On the one hand we have an attitude of righteousness as Conservative Christians. We condemn certain lifestyles as abhorrent, and declare the judgment of God upon those people. Jesus did this, and it is good that we try to follow in his footsteps. I am told by Bible scholars that Jesus spent the great majority of his time talking about Hell and judgment for those who do not repent.
But let us remember that Jesus also taught us great compassion. One of the many poignant moments that define my life came when I was working with the homeless in Los Angeles. I worked with a friend whom I respected and admired very much. He would often pick out the homeless man who was totally emaciated, perhaps from his alcoholism. Lice often crawled on his shirt, which in any case was dirty beyond description. To these men my friend George would go, and hug the men, saying gentle things which I could not hear, but which often brought a genuine human smile from a poor wretch. Often as not, both would disappear into George’s office, and there he would try to reach through to the man’s soul.
When I think of George I often think of the pictures I would see on TV of Mother Theresa, hugging the lepers and the poor pitiful souls that she would give her life of service to. I am convinced that both George and Mother Theresa had something which I need- something which was also present within Jesus. Remember the woman taken in adultery and about to be stoned? Jesus stood by her side, not praising her lifestyle, but standing against the men who would have taken her life. Those people Jesus reminded of their own sin, and they, being convicted by their own sin left the woman to Jesus. He remonstrated her, telling her to go forth and sin no more.
We Christians are sometimes known by what we are against. We are against drinking and dancing. We are against divorce and decadence. Homer and Jethro sing a sing that says, “I don’t smoke, I don’t chew, and I don’t go with girls that do.” A funny ditty, but illustrative of how society has seen us. We are defined thus by what we are against, and not at all by what we are for. How can we not be known for being a people of compassion, a people who care for the downtrodden? The challenge to us is to love those who sin in spite of their sin, and to be known as men who love rather than men who don’t. The world should see our love so vibrant and overpowering that it eclipses that which we are still not doing. Our lifestyle calling is to purity, and self control, but our love should shine so brightly that it becomes what the world sees when it sees Christians