Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Different Christians (by Jake Lee)

I've picked up quite a few new readers of the past several months. I love that my blog is read by both genders. That's representative of the friendships I have. One of those friendships that started way back (as in, when I first started blogging), is with Jake Lee - my favorite cranky ho. He's been such an encouragement to me over the past year. He's also a person who writes honestly about his Christian walk. I think one of my favorite posts of his was when he suggested that violence was one of the love languages. If you don't think that's funny, well, you just have to know Jake. Trust me, it is...

Well enough of my incessant ranting. Here's Jake:

Of the five years that I’ve been following Jesus, it took four before I really broke out of my church and the culture that developed around it. That isn’t necessarily bad, I have a very tight knit family. There were times that I thought I had, but I was faithful to only go to my church, (you don’t want to be a church ho) and the events that were put on by my church. I’m still faithful to my congregation, but I’ve certainly never had so many friends from different churches as I do now. I worked with people from several different churches at the coffee shop that employed me for a while, and I’ve just met many more in the past year, too. Many of them have their quirks; things that some Christians would say, just aren’t right.

People who I would have labeled as nominal in their Christ-walk have taught me about faith, and about living life. They drink beer. Individuals who swear more than I’ve ever heard anyone who knows Jesus, seem to love Him and people more than I do. People, who might be condemned to hell by their peers have done things that have changed the world, for the better. Several of my friends have started and either own or have sold businesses. If you’ve ever read my blog, then you know about Jerry, the crazy wine-making, beer-drinking professor who has led more students to the Lord than a lot of people I know.

I hate compromise. A year or two ago, I would have been spitting that word some of these peoples’ feet, and might have explained to them that when you love Jesus, your heart changes, that we step away from sin when we step closer to Him and clearly, they haven’t done that. I can’t say that now, and I’m experiencing some tension over it. Perhaps I’m judging them, and want to think of them as goats, rather than sheep in God’s flock. After all, we all get separated in the end, like grain from chaff, right?

Perhaps I’m going soft, simply due to friendship. People have a terrible tendency to soften their hold on standards once a relationship has been established. I don’t want to be an excessively tolerant person simply because I think I can justify these people in their actions, but based on what I’ve seen, they love Jesus. My conclusion then, is that we come from a variety of backgrounds and live in all sorts of situations. Jesus might want us all to get to the same place, but we’re traveling different distances from our own experiences and some of us take longer to get there.

To read more from Jake, check out his blog, Very Much Later


Helen said...

You know, my husband and I were talking about something like this..I think. We were discussing how to balance loving people with "tolerance". We don't want to appear to "tolerate" sin, yet Jesus calls us to love ALL of our neighbors. That includes the sinners.

Peter P said...

Hate the sin, love the sinner.

It's not our place to be judgmental but it is our place to judge for ourselves what is right.

If someone is doing something which is sinful but are loving and listening to the Lord, he will correct them in his good time.

Maybe he'll correct them through you, but probably not. The Holy Spirit is pretty good at doing that kind of stuff.

I figure we should just be an example of what we find acceptable, without being condescending or judgmental and let God deal with the rest - but always be ready with a loving an answer if someone asks!

Great post Jake. Great guest blogger to snag, Katdish!

Beth said...

Great thoughts, Jake. I struggle with this sometimes. But we ALL struggle with sin, too, right? Sometimes when I get on an unecessarily high and judgmental horse I have to remind myself that there's probably a sin in my life that my friends can see and are forgiving and gracious enough to love me anyway. You know, specks and planks and all. My time is much better spent building my relationship with God rather than picking others' relationships apart. Then like Peter P said, we'll be better at following the Holy Spirit on these kind of issues.

Billy Coffey said...

Maybe it's just the part of the country where I live, but I have friends who smoke, dip, cuss, drink, make their OWN drink, fight, and gamble, but still read their Bible every day and are in the front pew at church every Sunday morning. They say they're Christians, and I believe them.

In the end, it's just as you said. We're all on our own walk with our own struggles, and making our own choices. We're all living our own story.

Great post, Jake. Really got me thinking.

jasonS said...

Don't judge 'em 'til Jesus comes back is what 1 Cor. 4:5 says. Great reminder and great thoughts. Thanks Jake.

& I'm with Billy, if I tried to separate from everyone here in AK that didn't act like a "normal" Christian, I'd be very lonely...

Sarah Salter said...

I once had a pastor who said, "I've seen more love in a crackhouse than I've seen in some churches." Sadly, there's a lot of truth to that statement. I work in full time ministry and so on a day-to-day basis, I'm generally surrounded by saved folks. But when I go home to see my extended family, I'm pretty much in the mission field.

I could choose to stand back at family gatherings, cross my arms, purse my lips, look down my nose and judge my family members. But how is that showing them the love of Christ? Instead I love them, hug them, listen to them, pray for them, and generally let my little light shine without being self-righteous about it.

katdish said...

I think we are all in danger of becoming modern day pharisees if we attempt to condemn someone else for their sins because we judge them as more nefarious than our own. Sin is sin. And while the crack whore or adulterer, or whatever happens to offend you the most may be looked upon from the world's perspective as being unlovable, we are called to love as He loves. When we allow God to soften our hearts and see people the way Jesus sees them, that is the beginning of understanding grace, for them and for me.

Thanks again, Jake. Great post.

Candace Jean July 16 said...

This was awesome, Jake. Am I the only one who cried here? Am I feeling convicted, or just incredulous that katdish used the word "nefarious" in a sentence?

Either way, I'm glad to say I have some pretty seedy Christian and non-Christian friends and that I can still see Jesus' image in all of them in different ways. I didn't used to be that way.

katdish said...

Hey Candy. I know lots of big words! I'm a big word extravaganza!

Annie K said...

I'm one of those...drink, cuss, chew, make my own swill..Ok, maybe I don't make my own swill.

But I am a sinner and so imperfect.

Cool post Jake.

Jennifer said...

I think I'm gonna like Jake Lee. And I swear, it has nothing to do with the last name.

Gonna check him out.

Jennifer said...

Um, yeah, ... my last name is Lee. Forgot the punch line on the last comment.

So, ba-dum-bump.

(exiting sheepishly now)

katdish said...

Jennifer -


JML said...

I have to admit, that I avoided Kathy's blog all day, because I was a little timid to see responses. Not that I was expecting judgment, but rather, that I was afraid nobody would say anything. First of all, Candace made me laugh, but at the same time, nefarious is a "katdish" word for some reason. It just fits her. . .and I realize that the topic is so overdone, but honestly, try to imagine a day (really, not hypothetically and ideally) where we won't encounter sin! it's not gonna happen until we see Jesus again, so this is a topic worth killing. Thanks guys for your awesome comments!!!

By the way, Kathy totally picked nasty "senior pic" off facebook. Although, it's actually one of the youthstaff photos from my church . . . it still smacks of senior pic...."try to look natural. . .ok don't. That was just awkward. We'll pretend that didn't happen!"

katdish said...

Oh, Jake! Shut up. You look super cute in that picture. I could have picked the one with the marks-alot boys, but you had that funky fauxhawk thing going on.

And my readers ALWAYS have something to say, regardless of whether it has anything to do with the subjec matter.

Nefarious - that is a katdish word, huh?

JML said...

I think so, it just. . . fits you. :)

natanael said...

why confuse about others? just do what you think is good in God's eyes.