Labels and Love to Combat Them: Written long ago to form my views in 2014

Believe it or not, this was written prior to the blog launch or even the blog plan. At this stage, PVX was just a thought about how I wanted to write more, I had ideas, but never stepped out and did it! (A theory posited in 2013 that set the groundwork for my decisions in 2014.)

When I look out at the world, I see brokenness. And constant attempts to figure things out. The world itself is not hostile. Hollywood is not strictly a tool of the devil. Though the devil does use it, he uses Christians too, including myself. Hollywood is a label we created, I believe, just like the world created “fetus” and “slave” to dehumanize people. We think it’s good to bash Hollywood because of its embrasive life sermon. We think that Hollywood is evil because it’s ideas do not line up with the Bible’s.

Sorry, but I’ve got news. We live in the world. The world doesn’t know Jesus, so why would it accurately portray Him? Here’s my point: Since the world doesn’t know Jesus, we shouldn’t be so offended when the world does it wrong. Hollywood and even “the world” is made of flawed, broken human beings just like you and me. The only thing that makes us different is our levels of life experience. But we ALL are human. Knowing that, I believe we can stop being so easily offended and quit being so defensive as well. Jesus can defend Himself. We do a pretty bang up job when we take that upon ourselves. I know from experience.

IF I HAVE THE TRUTH, WHY KEEP IT TO MYSELF AND HATE OTHER PEOPLE FOR SEARCHING? The searchers are the harvest. If we stopped condemning people for cussing, drinking, sex in any way… I think Jesus’ message may have spread a little further.

His message? Not just love. I’m not saying that. Because He was and is more than just a fuzzy lovey feeling. He was radical and engaged in the culture of the day. He talked to people who no one else would, especially the (self) righteous. He was more than a teacher, more than a healer, more than an empty god idol. He was and is constant, present, real, good, true, honest, gentle, understanding.

Kindness. What about labels is kind? Hollywood, immoral people, slave, fetus, atheists, agnostics, gays, pastafarians, whatever. It’s all an excuse to dehumanize groups, cut down individuals so that we can talk about them as statistics and not consider each person. If we live by the Spirit, kindness should be a fruit in our lives.

It’s like we think since Hollywood actors, actresses, etc, live also in make believe worlds, that we can hate them. God is love, His fruits are Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Long-Suffering (akin to patience) and self control. We don’t get to take a break from fruit and start judging everyone just because they live in the make believe.

When I decide I won’t do it, that’s discernment. When I label, when I gossip, When I hate, that’s judgment.

When I think of kindness, I remember watching Moby Dick in Mrs. Page’s class. That woman knew what it meant to believe in a culture of unbelief. But in Moby Dick, there’s this quote by Ishmael. The main character.

“You Pagans could teach us Christians the art of kindness.”

I was at first a little offended. I thought it was yet another anti-Christian propaganda piece. But I believe God allowed that quote to grow me. This was not something to be offended by, this was a quote that portrayed how people view Christians. It is not wrong. Many who call themselves Christians are unkind, I know I have been. This showed me the spiritual terrain at the time, if you will… The environment many nonChristians have suffered over the years. We can’t ignore history, nor can we hide hypocrisy. I believe that until we talk about our history, we’ll be stuck being judged by our past. Until we can talk about the hypocrisy of those who were caught as well as our own indiscretions, people will think us hypocrites.

Eventually, I embraced that quote so much that I wrote it down and posted it on my bedroom wall. It reminded me that as a Christian, I need to be kinder. That’s what misportrayals of Jesus and Christianity should be. A challenge, an invitation, a reminder to try harder. I think we get so hung up on the concept of Grace that we make excuses to be lazy ass Christians. In the world, that means more than just lazy. That just means we are constantly saying, God gives me Grace, so I don’t have to try, I can just lean back on His everlasting arms.

Now, those things have their place. Jesus is a rejuvenator. Without Him, life certainly gets gray and dull. But if we’re constantly leaning on His everlasting arms, resting in His blessed assurance, and never getting out and being kind, we aren’t getting it. It’s not a free card to an all expense paid lifelong spa meditation seminar. How silly that we sit in churches on Sundays for hours talking about God but few of us ever apply what we hear.

How silly that we believe in a Man who was also a God and died on the cross for our sins. Sure it’s offensive when people say it, but truth is, that part, it’s not logical. It seems silly. And we really, I think, get in the way of God working when we get defensive about Jesus and our faith. People are right and normal to think the Bible and God strange. Until they experience Him, they can’t know.

But, when they experience Him, as it has been for me, it’s not like what they talk about in movies, not at all, not like what they talk about on the Christian internet comments, not even what they talk about in church. The freedom is so all consuming, the truth so overwhelming that it changes you from the inside out and Jesus is not just a name to say loud in a contest or to scream out a window at passersby. Jesus is now the savior of your life. Funny thing, you didn’t even know you needed saving. But now, you get it. It all makes more sense now. Not full sense. You’re still confused, you’re still human, but you don’t just feel like you have to be kind to others. You feel like you want to! That’s true kindness, and that’s true relationship with Jesus, when He literally rubs off on you. And you start sprouting His fruits, in a way not humanly possible. So, as we are Christians, we should be kinder, more joyful, loving and peaceful, setting an example in all we do. And, I gotta say, that will take WORK. Work through Grace. No longer I but Christ in me. Amen.

Well, that was a blast from the past, some thoughts from California pre-ministry school Erin. Hope you enjoyed! I’ll post again soon!

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