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Strip Joints and Thrown Stones.

A few nights ago, as I was driving home from my parents' house, I passed our friendly neighborhood strip joint, as per usual.

But that night, it broke my heart.

Not because of the lost and hurting inside its doors, not because of the objectification of women or the inevitable infidelity of its patrons, but because of the group gathered outside on the street corner.

Their picket signs read:







"NOT IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD!""BAD FOR THE ECONOMY"

"GET YOUR FILTH OUT OF MY NEIGHBORHOOD"

and, my personal favorite,"PURIFY." (what are you suggesting, exactly?)






Each was marked with religious insignia, emblazoned with crosses, fish outlines, and the like.

I shook my head and drove on, until the worst of it caught my eye.

A man was holding a giant wooden cross (you know, like the ones we use in our Easter plays?) with the following words painted on it:

"SINNERS! He didn't sacrifice his body so you could sell yours."
Well said, sir. Excellent. I imagine this display of love really impacted those girls, gave them hope, and drew them into the comfort of forgiveness by grace. +2 Jesus Points for you. Naaaht.



This is not evangelism. This is not the message of Jesus. Dare I say this is even ungodly? (I do dare because it's my blog suckaas)




I guess somewhere along the way, these protesters were led to believe that public condemnation of those involved in a particular lifestyle was the same thing as reaching the community with the gospel. Want to know what I think? I think that exactly *zero* people were moved to repentance as a result of this display, and thousands of drivers-by searching for truth saw this as another reason to believe that the church is full of judgmental hypocrites.


We're supposed to be like the guy who stood up for a woman caught in the act of adultery. He calmly asked that he who was without sin be the first to cast a stone. He by no means condoned her acts--he said, "Go now, and leave your life of sin."--but not before he taught her judges a thing or two about condemnation. The actions of Jesus very clearly point toward lives being changed through love and compassion, followed by direction. This corner brigade showed none of the above. I have to think they're missing the point.


When we ignore what Jesus deomonstrated in his kindness and love, we miss the point of his entire life. Jesus did not live among us and then die for us so that we "enlightened" could go around wagging our finger in people's faces and hollering about how much more righteous we are than them. I don't take off my clothes for money, but I certainly fall short of perfection, which makes me equally as unworthy of God's love or eternal life than any person in that strip club. Thankfully, I have a close friend who puts in a good word for me with the Big Guy. That is the only difference between me and the women being criticized.


Let's show the world how hard we can love them, instead of how hard we can throw stones.








Comments

Daniel said…
Well said, EB! It is the honey vs. vinegar argument. Love conquers all, not condemnation.
Pastor Billy said…
Good Word Em. It's easier to judge than to show grace and love. I can judge someone without ever needing to speak to them. To offer grace and love I have to get engaged in their lives. And how quick we are to forget that we are in need of the same grace the sinners are.

We have picketers all the time outside the neighborhood Planned Parenthood. Like the young girl who feels she has no options and is already afraid of what people are going to think will come to the picketer and ask for their councel.

Those people that picket and say stuff like God hates ______. The next time I see them I'm going to go across the street from them and have one that says God Hates Picketers.
EB said…
Nice idea Billy! That would be hilarious.

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