Love So Good It's True
It was inevitable really. In our world, there's no such thing as too good to be true. Too good really means untrue, or it means that someone is waiting, meticulously planning, trying to find the right moment to prove that good people don't exist. Several months ago, an actor that I like, Chris Pratt, flew on my radar as an uncommon beacon of light in Hollywood's world of seemingly endless darkness, when at an awards show he took time to talk about Jesus. Since I've seen several moments like this with Pratt, he seems to be a genuine Christian man who happens to be a compelling lead man. He is almost too good to be true.
And then tonight, I was on Twitter, a place I know better than to spend my time, when I saw a headline, "Chris Pratt defends church in response to Ellen Paige criticism." And as if scripted and on cue, there it was, the person who had been waiting for the right moment to prove that Pratt was too good to be true. Her goal was clearly to take him, and his beliefs, down. Shocking. Her comments were aimed at the church's stance against the LGBTQ community. In her mind, Pratt is guilty no matter what--guilty of being anti-progress, guilty of lacking 21st century enlightenment, and most of all, guilty of daring to disagree with her secular world view.
So, I read the article where Pratt nobly defended the church as being loving and open to all. Bravo. The truth came to light in the midst of the vitriol. But then, the humanity came in as Pratt went on to say that the church doesn't define him anyway, that he forms his own beliefs. Unfortunately, as we all do in the face of attack, he took the onus off of God and started defending himself. It's not new. Peter loved Jesus in a very real way, and yet, when negatively associated with Jesus in an hour of despair, Peter denied Him three times. We're human. Things happen. I still believe Pratt to be a good man and a good face for Christianity. In a shock, he isn't Jesus.
And I get his position. I myself have been forced to defend the church--the ineffective, uninviting, self-destructive church, in which some ministers live like kings while their patrons struggle to survive. It ain't easy. But that's the enemy's goal: distract the world from Jesus, get them to see the negative, and put His ambassadors on defense and then, the love of Jesus stops spreading.
So then, two questions emerge: what should Pratt have said or done, and what is the stance of the church with regards to LGBTQ?
The second is fairly easy to answer. Homosexuality is clearly seen as sinful in the Bible. So is adultery, promiscuity, lying, stealing, disobedience toward parents, greed, pride, murder, vulgarity, idolatry, vanity, and about a thousand other sins. Secondly, Jesus tells us that sin is judged by more than our actions. Our negative, perverse, lust-filled, greedy, deceitful, despicable, dark, and dangerous thoughts are all sin. And in the book of James we learn that by being guilty of only one sin, even one evil thought, then we are guilty of THE ENTIRE LAW!
Christianity isn't about our goodness. The Bible says our good works are filthy rags. The Bible is about Jesus's goodness, and more His absolute perfection. Moreover, the perfect sacrifice of Himself as a covering for ALL our sins. One drop of his blood in our lives washes all that sin away, so that when God the Father looks at any of us who have accepted His son, Jesus, He only sees Jesus and judges us according to His perfection! We're all guilty, but still have access to freedom by simply accepting Christ!
The Bible is equal opportunity when it comes to pointing out sin. Pratt should have noted that. He should have followed up by saying that no one is beyond God's love and redemption. No one has to be judged, only those who reject Jesus Christ. So, of course the church accepts the LGBTQ community. Jesus Himself said he didn't come for those who were well but those who were sick. He wants churches filled with sinners humble enough to give their lives over to Him. That's the entire point of the gospel! The religious leaders of the day hated Him because of His desire to save all who were lost. And He passed that mandate on to us, His church.
What Jesus didn't do, and the church can't do is change the law. What is sinful is sinful regardless of how society changes or views certain behaviors. We don't get to define guilt; it's been defined for us. But the church has also lost its way by ostracizing the world because of sin. Don't close doors to sinners, open hearts and open arms to them. Love them. Build relationships with all people and always point to Christ. Eventually, if we love enough, if we are led by God's Holy Spirit, they'll come to know and accept our Savior. And when they do, we'll never have to address their behaviors with them, Jesus will do it. The Holy Spirit dwelling inside of those who receive salvation will be changed by the love and the word of God. We can't judge sin because we aren't Christ. We're imperfect and have plenty to fix within ourselves. I sin and fall short daily, but my Savior always picks me up. Thank Jesus that God looks at Him instead of me because that's my only chance.
It's sad that so many want to take the church down, and it's sad that the church is so vulnerable to attack. And so, the reality is that Chris Pratt, like many of us, was too good to be true. He's human. But Jesus, He's too good not to be true. His love mends the brokenhearted, cleanses the dirty, lifts up the downtrodden, heals the sick, raises the dead, and forgives all sin. His love changes lives. His is the love we should always point to no matter the question or conversation because it's the only love that can, has, and will continue to change the world!