Anne Lamott — ‘You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.’
I shared an image with this quote on Facebook one day. The responses were good–the kind of responses that bring about real change. In my heart, I absorbed its truth. It wasn’t until later that it hit me.
As I raise financial partners, learn about the peoples on the move, and serve on social media and in the local church, God is challenging my previously held beliefs and prejudices. Again, God isn’t always agreeing with me. I am a conservative politically and to my chagrine, I realized how being an American and my politics had become an idol and even an identity. From our divided and violent country where one person’s rights override anothers that made me re-think things.
Sunday found me reading Luke 5:28-30:
Levi got up, left everything behind, and followed him. Then Levi threw a great banquet for Jesus in his home. A large number of tax collectors and others sat down to eat with them. The Pharisees and their legal experts grumbled against his disciples. They said, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Matthew Henry’s Commentary had this to say,
It was a wonder of his grace that he would not only admit a converted publican into his family, but would keep company with unconverted publicans, that he might have an opportunity of doing their souls good; he justified himself in it, as agreeing with the great design of his coming into the world. Here is a wonder of grace indeed, that Christ undertakes to be the Physician of souls distempered by sin, and ready to die of the distemper (he is a Healer by office, Luke 5:31)– that he has a particular regard to the sick, to sinners as his patients, convinced awakened sinners, that see their need of the Physician—that he came to call sinners, the worst of sinners, to repentance, and to assure them of pardon, upon repentance, Luke 5:32. These are glad tidings of great joy indeed.
My husband told me about an interview on Focus on the Family (I saved it to listen to later). A former LGBT spoke about how they can tell when they are treated differently. People assume certain things about you politically if you choose to develop a friendship with an LGBT. I said online, “How can they know Jesus if we don’t show them through sincere friendship what He means to us?”
In Luke 5, Jesus sat and dined with sinners. It is important to note that not once did Jesus affirm a sinful life. He became the example. I don’t know a single believer who hasn’t sinned (and this includes myself). Love manifests itself in the service and love we give to others by living out our faith. A pastor once preached that both your head and heart must work together. Too much of one or the other is ineffective.
As I get deeper into mission history, God is challenging previously held prejudices and beliefs set by my American identity and political beliefs. A tribe in an area that I can’t recall from one of my readings talked about how religious teachers would be considered remiss if they didn’t share their religious views with a non-believing person. If a person is drowning, wouldn’t you want to throw them a life vest or jump in after them?