transformation of the Gospel. That is, simply said, that
I have issue with the following situations:
- How can a church that says it is redeemed and saved only by the blood of Jesus Christ turn others away when they (those other sinners) do things that are on the outside of our own very transgressions (meaning the sin that we tolerate versus the sin that God hates?).
- How can we say that sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, magic, jealousy, anger, rivalries dissensions and divisions, drunkenness and the like are tolerable, but homosexuality in our midst is outrageous? Or you pick your un-tolerated sin?
- How can we judge others by the very standards that we refuse to judge ourselves? (You know, the proverbial log in our own eye?)
- Why do we just isolate homosexuality as the unforgivable sin and not any form of sexual immorality (sexual sin).
Before you condemn me on some of my views just stated, I want you to know that I am a leader in my church (an Elder), I love our church and the pastors that preach and the worship directors who praise and the people who serve and the communities that we impact. Our mission statement is a biblical mandate: Reach the disconnected and grow the connected – I am overjoyed to serve in a church that stands on biblical principles and loves people as the Lord loves us.
I will be the first to admit that I do not believe or align myself with the Pope or other religions as I am a Christian who believes in my only hope to reach heaven is through God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus did not come to replace the law, but to complete it- without Jesus the law condemns everyone. Let me repeat that, without Jesus any transgression of the laws damns us to a hell that was intended for the devil and the fallen angels.
What the Pope challenged us on was to consider the person and not the sin. That statement resonates with me for many reasons:
- We are all sinners
- No one is perfect
- Even on our best day we fall short of the holiness of God
- God is holy, holy and holy
- We are not holy
- Our sin separates us from Heaven without a blood sacrifice
There are two adages that I like to model my life by and three if we count Lance’s Esse quam videri:
1) People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you make them feel – Maya Angelou
2) “Watch your thoughts, they become words; watch your words, they become actions; watch your actions, they become habits; watch your habits, they become character; watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” – Frank Outlaw
3) Esse quam videri means to be rather than to seem
If truly want to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ then you will take up the following daily:
- Die to self, Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
- Renew your mind, Romans 12:1-2, 12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] 2 Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
- Put on love, Colossians 3 English Standard Version (ESV) put on the New Self 3 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your [a] life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:[b] sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.[c] 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self[d] with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,[e] free; but Christ is all, and in all. 12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
When you take these steps and truly realize that we are all in need for a Savior (who is none other than Jesus Christ) then we have a hope in God that no on (repeat over and over and over – “NO ONE” can take us away from the Father’s Love) then we are truly his disciples.
When the world looks at us, do they see hope?
When the world looks at us, do they see love?
If not? Why not? Pray for God’s guidance and wisdom in taking this path with us today.