You know what I don’t like? Exclusion.
People being left out, being made to think they’re not good enough. Not pretty enough. Not (fill in the blank) enough. Not worthy.
You know who else doesn’t like that? God.
But, for real. See, we Christians tend to get our panties up in a bunch, thinking we’ve got it all together. We tend to view the world as “us” and “them”. We roll eyes, look down upon and degrade.
We believe the lie that we’re somehow better than those who don’t know Jesus…as if we deserve the very breath and life He’s so graciously given. As if we’ve done something to earn His salvation. His favor.
And this is just what Jesus hates. This exclusionary, pompous attitude. This entitled worldview that is utterly toxic and entirely unbiblical.
“…He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” – 2 Peter 3:9b
Did you catch that? Everyone.
Wait, so like, the people that are basically good and maybe mess up occasionally?
Um, nope. Last I checked those people don’t exist (Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God).
God wants everyone.
The working mom.
The stay-at-home mom.
The homeschool kid.
The public school kid.
The right-to-life chick.
The gay pride guy.
The broken teen.
The unfaithful husband.
The bitter sister.
The awkward uncle.
God wants us all. Everyone single last one of us.
Doesn’t matter where we come from or where we are. He desires us, longs to be in relationship with us in. our. current. state.
But wait. What? ‘I’m a little messed up. If you only knew my past, if you only knew what I just watched, the things I just said…God doesn’t want me.’
Oh, but yes, yes He does. See, salvation (this acceptance of a free gift) is for everyone. God Himself says so.
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” Romans 3:23
For reals, guys. God says everyone who believes that Jesus is who He says He is (fully God, fully man, the second person of the holy trinity, the One who died and rose again for our greatest problem – sin – the one who has the victory) is saved.
In other words, do you believe Jesus is IT? Like, know that you know that you desperately need Him? Can’t do it without Him?
See, sometimes in the Church we get all nose-up-in-the-air thinking that we somehow have our stuff together.
Like our sin don’t stink. Like our flaws aren’t a complete disaster.
God desires us all. His Word is clear.
Maybe you’ve been on the camp for too long that looks down on those who don’t know, are struggling, hurting, wrestling with unbelief. Maybe you grew up in a tradition that said “Don’t associate with those people.”
The drunkards. The self-injurers. The divorcees. The homosexuals.
God is FOR those people. God gave His very life for them. May He grant you eyes to see them as He does – beautiful and beloved.
Or maybe you’ve been the one so hurt and abused by the Church, by Christians. Let me, from the bottom of my heart, say a collective “I am sorry”. So deeply sorry. Us Christians are so broken and in need of Savior. And there is no excuse for our pride and pomp. Please forgive us.
Maybe you’ve viewed yourself as less-than. Like, “I just need to stop cursing, stop using, stop (whatever). Then maybe God will love me. Then maybe He’ll accept me.”
The Bible tells us in Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Jesus died for you in your broken mess. In mine.
He doesn’t want you to have your life cleaned up, figured out and then come to Him. That’d be like asking someone to get clean before they take a shower. Doesn’t make sense.
God’s wants you to know that you are beloved. You were created in His image to have a relationship with Him.
May we all move forward through our hypocrisy, through our pride, our hurts, our unbelief. May we all cling to this Jesus who so embraced the world that He stretched out His arms in love and died for us nearly 2,000 years ago paying the ultimate price for. our. souls. that we could know Him.
Know His love.
May we experience a little more of that today. May we rest in that love today.