I’ve heard the phrase “hanging out with the wrong crowd.” Usually, this is in regards to teenagers hanging out with kids who drink, smoke, and cuss. Usually, this refers to people who are a bad influence. It wasn’t until recently that I realized there’s such a thing as “hanging out with the wrong Christians.”
As a practicing Christian, I realize I’m not the poster child of morality. I drink, smoke, and cuss, for instance. I also write gay and straight erotica. I have a terrible temper, and I do not “Let the little children come to me,” like Jesus said. (No. Really. Keep the children away from me.)
As an educated Christian, I realize we don’t all hold to the same doctrine. We differ in our beliefs due to Biblical interpretation and denominational guidelines. I understand this, but I did think we all had one thing in common: LOVE.
I don’t know about your god, but mine is loving. For example, Psalm 36:7 says, “How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of Your wings.”
I attended a Bible study recently (not at my own church, praise the Lord) that made me feel anything but loved. Instead, I felt sick.
Some gems from said Bible study included:
Homosexuals can’t be Christians.
Women shouldn’t be pastors.
Although unrelated, Halloween and meditation are both quite evil.
As a gay rights supporter, woman, and Halloween enthusiast, you can understand my distress. I sat through said Bible study silently because I understood these teachers were not “my Christians.” These were people with differing opinions than my own, and we will never agree.
Their teaching almost made me decide to quit my current ministry efforts because I didn’t want to work with these “wrong Christians” (not that they’re wrong in their beliefs, because who am I to judge? Their beliefs are just wrong for me. Very, very wrong).
However, when I got home yesterday after Bible study, I explained my concerns to Jake. Brilliant man that he is, he pointed out that I have to continue my ministry so that I can preach my God—a God of love, acceptance, and forgiveness.
My husband really is a smart guy. Saturday night, he had a dream that the apocalypse came and God chose a select group of humans to basically restart civilization. The conversation Sunday morning went something like this …
Sara: Well, I’m pretty sure God would never choose someone as messed up as me to restart civilization.
Jake: Actually, He would pick people exactly like you. Look at how messed up all the heroes were in the Bible.
Sara: Oh. Right. Huh.
God doesn’t only care about perfect people. He doesn’t only care about people who follow all His rules or people who point fingers at sinners. He doesn’t only care about the non-drinkers, non-smokers, non-cussers. He cares about everyone, and He cares forever.
Christian author Jim Burns said, “God loves you not for what you do but for who you are. You never need to earn God’s love. He loves you because you are His special creation. Because of God’s unconditional love, you are free to blossom into all He wants you to be. His love has no strings attached.”
Now, that’s a Bible study I can get behind! As we enter a new week—a new dreaded Monday—I think it’s time we remembered to love. Love each other. Love God. Love life, even when it’s ugly and messed up. Even when we’re ugly and messed up.
My mom quoted the Book of Matthew to me this morning: “Live as the light that you are.” My light might be tinted purple and flicker sometimes, but yeah, I plan to live brightly, surrounded by people who “get me” and love me, despite all my mistakes, imperfections, and f-bombs.