Was Jesus Unloving By CBOQ Standards?
Our Canadian culture is becoming increasingly more hostile and skeptical of organized religion, especially to evangelical Christianity. This increasing hostility has led many professing Christians to accommodate on some of the harder issues so they can be less abrasive to the people they are trying to reach, namely in the area of human sexuality. Because of this accommodation they have unfortunately become unfaithful to Jesus Christ, yet they claim that they still are faithful because they love. I often wonder concerning these Christians, "What makes them so ashamed of Jesus and His words"?
Furthermore I often think of two quotes from people who are not even Christians. First by Winston Churchill "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." And the second quote is from Aristotle. He pontificates, "There is only one way to avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing"!
This is exactly the trap that many professing Christians in Canada have fallen into, the act of "being nothing" for Jesus. These politically correct, "self-professing" loving Christians think that if we just show love to people and pure acceptance, society will see our love and they will just want to join in and be a follower of Jesus. They in essence abuse the scripture found in John 13:35, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
Note that Jesus teaches here that if we love each other, they will know that we are followers of Jesus Christ, not they will become Christians.
When you look at the gospel of John and the character of Jesus portrayed by John, we see that Jesus was not politically correct. On the flipside He was not a bully or a tyrant either. He was love to the extreme. Jesus had strong conviction and strong compassion. I have surveyed the gospel of John and brought out three points concerning Jesus and our CBOQ dilemma in the area of human sexuality:
1. There is no one more loving than Jesus
The love of God is a big theme in the gospel of John. John portrays Jesus as a loving person and Saviour. John records Jesus as having a disciple that He loved (13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7). We also see the extreme care and love of Jesus with the family of Lazarus, Mary and Martha (11:5). Even the Jews see this love that Jesus had for Lazarus when they say, "see how He loved him! (11:36)"
We can say with utter confidence because of John and the testimony of the rest of the New Testament, that no one was more loving than Jesus. Jesus is our example of love, humility, care and compassion. Finally, all the acts of love that Jesus showed on earth do not even compare to His act of dying in place of, paying the punishment for the sin of the world. As John even writes in 15:13, "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."
When it comes to love, Jesus is our greatest example. You cannot talk about love apart from Jesus' death, life and teaching!
2. Jesus spoke words that the average Canadian would see as not loving
Two stories in John really stick out with regard to Jesus speaking very cutting words to people.
In John 5:1-17, Jesus heals a man who is lame for 38 years. This man does not even know who had healed him (5:8-13). The Jews see this man carrying his mat or bed on the Sabbath. The Jews question this man to why He is breaking the Sabbath (5:10-11). After the ex-lame man's confrontation with the Jews, Jesus seeks out this man later and says to him "See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you. (5:14)"
Jesus not only tells this man to stop sinning, but Jesus actually warns him that if he does not leave his life of sin something worse will happen to him. Of course the something worse that Jesus is referring to, relates to the eternal death that comes to those who reject Jesus Christ. So here we see that Jesus is 100% loving, He cared for the man and even healed him, but he calls out the sin of this man and warns him that if he remains in sin, he will be held accountable for his sin and thus punished.
The second is the famous story of the woman caught in adultery found in John 7:53-8:11. This is when Jesus is bombarded by some Jews, who have brought a woman caught in the act of adultery. According to Jewish Law this woman is to be stoned (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22). But Jesus calls them all out, saying "that if they are without sin, then they can cast the first stone". Of course no one is without sin (8:7), so no one stones this woman caught in the adulterous act. These Jews all leave Jesus starting with the oldest. But Jesus says something very bold to her. No one had condemned her to death by means of stoning, but Jesus gives her a command in John 8:11 "go, and from now on sin no more."
Often and especially in the CBOQ, people use this passage to say that you can never call anyone's actions sin. They say, "if you call out sin or call certain vices sin, then you are casting stones at people". They have missed the point of the passage. If anyone is casting stones they are seeking to execute someone, sentencing them to death. To say what Jesus says here, to leave sin, would never be an act of execution. Unfortunately, this passage has been used as a weapon against the truth that all Christians should live pure and holy lives, and if we are in sin, we should be called out by fellow Christians. Jesus is clear: we are not to live lives of sin!
3. Jesus is love but was hated by many
Although Jesus was the extreme example of love, as we see in the gospel of John, that love was not always reciprocated. In fact the opposite was expressed towards Him. There is a key word in the gospel of John that exposes the great hostility of people towards Jesus. The word is "seek" and it is used 17 times with regard to people seeking to harm, stone, kill or arrest Jesus!
Jesus heals a man who was lame for thirty eight years and you would think that the religious Jews would have been ecstatic that a man's life was changed forever. But because of His healing, they seek to kill Jesus (5:18). Jesus could no longer travel openly in the land of Judea because the Jews were seeking to kill Him because of His teaching (7:1). Jesus speaks the truths of the word of God to the Jews and they seek to kill Him (8:37, 40, 59). Jesus speaks the truths concerning His oneness with the Father and the Jews seek to stone Him (10:39; 11:8). As we all know, Jesus was condemned to death by the Sanhedrin, and put to death. So here as we look at Jesus and His life, we have the most loving person, but yet because of His message of Love and Life, He is hated and finally put to death.
1. Make Sure you are in the Love of God
Unfortunately, many preachers and churches have made the love of God so broad that love does not even have any meaning anymore. The Biblical description of the love of God is God sending His Son (John 3:16) for the purpose of Jesus showing His love by dying as a sacrifice for sin in the place of His people (John 15:13). When you hear "love as a Christian", if you do not think of Jesus and His work, then you have not understood love. The love of God is what enables us to be included into the family of God by means of the work of Christ on the Cross! God gives His free gift of Grace. And God calls us to respond to His love and grace, just as John says over 80 times in his gospel. We must respond with faith or trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ!
2. Stop Being a People Pleaser
We all have a little bit of people pleaser in us all. I guess no one really wants to be hated. But the current attitude of the CBOQ, is that they desire to please society with kindness and because in so doing society will become Christian. This is partly the reason why many of our CBOQ churches are dying either numerically or spiritually! Jesus sought to please no one but the Father (John 6:38) and said some very anti-Canadian things. Jesus did not affirm sin. Neither should we as followers of Jesus. If you are giving into pleasing people and not calling out sin, you need to repent and seek the Lord that He would give you boldness to make His glory and majesty known!
3. Love the Truth and Love People
The knee jerk reaction for many is that this article might be a call to be an unloving person. But we have already built the undeniable case that no one is more loving than Jesus. Jesus clearly called out sin. We as churches, ministers and followers of the Lord Jesus must love the truth of God's word and as well love people. The act of loving people is calling out people for their sin, just like Jesus did. Those who say you cannot call sin a sin, do not know love. These would call Jesus unloving. If Jesus is unloving to you then you do not know love!