"Just Love Everyone."
Those were the first words on a sign outside of a church. The next line said: "I'll sort 'em out later. -- Love, God."
I just love that, don't you? I don't think there could be a more appropriate message on Easter Sunday. God loves you so much that He was willing to kill His Son so you wouldn't be separated from Him now or in eternity. It had to be that way because the penalty for sin (and we all fall short of perfection) is death and eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23)
"Just love everyone. I'll sort 'em out later. Love, God." That makes me breathe easier. It relieves me of having to judge. Of me having to figure out if homosexuality is a sin. Or if gossip is just as big a sin as genocide. Or why the pedophile gets a shot at heaven just like the preacher. Or why the person who sins over and over again, but is truly repentant in his heart, still gets God's grace and ridiculous amounts of love every day.
All I know is that I am ecstatic that God's grace isn't just for "mankind" -- it actually applies to me -- little ole selfish, fearful, proud me. I hope you're thankful, too.
But this feel-good, politically correct, "to each their own" message has a hidden side that's not so comfy and cozy.
If this message is truly consistent with God's heart and character -- and, for the record, I believe it is --here are three things to remember.
1. Being loving to people can be tough sometimes. Parents reprimand their kids. Coaches correct their players. God disciplines us. Friends pull their friends aside and say "You gotta stop." If love means meeting a person's physical, spiritual, and emotional needs, then telling the truth in love -- and the potential of ruffling someones' feathers in the short-term -- is worth it in the long-term.
2. Loving people means telling them about Jesus. If you profess to be a Christian, by definition you believe that trusting Jesus and accepting His sacrifice in place of our punishment is the pathway to heaven. Loving people by being PC, letting people "do their own thing", and performing great acts of humanitarianism are not loving if you're not telling them about Jesus, too. It may be uncomfortable to "talk religion" with others, but withholding the news about Jesus is actually the cruelest and least loving thing a Christian could do to their fellow man.
3. God WILL sort them out later. It's not our job to judge people, but it is God's. The sorting process is simple: Some go to heaven and some go to hell. The ticket to heaven is just as simple: Turn away from anything the bible says is sin, accept Jesus' sacrifice, and do your level best to follow Christ's teachings. End of story. Anyone who explains salvation in more complicated terms is over-engineering things.
And so this Easter Sunday I encourage you lean on God's strength to shift your heart to this posture: Thank God. Love people. Judge not. Share the gospel.