I have forgotten the Story.

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{Written and inspired after listening to Matt Chandler’s Sermon : God the Protector and Defender}

We have lost sight of the bigger story. I have lost sight of the Story. The only Story that is playing out today and has been playing since the beginning of time.

It’s the story of the Gospel.

My heart has been heavy, broken, and saddened by where we have found ourselves as the Church. We seem to not know what to do when our morals and our beliefs are now the ones being ridiculed and questioned. When we do speak and we are met with the label intolerance and hateful, we then become quiet and keep our beliefs to ourselves and the places where we feel safe.

Over the last year I have wrestled with MY response. Where is my part to play in this? Do I speak or do I remain quiet to ensure my name won’t be thrown out there as intolerant or self righteous. Only He knows my heart and He knows that on days I can be both of those things indeed. I am quick to judge, I am quick to be passionate about truths and can come across as unloving, and I have for SURE made my mistakes here in a different culture. I am guilty. Guilty of all of those things.

But the great thing about the Story is that when Adam and Eve joined the enemy’s team our God did not respond in anger and throw up His hands to say, “I’m done. Have it your way.” They ran in shame and hid in guilt and he came after them. He not only came to find them but He clothed them. Clothed them. The ones who just damaged the most harmonious relationship, He came and covered them so they would not be ashamed of their naked bodies.

Many days and moments here bring about such paralyzation due to the enormous amount of needs, suffering, hurt, hopelessness and poverty. It all is too much. Some days I find myself just wanting to find myself in a place where an extended stomach is not every other child, a place where children have incredible free education, where women are not seen as objects, darkness is not as evident, and hospitals that treat the sick and I just become numb. When a need is in front of me I find myself becoming angry that they are presenting it to me. I can become cynical and jaded.

In America it looked more like boredom and a life with no meaning. I just went about my days worried about things we worry about in a privileged country….what was the next thing exciting on my calendar to look forward to? Who was I going to hang out with over the weekend? Do I have enough? How can I be better? Can I build my platform with more beautifully perfected squares on social media?

I forget what C.S. Lewis stated…”There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.” 

These people in front of me – they are not just another face of someone who needs something – not another face of a neighbor – not another face of a waiter – not another co-worker, they are eternal beings. ETERNAL. Either eternal in life or eternal in death.

We are here to push back the darkness, right where you are, so that we can tell the Story. He has placed us in these places to be a Harold of this Good News.

The reason we have lost the grace and compassion to push back the darkness is because we have lost sight of this.

We can forget that He did not come to condemn the world but to redeem and save us. To destroy the Enemy in order that we could be saved. He has come to rescue us from condemnation, not to condemn us.

I need to be reminded that it is my part to push back the darkness where He has placed me. To not be silent because I fear condemnation, not to be paralized because I am overwhelmed, not to see the people standing in front of me as my project, not to shy away from those that have different beliefs, those who preach a false doctrine, but as an eternal being that I have the opportunity to change their eternity.

How does this look?

“It means our dinner tables are open and inviting people that don’t believe what we believe to do life with us deeply. It means we love well and we have compassion, we seek to understand and we put before people what is good, right, and beautiful about Jesus. It means we don’t do drive by guiltings or say really foolish things online that can isolate or spark up anger for the sake of controversy. This was not the way of Jesus Christ.”

“We can say, ‘He rebuked the Pharisees.’ We are the Pharisees, that is us. The woman caught in adultery?  How did he treat her? Compassion. The woman at the well? Compassion. Zachius? He went to his house for dinner. It is with compassion, empathy, grace, patience, genuine friendship that darkness is pushed back.” -Matt Chandler

I pray that my table is open to all. That it won’t be just a one time dinner to say I did it but it would be an on going relationship that is deepened with those that are not like me, those that make me uncomfortable, those I disagree with. I want to see them not as mere mortals. I want to see them as the glorious beings they will one day be when we get our new bodies.

I pray that when we make mistakes in how we love people, how we respond to those mistakes, and when we represent Him not as the God who came to save and rescue us from condemnation but we condemn on behalf of Him…oh that He would continue to have patience for us and change our hearts. Change my heart.

May we speak with conviction that is laced with the truth of the Bible, the truth of the Greater Story which is from a heart of love, mercy, grace, compassion and a fierce warrior who is fighting on our behalf.

 

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