Pastor Looks Up In Tears. "I Had No Idea."
Love the 'sinner,' then kick them out of church, and their family too if they don't side with you against their child.
I just can’t get my head around that. Telling someone they are no longer welcome in your church, in your home - and calling it love?!? It makes no sense to me at all. It is not love in any way.
As Rob says, "To stand at the church door and block anyone from entering, for any reason, is absolutely indefensible."
Too much "Christian" teaching has really gone off-track, off into the weeds and over a cliff: believing that by rejecting another person they are somehow supporting their faith, even showing devotion to God. We see pastors rejecting, Christian leaders rejecting – but we DON'T ever see Jesus rejecting. Ever.
So, the question is: Who are we following anyway??
The people kicking people out of their church, 'separating people' from God – are the same people who look forward to a “golden crown with jewels in it” for their fine performance on earth as a Christian.
I can only imagine that conversation as a Pastor shows up at the pearly gates...
“I’m here! Looking forward to that reward now! That crown and the jewels… and the mansion…”
“Uh yeah, about that… So, I’m looking over your life here… seems like you threw people out of your church, let’s see, because they were gay. Is that right?”
Pastor smiles proudly and nods.
“And it says you did this in my name… let’s see here… and you threw their families out too...” Looks up from notes. “Why in heaven’s name did you do all that?”
Pastor stops nodding and smiling. “Um… because I was doing what you wanted!”
“What I wanted?? Where did you get that idea? I never threw anyone out.”
Pastor looking down now. “Well, uh, I thought…”
“No, you didn’t. You didn’t think about what this would do to them.” Waits. “I never once told anyone to throw anyone out.”
Pastor shuffles his feet. “But… that was how we’d show them tough love and get them to change.”
“Did any of them change?”
Pastor is silent. Then quietly. “I don’t know.”
“You don’t know?? You’re the pastor in charge of leading these people. How would you lose track of them and not know what happened? Do you remember the story I told you about leaving the 99 sheep to go after the one because each one matters?”
Pastor looks puzzled.
“Yeah, that’s what I was talking about. And you not only didn’t go get them, you shut and locked the gate behind them. You told them they were condemned to hell!” Another pause. “Do you want to know what happened to those people you and your church sent away?”
Pastor speaks quietly. “…yes.”
“Three of them committed suicide. They believed you when you told them they were wicked evil sinners, abominations. They’re here now… in case you wondered. Most of the others wanted nothing more to do with God. They also believed you that God hated them and had no use for them. I sent some of my beloved faithful people to talk to them, to tell them the truth, to draw them back into God’s unconditional love.”
Pastor looks up. “I thought my job was to stop people’s sin.”
“No. In fact, I told you the opposite. I said for you to love them – just love them – and point them to me. I told you to serve them… even if you didn’t feel like it. I told you to visit them and clothe them and feed them.”
Pastor’s head drops again.
“I told you to seek justice, to love mercy, to walk humbly. Kicking people out is not humble, or merciful, or just.” Lifts the pastor’s head. “I was pretty clear when I said to love God and love others. I said everything else would line up under that. I said the Spirit would lead you. I sent people directly to tell you all of this, but you wouldn’t listen. You kicked many of them out too."
Pastor fidgets. “I thought all the pastors who were giving in and letting gay people into their churches were just weak… I couldn’t do that.”
“You’ve got it upside-down. The ones who welcomed gay people into their churches were the strong ones. They asked God about it and then they listened to the Spirit – they did what was right – they actually loved people the way that I love people.”
Pastor looks up in tears. “I had no idea.”
Every day, people from the pews and the pulpits are realizing the deadly result of this non-affirming, non-inclusive teaching.
Every day, people are becoming welcoming, loving, affirming, and lavishly inclusive.
Every day, people are choosing the heart and truth of God.