A few weeks ago, a friend of mine re-posted a tweet from someone that spoke about gay people growing up fearing the wrath of God while racists don’t. It broke my heart. As I finished reading the thread and replies all I could think of was, If He physically walked the earth today, Jesus would sit with you. Jesus would sit with you, hug you, and tell you He still loves you.
Jesus always sat and broke bread (a sign of friendship) with the people who were hated, reviled, who were told they were sinners who would feel the wrath of God. It wasn’t the Pharisees or Sadducees who Jesus preferred to be with, it was those the Sanhedrin deemed ungodly and immoral. In fact, there were a few times when Jesus insisted on sitting with “those kinds” of people. When He entered Jericho, Jesus insisted on staying at the house of Zaccheus, a tax collector and notorious sinner. When the Pharisees dragged an Adulterous Woman (who many believe was Mary Magdalene) in front of Him for judgement, Jesus “stooped down and began writing on the ground with His finger.” He literally sat down with her and refused to join in their accusations. In the end, He told her, “I do not condemn you either. Go. From now on sin no more.” One of His own best friends betrayed Him, even possibly stole from Him, and still Jesus insisted on treating him with honor and respect up to the last minute.
Jesus refused to berate these people. He never screamed hellfire and brimstone down on them. He never threatened the wrath of God upon their souls. Instead, He repeatedly loved. He repeatedly showed mercy. He repeatedly said that mankind fails but that God’s love and mercy would cover it. He repeatedly showed God’s very nature to everyone, even the people deemed unworthy and wicked.
Do you know what else He said? He said that to Hate is the same as Murder. If you hate someone you have murdered in your heart and you cannot escape the punishment of it until you have made restitution with that person. The form in which you hate does not matter. Hate is hate just as sin is sin. In Christ, there is nothing that justifies hating someone, no matter their lifestyle choices.
So here it is, the conclusion that we must all come to: If we are His people, called by His Name, ambassadors to Earth for the Father, believers in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ our King, if we are to see ourselves as His body, then are we willing to do as Jesus would do and sit with them? Are we willing to look them in the eye and say that no matter what, Jesus loves them to the point of dying for them not to deliver them from what we deem unacceptable, but to restore them to a relationship with God Himself? Are we, like Jesus, willing to meet them where they are?
Or are we guilty of looking at them with a smile and then turning and saying, “They make me sick.”? Are we going to open our mouths and scream hellfire and brimstone, punishment, and eternal torture at them when Jesus Himself cast no condemnation? Because if we are, then we are guilty of murder in our hearts, and friends, the heart is what Jesus cares about.
Let me be honest and say, I know which table I would want to sit at. In fact, its the very same table I have sat at with friends who have identified as gay or other. Those very same people are some of the most talented, friendly, funniest people I have known. I hope that when I sat down with them, that each and every one of them felt Jesus’ love through me. Hopefully I was able to meet them as Jesus does: with wide open arms, wherever they were at. Because isn’t that the goal? Not to change people’s lifestyles but to love them so that they may come to know the Father in truth?
If you have ever been berated for your choices in life, I want to tell you that God still loves you. He has not stopped reaching out to you and He waits for you with arms wide open hoping you’ll accept His gift of Love and Sacrifice so that you may enter into a true relationship with Him. God does not discriminate and He does not hate. He simply calls, “Come and I will give you rest.” When no one else will, Jesus will sit with you.