Once upon a time I came across an article about hurting people and the church.
Several lines from the article went something like this...
I gave her some money and told her if she used the money for alcohol or drugs- God wouldn't bless it.
It went on to read something like this....
I have yet to get to the bold place that my leader has...
He tells homeless people that if they use his money for drugs or alcohol that God will
rot their gut.
They usually give the money back.
Those words that sounded like clanging cymbals and nothing like love.
Those words that sounded like hypocrisy dressed up in good church lady clothing.
Those words that didn't match the heart of our Savior.
Didn't sound nothin' like my Jesus.
It also brought back a flood of emotions that I thought I buried at the foot of the cross years ago.
Apparently they are alive and well at the reading of this article.
And maybe it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up and a holy anger rise up inside because I know all to well what judgement feels like.
I've had more folks shake their head at me in utter disgust during my lifetime than one can imagine.
And those who just shouted the words "You need Jesus!"
The unfortunate thing is not one of them ever showed me who He is.
Shouting someone down with a bunch of memorized scriptures doesn't count either....
Let the truth be known.
None of us can show any of us who He really is- if we don't even know ourselves.
And if we are partaking of His goodness and of His grace and then not extending that to others...
We may not really know Him. We may just know of Him.
One of the scriptures that has meant the most to me throughout my walk is this one...
The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:29
Let that sink in for just a minute.
Here are a few other versions of the same scripture.
For God's gifts and His call can never be withdrawn.
God's gifts and God's call are under full warranty—never canceled, never rescinded.
For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
You mean to tell me that the gifts of God come without repentance and the call of God on our lives is irrevocable?
You mean to tell me that we can be the worst in the world's eyes and God still pours out His gifts?
And that God still will not revoke the call on our lives?
And that no matter what- His gifts come without repentance?
That means you can be homeless or just hateful. You can be a prostitute or a drug addict.
You can never set foot in a church your whole life and make every possible mistake known to man-
God will not take away His gifts and He will not revoke the call on your life. He will not withhold.
Let that sink in for just a minute.
I'm not saying that we should live our life trying to make every mistake known to man.
I'm just saying that if God, the creator of the universe -
The great I AM-
The all knowing One-
If He doesn't take away, withhold or revoke His love, His goodness, His mercy, His grace, His peace, His joy, His goodness, His gifts, His forgiveness....
If He doesn't love conditionally...
Then why do we?
Why do we tell sons and daughters of the living God when they are at their lowest- their worst...
That if they don't do this or that- God won't bless. That God won't bless them.
Who are we to tell God's people what He will or won't do when we ourselves have partaken of His goodness and His mercy and His grace and His love and His kindness and His forgiveness in the midst of our own wretchedness?
God won't offer them the same?
The ones who don't even know His love yet?
The ones who have no idea how much they are loved?
We measure sin and decide what is the worst and whether or not God will bless.
Whether He should bless or not.
Who are we to tell sons and daughters of the living God anything other than He loves you and let me tell you how I know...
Better yet, let me show you by demonstrating it.
After all, if it were not for the grace of God sweet friends- there go I.
How can we feast on His gifts and then tell those we deem as "less than" that they can't have the same?
As if the work of the cross was given only for the self professed good girls?
Only for those who seemingly have it all together?
Only for those who have had two loving parents and were raised up in the church?
Maybe it's just me, but I thought the work of the cross, the gift- was for all of us.
If the truth be told- we should all be face down positioned in total humility asking the Father to forgive us for the way we haven't loved. For the grace we haven't shown. For the wrongful withholding of love and goodness and gifts of mercy toward His people.
Who's to say that the gifts we extend to someone at the lowest point in their life- or at anytime really, will not be the tool that the Father uses to break every yoke in their life.
Who's to say that the fifty dollars extended in love through a car window to a precious homeless person will not be the tool that the Father uses to say this-
See, I told you I love you.
See, I told you I would provide.
See, I told you that you cannot run from my love, my goodness, my provision.
Who's to say that our humble earthly demonstrations of His love won't be the very thing to cause
someone to turn. To change. To move past. To let go. To begin to call on His name and say this...
Surely God- you really exist.
Surely God- you really do love me.
Even in my wretchedness. Even in my filth. Even in my poor decisions.
That person standing on the corner? It could have been any one of us.
If it were not for His grace.
Our life isn't blessed or great or wonderful because we have done it all perfectly. Our life, if there is anything good at all- it is because of His immeasurable grace.
Not because we deserve it or because we have earned it.
And not because we can shout every sinner down with a million scriptures we have memorized.
But because He decided to offer it. Because His gifts and the call of God on our lives are irrevocable.
None of us are worthy.
None of us are without sin or blameless. We've all fallen short of the glory of God.
He's called us to be gatherers- and yet we create division.
He's called us to be demonstrators- doers of the word and yet we sit- week after week- as hearers only.
He's called us to take the same grace we've feasted on and offer it up- not just to a select few....
but to everyone.
God gathers. God loves. God pours. God sows. God forgives. God gives grace that is incomprehensible to the human mind and spirit.
Prayers that we can all do the same. Prayers that we would be bent on demonstrating the irresistible and irrevocable love of God today and in the days and weeks to come sweet friends....