This past Saturday at the Jesus Culture Los Angeles conference, I stood in front of a beautiful audience and proclaimed the goodness of my God in the midst of the deepest suffering I've ever experienced—in the recent loss of my baby girl Luca Gold.
I declared that He's not a killer—that He's a Creator. I declared His amazing will for life and life abundantly on this earth, and that none would perish. I spoke of His light, and in Him is no darkness at all. I pleaded with them to let this good Father into their pain—-that the Healer comes to restore, redeem, and revive the brokenness of our hearts and lives.
And I apparently threw out satanic hand gestures in the process. (Even typing that sentence makes me chuckle like a little school girl).
When the JC backstage crew asked if I wanted a hand held or wireless mic, I jumped at the chance to use the wireless mic. Why? Because my long, skinny arms like to flail like a bird while I'm passionately talking about my beautiful Jesus. If you've been around me at all, you know I use my hands a lot. And by ‘a lot' I mean…….a ridiculously unusual amount. It's who I am, and I have no intention of changing anytime soon.
At catering on Saturday after I spoke, I asked my good friend Darren (who works for Jesus Culture) if he thought I had said anything too controversial in my talk, to which he replied, ‘Um, no, not at all. But there's some controversy on our Jesus Culture Facebook page about you throwing out satanic hand gestures.'
For a fraction of a second, I thought he was joking. Me, accused of making satanic hand gestures during a talk where I'm making a case about the goodness of God—against the enemy? Oh yes, friends. I'm apparently full of all sorts of evil subliminal messages that I didn't know about.
(And now I'm chuckling uncontrollably again).
During my talk on Saturday, Darren clicked a picture while my flailing, bird-like arms illustrated the goodness of God, and in that fraction of a second freeze frame, my hands did what you're looking at in the picture above. Unbeknownst to me, this is some sort of satanic situation. (As well as ‘hang loose,' but no one seemed to accuse me of being a surfer).
Up until this point, I've been extremely grateful that people who disagree with my beliefs have also been incredibly respectful of my current situation—that my fragile heart is still grieving the loss of my daughter. I don't mind people disagreeing with what I believe—no one is ever going to get everything right and I'm fully aware I'll be growing and learning for the rest of my life! But I've whole-heartedly appreciated the tasteful comments through the love of strangers in my recent process of grieving over the last four months since her death.
But this satanic hand gesture thing is just so ridiculous, it doesn't really sting. It gives me a bit of comic relief.
Here's a friendly reminder from a fellow Christian who absolutely loves being a Christian. People don't want to join our family because we throw punches at each other—especially while we're wounded. We'd rather be right than be in relationship. We'd rather fight each other than than fight the real enemy. We know in part, we don't understand the fullness of someone's situation, and we think because a person is showing up in our Facebook feed, that gives us permission to give our opinion, or rip them to shreds through our keyboards—all in the name of Jesus. I guarantee you, every comment posted about how my hand gestures made people ‘uncomfortable' or how I was an agent of evil were comments from people who a) didn't listen to my message, b) don't know who I am, and c) definitely aren't aware of my heart for Jesus.
Which means, they're judging someone's HEART from a freeze frame picture they see in a Facebook feed. And this is a very dangerous thing to do.
I Samuel 16:7 says, “People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” And every day, I sure am grateful for this truth as I remind myself of the power behind these words. I can't ever judge what's in front of me because at the end of the day, I'll never know the fullness of what's in someone's heart—especially if all I have to go on is a picture and a quote that's out of context.
Our hearts can't ever be displayed in a picture. Our lives can never be read in one sentence from a sermon.
But thank goodness this beautiful God looks beyond what we can see with our eyes—peering deep inside the intentions, longings, and beatings of our hearts.
Which also means, dear friends, that as a Christian, it's my responsibility to look beyond the accusatory comments, knowing there's something in the person's heart that needs a dose of Jesus' love and grace.
Let me leave you with this thought today. The next time you start to hurl a stone at a stranger who is on stage, or on television, or because you see their picture with zero knowledge of the person behind the picture, take a moment and remember the words in Ephesians 4:29:
“Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up,[a] as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.”
My prayer is that one day Christians, we don't swing at our own—especially those who are in the process of healing. My prayer is that one day Christians, we're so loved, we have a lot of love to give away. My prayer is that one day Christians, we see through the beauty of grace, through the power of forgiveness, administering the healing kisses of kindness.
And after reading the words of Mahatma Ghandi, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ,” my prayer is, Christians, that one day, we finally look and sound like the Christ that we represent on this earth—especially when we're dealing with one another.
Which is why, for every stone thrown my way, I get to turn around and extend the greatest love of all—the love of my Jesus.