I sincerely apologize. As a man who claims to follow the teachings and mirror the allegiances of Jesus Christ, I have let you down. I fail every day in my pursuit of a spiritual ideal that goes against every fiber of my wicked human nature. I’m conflicted. In my heart I want to show you Jesus, but in my selfishness I want what I want. In my effort that I might reflect Jesus to you, I am admittedly a klutz. And my fellow Christ-followers are not doing too much better.
We’ve really blown it. We have failed miserably at showing you the way Jesus lived and loved. We are as prone to gossip as the next guy, we wrestle with fear as if we don’t know God at all, and we often place patriotism above our allegiance to God. Heck, some of us even equate patriotism with a love for God….Please forgive us.
We sometimes take on a posture that we are somehow better than you; that we have somehow obtained a level of purity that elevates us. The truth? We’re all, individually and collectively, a mess. We are still dishonest at times, though some of us seek integrity more than others in our tribe. We still endure divorce and commit infidelities, though we also champion traditional marriage, which I know must ring kinda hollow in your ears.
We talk about things like unity, yet we cannot agree on even the most basic tenets of the Christian faith. We are biblically instructed to eschew division, and yet we even have a name for our division. We call it denominations, and we have an array of denominations that must be baffling to you. We tend to argue a lot over trivial things like music, money, leadership and even Sunday morning garb. For all of this, I apologize.
You can wander into one church where the allegiance to coffee seems curiously disturbing, and into another where the haunting organ music sounds more like a Dracula movie than a place where our God is celebrated. You truly never know what you’re going to get, and don’t think for a moment that the name on the marquee out front will tell you what you can expect. What appears on the outside to be a mausoleum may prove to be loving and friendly and what appears to be a nightclub might be haughty and elitist. Again….I apologize.
Oh, and please (Please!) don’t assume that what you see on Christian television is a correct representation of Jesus. He did not take. He gave. He did not come to be served, but to serve. He did not seek earthly riches. He did not preach empty promises. In fact, he warned those who might follow Him that they would encounter hard times. He was a penniless, homeless vagabond of a God-man as much human as you and as much God as the Father in heaven. He was and is a beautiful enigma, and we have failed to portray Him to you in a manner that is accurate. Forgive us. Please forgive us.
What I am trying to say is this: Please do not reject Jesus because His kids can be such jerks. Please see that many of us are trying each day to be more like Jesus, but we are still human and trapped in bodies of flesh with minds that tend to wander. Please see past us to a loving and compassionate God who desperately wants you to know Him. Please overlook His representatives on earth and see the beauty of Jesus and the affection that He has for you. If you find His followers to be obnoxious, please know that this is not in the character of Jesus. If we appear superior, arrogant or manipulative, please don’t cast these attributes on Jesus. That’s not who He is at all.
I once had a friend who claimed to have converted to atheism. I asked why, and he blamed this decision on the dysfunction of Christians. That broke my heart. I asked him if Jesus had ever offended him, and he seemed stymied by my question. When I asked what was offensive about a humble carpenter who made blind eyes see, dead people come back to life, crippled legs dance and defied the religious snobs by touching the bodies of those who were despised and rejected, he seemed to settle down. I asked if he was offended that Jesus had immense compassion for those who were broken, entangled in sin, and hopeless….Yet reserved His most harsh and stinging words for the religious and the pious. My friend said no, these things did not offend him. I then simply encouraged him as I am encouraging you now.
Please do not throw out the indescribable opportunity to know the One who made you because some of us have failed to show Him to you.
Please do not pass on eternal life with God because we have allowed our humanness to supersede what He is trying to do in and through us. Please seek Him with an open heart. I can only tell you that I was once an addicted, angry, racist, perverted man only bent to fulfill my own desires. What once had me hopelessly ensnared is no longer powerful in my life. I am no longer a slave to sin, which is also an indictment against me, because now, I choose to sin. This is inexcusable, yet I am not alone in my struggle. Jesus is real and He forgives me time and again.
I want you to know Him like I know Him, so please do not let our collective screw ups detour you from knowing your Creator and the One who so eagerly wants you to connect with His son Jesus. It is real. He is real. And I hope you call to Him today.