My girl, my spirit-animal, Jen Hatmaker, is having a tough week. And if we were real friends, not just besties in my head (though seriously, we would be besties if she knew me), I’d have shown up on her front porch with a bottle of wine, offered some encouraging words, and I would have likely been armed with some inappropriate memes to lighten the mood. Because that’s how I roll.
I also would have taken a moment to remind her that this past week, though it would make it no less painful, is why she and I (and countless others) no longer subscribe to the exact representation of the Christian faith we were raised in.
In the midst of the soul-damning vitriol spouted from the mouths (okay, fingers, since they were typing) of people who have been commanded to “Love your neighbor,” I would remind her that love is actually at the center of the Christian faith, not legalistic gatekeeping that seems to run rampant in certain circles of Christianity.
The same people who “are to let your light shine” and who’ve been commanded to be “my witnesses…. in all of the world,’ spend a lot of time making sure everyone around them understands that while they themselves have a strong, secure faith grounded in the word of God, anyone who disagrees with them, may be destined for an eternity separated from God if they are not careful.
And that makes my heart hurt. Not just for the individual at the center of the most recent storm. But for the Church, the body of Christ, that all believers can call their own. When the arm tries to deny the very existence of the leg, the body of Christ, the Church, will not only become inefficient but it will begin to implode.
There is nothing I am more passionate about than the word of God. It’s timeless. It’s priceless. It’s our instruction book for how we are to get through this thing called life (Cue Prince song here…). But the problem with the infallible word of God…..fallible folks, like us, are trying to make sense of it.
I’ve spent the last 20 years learning as much as I can about what it means to live an authentic and impactful Christian life with a faith that is rooted in scripture and sound in practice. And I’m still learning something new every day.
But I continue to grow in my faith. I continue to open the word of God. I continue to allow the holy spirit to open my eyes to what I wasn’t seeing before.
And know what I find? That I am a hot mess. I am in need of grace. I have so much to learn about living a Christ-like life, that I do not have time to worry about the hot mess of someone else’s life. That’s right..I actually am working on the “plank in my own eye.” And if we all did that, this whole body-of-Christ thing would work much better.
I have enough faith in the power of the holy spirit to work in the lives of believers around me that I don’t need to nitpick every ounce of their theology to make myself feel more righteous in my own.
If you disagree with Jen (or any other believer) on her stance, pray for the holy spirit to work in her life. And sometimes when we are praying the fire of the holy spirit down on someone else’s head, we may catch a little of that conviction and realize that perhaps we weren’t as accurate as we once thought we were.
For an opposing view on this subject read: Here’s Why I Don’t Agree With Jen Hatmaker