In my life I have heard a lot of talk about “Christians” and how “Christians” are “hypocrites”. Some people believe this because they have been burned by those who say “act this way” and then do the opposite. They have watched as “Christians” repeatedly make measurement of “those sinner” and the “sinful ways” of others in judgement and condemnation. And because of this they are turned off by “the church” and “religion” and they disappear into a classification of “spiritual” but not “religious” walking away from the richness of the body of Christ.
I contemplate this today because, as I witness this debate cycle, and the current episode of Trump and his “vulgar” talk, I wonder, when leaders and members of the body of Christ publicly renounce a person because his or her sins have been made known, what message does the church send to the world? I wonder if those outside the church see this as another example of how the church really doesn’t want “their kind” around?
Yes, I understand that this is a difficult spot, and tension is rising. Yes, I understand that there are many people out their who a victims of sexual abuse and the church needs to be leaders in stopping the cultural practices that allows this form of oppression to flourish. And yes leaders and members of the church need to advocates for those who are victims. But are we not also responsible to those who perpetrate the system of oppression, helping them, teaching them, enlightening them to the forces that keep them bound into they system that allows them to be oppressors? I think this is what Martin Luther King Jr. was trying to do with the jailer; to show the jailer how he is caught in a system of lies that allow one to have authority over the other. (See Letters from Birmingham Jail.)
As Christian leaders and as member of the body of Christ we are responsible for all people who show up as sinners, not just a select few, for if Christianity is only about a select few then we will quickly find that none of us are welcome, for all are sinners and all have fallen short of the Glory of God.
So as we go forward, I for one will be carefully monitoring how I share my political opinions because it just so happens that in an attempt to do what is right we may accidentally be sending a message we don’t mean to send. Mainly that sinners are not welcome.