Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Job Opening: Hope

The more I communicate on a deeper level with people, the more I realize this one thing: people just want hope. Hope that God loves them. Hope that there's something more than conflict and pain. Hope.

For so long, the church has offered hope, but with stipulations. As if God's love displayed through Jesus' life, death and resurrection is not enough. If Jesus is not good news and hope, I don't know what is.

For some reason, we often want to pretend that we still live under the Old Testament law. That we all must measure up. That we holier-than-thou-Christians must be the voice of doom and gloom to those living in sin.

If all that were true, there was no need for Jesus.

I'll get personal for a minute. While I've not yet shared my story on my blog, I've referenced it often. I don't dance around the fact that while a Christian, and while being heavily involved in church ministries, I was living a lie. I was living in nothing short of a lifestyle of sin. That being said...

If someone had come to me during that time with a self-righteous, obnoxious attitude, telling me how wrong I was {which I already knew}, I probably would've turned a deaf ear. I probably would've left the church altogether. I'm thankful no one knew about my sin at the time because I'm pretty sure that would've happened.

All that to say, I now frequently communicate with others involved in the same type sin I participated in. I talk to people who are smack-dab in the middle of gross sin. And, you know what? They KNOW they're in sin. They don't have to be told what they're doing is wrong.

I've watched as some of these people made it through to the other side...the place where they've received redemption, reconciliation. And, along the way, I prayed for them, and encouraged them. I offered words of hope...that God loves them no matter what, and they could run to Him for forgiveness. I didn't have to warn them of consequences because they already knew they'd have to pay them. I gently shared my own consequences just to let them know they weren't alone.

I write all of this because, for some reason, people of the church often feel it's their job to make sure to chastise and condemn people living in blatant sin. Not so. Our job is to share with them the good news, the Gospel of Jesus. Our job is to encourage others to live in a love relationship with God which leads to repentance. We don't need to try to extract repentance from sinners. We don't need to heap guilt and shame upon others.

The Holy Spirit exists for a reason...He doesn't need us to do His job.

We only need to offer hope in a living, loving, good and faithful God...the Father of all fathers.


  1. You're right - when people are involved in sin, they know they are wrong. Guilt and shame keep the prodigal in the pigpen. Grace and mercy bring the prodigal home.

    Thanks for offering hope and encouragement on the way.

  2. I can't remember where, but I recently read about the prodigal. What was interesting to me was that he went home for selfish reasons and expected harshness, but received grace and mercy instead. How I can identify! (and I know you can too!)