When “In The Name Of Jesus” Hurts

When I decided to start blogging again I joined a writer’s group online through the Influence Network. I wanted to learn and grow as a writer, instead I grew as an individual through the friendships of the amazing women in the group. They are wonderful.

Sweet, beautiful Frances is in our group and I am excited to share her thoughts today. She writes on a touchy subject, so if you feel lead to comment please do so in a respectful manner, as she has written this post respectfully.

I love people who love people. Frances is one of those people. Thanks for being here today.

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I tend to make it a point to avoid commenting on hot buttons; controversial topics on social media and writing about them on my blog. I have my opinions on any topic, but I would rather not debate touchy subjects on my Facebook page. Few know how to have healthy debate where it’s okay to agree to disagree and even fewer know how to fight fair. However, in the last few years, there has been so much noise from every inch of the Internet regarding what’s right or wrong in the eyes of the law and the eyes of the church that it’s getting harder and harder for me to not add to the conversation.

Rick Warren

 

One of the most frustrating stories in the media recently was the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act that was signed into law. The piece of legislature caused national backlash and a media frenzy. According to Tony Cook of the Indy Star, the legislature “prohibits state or local governments from substantially burdening a person’s ability to exercise their religion — unless the government can show that it has a compelling interest and that the action is the least-restrictive means of achieving it.” This essentially gives authority to business owners to refuse service to someone based on their personal religious convictions. In theory, I have no problem with a business refusing service, within reason. The “no shirt, no shoes, no service” signs were created for a reason. I do however have a problem when business owners are left to determine who is worthy of service and who is not based on religious beliefs.

It’s no surprise that the gay and lesbian community will be the group most affected by this bill. Before anyone assumes I am pushing the gay agenda or that I am playing fast and loose with my religious beliefs, I am not. I am a dedicated follower of Jesus, firmly rooted in God’s word. However, few can deny the fact that Christians and the gay community have not always played nicely in the sandbox together. There have been far too many instances where religion has been used to marginalize and discriminate against the gay community, leaving little room for the Gospel to take root. One can only be called an abomination so many times by Christians before their hearts become hardened to the very Good News we have all been commissioned to preach. It wasn’t that long ago that some white Christians used their religious beliefs based off of twisted interpretations of cherry picked scriptures as a justification to discriminate against and murder Black people.

Giving business owners the liberty to deny services to a certain group of people based on religious convictions gives way to the buffet style approach of scripture picking and applying them as one sees fit. Even though God sees a liar just as He does a murderer, man places various degrees of weight in regards to sin. One florist in Georgia admitted that she will not serve a gay couple but will offer services to an adulterer. To her, one sin far outweighs the other and it is worth discriminating against someone who does not live the same way she does.

Far too often, we Christians alienate so many people “in the name of Jesus” as opposed to embracing them “with the love of Jesus.” You don’t have to agree with every aspect of someone’s life to love them. Jesus made it a habit to dine with the most unsavory characters of that time like tax collectors. How have we elevated ourselves higher than our Savior to say we cannot dine with those the world marginalizes? At what point will we make space at the table and expand our capacity to love people, in spite of their sins. Perhaps when Christians start to see others with the heart of the very name we say we are defending when we turn our backs to those He also calls His children, maybe then those who are far from Him will encounter His life saving and redemptive love.

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More about Frances!

If I name all of my identifiers, my list would look something like this: Christian, mom, sister, daughter, mentor, leadership coach, friend, counselor, book lover, visionary, chef in training, disciple, missionary, slightly neurotic, lover of the lost, change maker, Instagram addict, blogger, movie fanatic, anti-human trafficking advocate, closet control freak, kingdom builder, Korean drama junkie, hopeless romantic and writer. I laugh with no restraint, I dream beyond the natural, and my potential is endless all because I let Christ mend my broken pieces. I am free.

I have wanted to be a writer since I was a kid but thanks to the bumps and bruises of life, I put that dream on hold. After a 10 year case of writers block, I finally got the writing bug last summer. I created this blog as a way to unload all the random musings and revelations taking up space in my head thanks to this amazing life changing spiritual journey I started in 2009. Now, it has become my own personal therapist couch and makeshift soapbox. You can check out my testimony and other thoughts at The Living Letter Chronicles.

Frances

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