in our verse-by-verse trek through the gospel of john that started two-weeks ago, we have decided to include something a little unusual: a q & a component. my tech guys throw an online poll onto the end of my media presentation so people can text questions in real-time. thus far, it has been a blast and we’ve gotten some great questions. today, i want to share one more.
So, Jesus loves us unconditionally. Then why is it so wrong to be gay or a criminal or do what you want to do?
first, let me say that i was delighted with this question. when i engage non-christians outside the church setting, this is precisely the type of honest sentiment i encounter. i was thrilled to be able to deal with this openly in a church meeting–i saw it as a teachable moment (and church people need all the teachable moments they can get!).
i dealt with the question by…
1. explaining that the love of jesus is, indeed, unconditional. jesus loves gays and criminals (and even preachers) perfectly and without reservation. the bible teaches that jesus saw us in our sinful state and chose to die for us (romans 5:8). if you have a moment, i encourage you to read a parable written by tony york that illustrates the unconditional nature of jesus’ love for us.
2. pointing out that a loving god hates sin. god labels certainly activity as “sin” if it is harmful to us, and he prohibits us from indulging in sin. and he is not ambiguous about sin or his disdain of it. if you think about it, god’s attitude toward sin actually validates his claim to love us unconditionally. god demands that we stay away from things that may potentially destroy us: not just spiritually, but physically and emotionally as well. like a loving father.
i don’t mean to read too much into the question, but i understand why many (perhaps most) people outside the church have perverted views of god. they see him as angry and judgmental, and we (the church) have reinforced that skewed perspective by our behavior. i’m not claiming that the damage can be undone, but we might be able to do some good if we would simply acknowledge our brokenness, own our issues, and embrace grace.
so what say you? have something to add?