When I posted a blog called Here's My Problem, Oprah on Sunday afternoon, I knew I was going to kick up some dust. After all, most of my deepest heart-wounds in ministry have come from Christian family members who have appointed themselves as Jesus policemen, patrolling the lives of complete strangers on the Internet and citing religious tickets, with zero attempt for understanding through relationship.
But opinions made through a partial lens, when hurled from afar, can be dangerous bombs that cause a lot of division and hurt—and a lot of people armed with a keyboard and an online platform claim to be experts on people they've never attempted to meet. (Proverbs 16:2) As a woman living each heartbeat to be more like the Jesus whose continues to love me to life, I find that the more I seek to look at the world through His eyes, my personal lens has changed from seeing people in black and white, to seeing in brilliant technicolor.
So, to continue my value-statements as a Christian leader:
I will always look for God in every circumstance, and focus on what He is up to.
When a bug splats on your windshield while driving down the road, staring at the bug in frustration means a splatted bug is all you're going to see. But if you refocus your vision, zooming out to see the expansive of a world in front of you, the frustrating bug is all but forgotten.
If I had been looking for what was wrong with Oprah and her theology last weekend in San Jose, I'm sure I could have found something. But when you play in the dirt, you end up getting dirty yourself. Whatever you focus on consumes your heart, so why wouldn't I want to be consumed with anything but the fact that Jesus was being worshiped at a mainstream arena in front of thousands of people?
It's harder to see what others are doing wrong when you're committing to focus on what God is doing right, then doing what He does.
It's harder to see the bad when you're overwhelmed with the goodness of God, then acting like Him.
It's harder to be deceived by darkness when you're consumed with living in the light of heaven—then establishing that new kingdom on earth. (Matthew 6)
My beautiful Father is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all. (I John 1:5) And as I look for His well-lit fingerprints in every place, with every person, and every broken, bleeding heart……a funny thing begins to happen.
Light does what it was created to do—erase the darkness.
I will not love with an agenda.
A wise man once said, “God doesn't just love—God IS love.” That means, as someone made in the image of God, I get to be love whether or not anyone ever receives it.
True love is never given with an agenda to change someone. Love simply loves for the sake of loving. But the funny thing is, pure love ends up tearing down walls and changing everything.
As a Christian, I'm not living to be right. I'm living to be like Jesus.
Remember when you were 16, and you were convinced you knew it all? Thank goodness my parents didn't disown me because I acted like a moron while learning the ropes of life. And at 21 when I thought my church was better than every other church in the world and we knew more than everyone else—thank goodness my gracious parents kept inviting me home for the holidays, even while I acted like a condemning fool.
But because we were apart of a family, we were committed to going on a journey together—through the good times, and the times that I resembled a total fool. The church is a family, not an institution. So when family members act crazy (like I have on many occasions), we get the great opportunity to give the gift the Jesus gave us—sigh deep with grace, & love even deeper.
Spiritual maturity isn't about judging a moment of someone's existence and cutting them off because they believe differently—it's about seeing what God is doing, and continuing to partner with Him to see that person bloom to life.
And that always requires relationship.
At this very moment, I guarantee you I'm deceived about something. And how do I know this? Because no one person has ever been entirely right—except Jesus . If history is any test, at some point in the future I'll discover that an opinion that I have at this very moment is entirely wrong, and I'll repent (metanoia which means to change one's mind), and move away from what I thought to be true towards the light, being transformed by the renewing of my mind.
Friends, when we throw people out like trash and label them as ‘bad people' simply because they're on a different chapter of the life-journey than we are, we miss our chance to be like Jesus. The people who helped mold me into the woman I am made a choice….when 90% of me was an idiot, they chose to focus on the 10% that God was beginning to transform. And as they called out the 10%, it turned into 20%. And as they loved on the 20%—bringing correction with love through relationship—the 20% became 30%.
I will never be entirely right on this earth. But you better believe, I will always be loved—even when I'm wrong. So that is always what I seek to give away.
“Even though I may not believe in all of a person's beliefs, I will always believe in the person.” –my Studhub, Lucas Gifford
The point of my blog on Sunday wasn't to defend the theology of a woman that I've never even met. The point was to find where our beautiful Father was working, shine His light on it, and give Him even the glory for working in a place that we (as Christians) sometimes don't expect Him to work. But even if Oprah and I had the chance to sit down over a good cup of coffee and begin to talk, finding theological disputes and differences in our God view, it really wouldn't change much. Because at the end of the day, I've decided who I want to be in all circumstances.
And I want to be like Jesus.
- “Guidance, like all God's acts of blessing under the covenant of grace, is a sovereign act. Not merely does God will to guide us in the sense of showing us his way, that we may tread it; he wills also to guide us in the more fundamental sense of ensuring that, whatever happens, whatever mistakes we may make, we shall come safely home. Slippings and strayings there will be, no doubt, but the everlasting arms are beneath us; we shall be caught, rescued, restored.
This is God's promise; this is how good he is.”
1 Peter 4:7-11
“Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time.”