The first 4 books on the New Testament are known as the Gospels. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all give us an account of Jesus’ life. If you want to know who Jesus is, what He said, how He lived, or how He behaved: read those books. (Personally, I would recommend the Gospel of John. It’s my favorite. No offense to the synoptic gospels, but I’m Team John, all the way.) Despite having 4 harmonious accounts of the life of Jesus Christ, there still seems to be some misunderstanding among Christians as to who Jesus was and how He conducted Himself.
The Church, today, seems to view Jesus as a happy hippy who spoke of nothing but peace, love, and harmony. If Jesus had a theme song it would probably be “All You Need is Love”. He just showered people with sunshine and hugs. Pretty, blond-haired, blue-eyed Jesus hugged babies, hung out with prostitutes, and spoke of love, love, love.
Now, some of this is true. Jesus did say, “Let the children come to me.” (Matthew 19:14) He did hang out with sinners. (Note: He did not condone their sin, nor did He participate in their sin). And He did say the greatest commandments are: Love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew: 22:34-40)
But, there is a side to Jesus that the church seems to ignore: The side of Jesus that hates sin. We understand that Jesus was fully God and fully man. He was God in the flesh. Jesus loves what God the Father loves, and He hates what the Father hates, because they are one. (John 10:30)
Let’s take a look at John 8. The Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman who had been caught in adultery. They wanted to stone this woman. In verse 7 Jesus says, “Let any of you who is without sin throw the first stone.” As the story goes, not one of them threw a stone at this woman.
Now, this story reiterates what is said in Matthew 7. You’ve got to deal with the sin in your own life before you point out the sin in the life of someone else. That much is true. It’s hypocritical to stone a woman to death for committing adultery when you’re walking around sinning like nobody’s business. BUT, when reading the story of the adulterous woman, we forget that Jesus said to her, “Go and sin no more.” This is where it gets tricky.
We’ve somehow got it in our heads that to be like Jesus is to turn a blind eye to sin. We’ve convinced ourselves that to love as Christ loved means to button our lips, tolerate, keep our opinions to ourselves, and live in harmony. To be honest, that would be much easier than doing what we should do. If being a Christian was something I did behind closed doors, well, being a Christian would be easy. The truth is Christ demands much more from us and being a Christian means you are going to face opposition.
When we read the passage in Matthew 7, Jesus says, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” We gather from the text that we should help our brothers and sisters in Christ when they have sin in their life. That means we need to understand what sin is and we may need to remind our brothers and sisters of what the Bible says on the matter. That, my dear friends, is where being a Christian can be hard.
Now, am I suggesting that we walk around like some crazed Christian Oprah? You’re a sinner! You’re a sinner! Everybody is going to HELL! YEAH! No. That’s not what I’m suggesting. But, what I will suggest is that we start hating sin that way Jesus did. I will suggest that we stop saying the Bible is “unclear” about issues it’s extremely black and white on. I suggest we stop applauding destructive, sinful, and dangerous behaviors and calling it “Christ-like love”.
Jesus was bold. He didn’t tip-toe around situations. He didn’t care how uncomfortable it made people. That’s not what we do. No, we like to avoid talking about issues that might make people upset or, dare I say, offended. What’s worse than the fact that we don’t stand up for our convictions, we apologize for them. It’s completely absurd. We have a church full of Christians who claim to believe in a Biblical world view yet are upset when Christians actually defend the Bible. Words like hateful, bigoted, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, and closed-minded often get thrown around. The truth is that you, dear Christian, should have beliefs and convictions that contradict a secular world view. I mean, that’s Biblical. The Bible tells us that the world will hate us. (Matthew 10:22)
We are to be salt and light. We are to be set apart. We should be different, as Christ was different. This happy hippy Jesus that’s sunshine, smiles, and rainbows is a total fantasy. This version of Jesus that blends in with the surrounding culture and never says anything to upset anyone is unbiblical and dangerous. The true Christ would not have been well-liked in our world today. He wasn’t liked when He walked the earth. If you’ve never ruffled the feathers of a non-believer, or even a fellow believer, perhaps now would be a good time to change that. Now, go and offend like Jesus.