God is always much kinder and gentler with me than I expect.
For one reason or another, whether it’s because I was preconditioned in a half Christian home to believe God needed the blood of his only son to forgive my sins, or if its because I have heard grace and truth be preached as if they are two separate things rather than one. I expect wrath from God first, and then maybe mercy.
As if grace is an afterthought to God rather than who God is.
Yet in my own walk with the Lord and in the biblical accounts of Jesus’ life I see none of that.
I see a God who gets on the same level, even physically, as the woman who is about to be stoned to death by religious leaders. A physical posture that says, “Look at me, I am in this with you and it is going to be okay”.
I see a God who sees the person with leprosy instead of the sores on his skin or the reaction of the crowd.
I see a God who always picks the side of grace.
I see Jesus strung up on the cross, withstanding the worst humanity has to offer and still crying, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”.
Thankfully, I see a church that is beginning to operate in this way as well.
As a millennial, we get a pretty bad rep. Lazy, judgmental, sensitive, and close-minded while claiming to be open-minded. Naïve to the state of our world and wishy-washy on matters of absolute truth.
I would argue Jesus probably got a very similar reputation in his day.
As John Eldredge puts it, Jesus was a “Beautiful outlaw”. He did not gain the favor of religious leaders or political figures.
He was murdered by his own kind and accused of being possessed by the devil.
He hung out with people he wasn’t supposed to and questioned political agendas.
He was seen as radical. Unpredictable. Too concerned with people and not concerned enough with law or “truth”. He spoke to the poor and the sick. He offered them a hope that was seen as unrealistic (living water? Bread of life? Eternal life?)
He reinterpreted ancient laws, he redefined truth and what matters most (Love God with your whole being and love your neighbor as yourself).
The Bible is very political. More so, the gospel is incredibly political. Everything from the statement “Jesus is Lord” to apocalyptic literature found in the book of Revelation.
Politics are everywhere.
Thus it is impossible to say, “I am a Christian but I am not concerned with politics”. Friend, if you are a Christian then you are required to be concerned with politics whether you like it or not. Whether you are aware of it or not. This is because loving the “least of these” is in direct opposition to the way American economics work. The least of these are what some people in political power might call “losers”.
I am not ignorant to the fact many of my brothers and sisters stopped tracking with me during the last few lines. Being called a liberal heretic is nothing new, but I pray the gospel and its transformative power at least opens our minds to the possibility God is always bigger, dirtier, more present and more understanding than we might first believe.
We serve a God with dirty feet.
One who is not scared away by sin or the depths of the human soul. But one who sees the whole person and their whole story.
One who is on the forefront of fighting for justice through love and understanding. One who is not scared to flip tables and ideologies.
One who sees himself in every human-being and calls them son and daughter rather than broken or sinner.
This is the God I am becoming more and more aware exists and I am thankful for it every single day.