I am a perfect, flawless Christian. Be like me. Seriously.
How can I say that? Mostly because I am obnoxious and a little sarcastic. Also, because I understand what a pathetic excuse for a Christain I actually am. I know that I need the grace of God to make it. I am using His ID card to get into heaven. Mine is ugly. Mine shows exactly how human I am.
My last article got me thinking about the ways so many Christians treat people. My daughter has partnered with a local tattoo shop and is becoming a model. It’s all very impressive artwork. The artist is a very talented young man. It’s not trash. It’s not porn. It’s a beautiful, young lady wearing her art on her skin. Her life, her choice.
I have been down this road before. Just waiting for the backlash of opinions and lectures now. So many folks out there are waiting for things to offend them. Ready to pounce on everyone who doesn’t believe exactly the same way that they do. Too many Christians burn up all their energy attacking other Christians. They miss the whole point.
Since I don’t plan to use this site to argue or debate, I will use it to sort out a few things that I believe. You can do whatever you want with this information.
I believe that the Old Testament was written to people who wanted to know how much they could get away with. How much sin can we commit, and still make it into heaven. They wanted kings. They found idols. They made mistakes. They wanted to know what perfection looked like. They wanted to attempt to be holy on their own. God showed them it wasn’t possible.
The New Testament was written to show us that God loves us, in spite of our humanity. He has the golden ticket, we don’t have to be absolutely perfect. He paid the price. He achieved what we couldn’t. He offers grace to carry us.
Still with me?
Romans Chapter 14. Wow. What a trump card. Read it. It basically says to stop judging other Christians with different convictions. I don’t eat meat, but I don’t demand that you stop. My neighbor doesn’t celebrate Christmas. We do. So what? If my decisions aren’t doing physical damage to you, how is it a problem? Take care of the stick in your own eye first. Get over it.
You aren’t perfect, anyway. How far do you plan to take your judgement and pursuit of hypocrisy? All the Old Testament laws are showing you that you desperately need grace. You are incapable of following all of the laws. The Ten Commandments are solid rules to live by, but they are just the tip of the iceberg.
Deuteronomy 22 verse 11. Read it. If your shirt is made with a cotton and polyester blend, you are in sin. Yep. Mixed fabrics are forbidden under Old Testament law. In fact, read the whole chapter. Read the whole book of Deuteronomy. Find all the laws you are breaking. See all the ways that you are a miserable failure as a believer. Think about your judgement of other folks who may be doing better than you in different ways. Maybe you can follow this law, but not that one. Maybe they are the opposite.
That tattooed kid with the concert shirt and purple hair might be demonstrating more Christian love than the old man in the suit. They might be doing the stuff that the more conservative folks just talk about. The language and appearance might seem conformed to the world, but the kindness and generosity may be more Christlike than anything else you will ever see. Jesus said to judge a tree by the fruit. Check yours before getting too critical.
The fact is, we all need grace. We are all sinners. We are all imperfect. We are all doomed without Christ. Get over yourself. Anyone who claims perfection, declaring themselves as an example, had better understand grace. The only perfection I get to claim is from Him. He is perfect, I get to use his perfection.
Tattoos forbidden under Old Testament law? So is bacon. So is adultery. So is divorce. So is marrying a divorced person. People were stoned to death for stuff that doesn’t phase us now. Men with damaged genitals were forbidden to associate with other men in the temple. Women on their period were separated from other people. Where do we draw the lines? Seriously. Do you want to know?
At the cross.
Grace. Mercy. Forgiveness. Compassion. Gentleness. Love. That’s what you find on the other side of that line.
So, if you will pardon me, I am going to hang out on that side of the line. With the Christ who loved me more than His own life or the traditions of His people. He loved me more than His own reputation. He loved us even while we were sinners. Even while we were crucifying Him, He still loved us. He told His followers that whoever isn’t against us, is with us. He taught inclusive love. Not this exclusive religion we have wandered into. The one that tells folks who is, and who is not, good enough to be a Christain.
Which side are you going to be on?
And if you happen to be married, let me take it a step farther.
Take my 21 Day Challenge. Become a Better Man.