Aints and Saints
Photo Credit: Alana Dae Photography
I’m going to say something that will be wildly unpopular with “Aints” (otherwise known as Saints that are Christian in title only) and likely give pause to Saints (or true Christians). It’s my opinion. Like it or not, it’s how I feel.
It bothers me when “Christians” use biblical principle to depress and condemn. It further bothers me when The Word of God is used as a weapon. Unfortunately, this behavior runs rampant in the black church (although clearly present across the board). It’s crazy that Black people are so critical and harsh given the freedoms and respect we continue to lobby for. Not too long ago, it was unlawful to marry us if you were of a different race and it was also considered vile to use the same water fountain or eat from the same table. Yet after all of these years, we’ll use God to hurl the nastiest condemnation and draw the harshest lines between “us” (saints) and “them” (sinners). That, my friends, is irony.
The God I know and serve is love. His guiding principles are love, grace, mercy, kindness, forgiveness and redemption. You can live a life of reckless abandon and debauchery. If with your last breath you repent and invite Him into your heart, He will take you in and wash it clean. No questions asked. Just like that. It’s all He requires. Just one moment, of all the moments, He gives you in a lifetime. That’s how much He loves us. That’s how much He’s rooting for us to win.
I was recently ordained as a minister for the sole purpose of presiding over the wedding ceremony of my best friend. As I researched scripture in preparation for the ceremony, the Holy Spirit lead me to search how many times the word “love” appears in His Word. It is actually one of the most cited words in the Bible appearing on average 478 times (depending on the version). The only words that appear more are His name (God, The Father, Jesus) and “heart”. Why is this important? What does that tell me? That even though He gives the responsibility of following and adhering to the rule of his Word, He moves, decides, responds and even rebukes in … love. Our greatest responsibility is to exalt / honor Him and to LOVE.
Now, why has all of this bubbled up for me? Where am I going with all of this? Recently I watched the words shared by Kim Burrell condemning homosexuality and I have witnessed some of the fall out. And while I believe her to be an extremely gifted musical artist, and no doubt a woman of God and believer, she was dead wrong to go “there”. Why hypocritically condemn behavior or a lifestyle that you clearly turn a blind eye to when it plays a “mean keyboard” or directs your choir or stands proudly in your pulpit setting the tone for worship? Why judge behavior rooted in a struggle that you will NEVER understand? Why be so incredibly insensitive and disrespectful? I’m disappointed in her … as a fan and Christian woman. In fact, I’d be happy if the church took it’s hands off homosexuality altogether. I can’t imagine the shame a gay person must feel when they come to church looking to receive God’s peace and be embraced by His love and saving grace, only to be greeted by harsh conviction, biased condemnation and hate. That’s not God. That’s man’s interpretation of God. And it’s wrong.
Let me be clear: Hate speech is still hate speech even when it’s masked by biblical principle. Just because you use the Word to justify your hatred doesn’t mean you aren’t perpetuating a very real, disgusting and dangerous bias. And furthermore, you should check the spirit that’s guiding you to do so. I can assure you it’s not of God.
Rule of thumb: If an action is challenging to perform consistently (i.e. unconditional love, inclusion, acceptance), and you feel resistant to it, there’s a pretty good chance God is in there somewhere. Imagine all of the things He witnesses in every moment of every day and He still choses to love us. Can you imagine? Every rape, every murder, every lie and every heartbreak. He sees it all. And still, He only requires one moment to acknowledge Him … just … one. And in that split second He’ll scoop you up and never look back at one foul thing you’ve ever done. No greater love …
Are you capable of doing the same? Are you capable of loving like that? Well, I’d like to challenge you. Start there. Use your energy to love with wild abandon and do so unconditionally. You’ll win more hearts for Christ that way and you’ll certainly have a much healthier spirit and soul.
Love you. Mean it. No matter who you are and how you chose to live your life. When I make it to the gates and He audits my choices, I’ll stand proud that I practiced love above all.