I read this scripture today, 1 John 1:8 "If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us."
Let me start by saying I come from a family that loves to judge others. Gossip abounds. They sit on their fat hineys, making comments about people's weight, place in life, etc. They are not rich, they are not famous, they are just plain, ordinary people. Church people no less.
That is where I sometimes draw the line. Church people -- Christians.
Not always equal.
I see many people walking in church doors, sitting in their "assigned" seat (or at least their expected one), listening to the music, the preacher, the prayer and walking back out. Going to lunch, being rude to the hostess, not tipping the waitress or better yet, leaving a Bible tract instead. Going home, starting all over again for the evening service.
I also see many people walking in church doors completely broken, repentant, ready for something else, something new. And you know what, God meets them there. Right where they are. Lifts them up, embraces them, challenges them and surrounds them with other Christians who know exactly how it feels to be loved.
Here's the deal. They will know we are Christians by our love. 1 Corinthians 13 states that pretty clearly. "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal."
I look at life this way, I am a christian, it's not something I do. I believe in the One true God, I believe he sacrificed his only son Jesus Christ as provision for my sin and I believe his Holy Spirit resides in me to be my counselor and guide. I also believe and acknowledge that without God, I am nothing. I'm a noisy gong, a clanging symbol because God IS love. I am incapable of true, unselfish, fully engaged love without him. I also believe I have been forgiven much. And as much as I have been forgiven and will need forgiveness in the future for I am human, I do not have the right to sit in judgment of others. We each have our own sin.
Some of us wear it literally, I turn to food instead of God. I celebrate with it, mourn with it, pass time with it. Some of us wear it secretly. Some of us justify it. But we all carry it with us. My sin is no different than yours. I will not judge you, please don't judge me. That is God's job and his alone.
So here's my plan. Let's all navigate this thing called life together. Let's embrace each other, accept each other, support each other, share with each other, and truly, wholly love each other.
Jesus did. He ate with those who were despised, he touched the untouchable, he made friends with the unreachable, he walked with the dejected, defiled and debilitated. I am hoping to absolutely emulate my Savior. No proclamation needed. The Bible has already been written and it doesn't need my help, only my action.
"Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends." 1 Corinthians 13:7-8