In the past week, I have heard or been told the expression (by multiple people), “Even Jesus told the woman at the well and the man at the pool to go and sin no more.” This was told to me because I seem to be missing the logic behind these words; I am failing to live up to what Christ directed me to do when dealing with sinners. As I said, it's been said by multiple people, most of which with kind hearts.
Each time I hear this though, my brain gets all wrinkled in a painful kind of way. I first feel ashamed that I’ve done something that has needed to be corrected by so many people in such a short amount of time. I then wonder how in the world I’ve painted myself a picture of Jesus that does not match everyone else's. Then, lastly…I get fierce.
Full on, wild mane (which is not a lioness, but I think she was cheated by not getting the mane) bared teeth, pounding heart and trembling fingers. I get this strange desire to braid my hair and fashion a shield and do battle to defend myself and my silly ways. There’s this craziness that washes over me when I’ve been corrected. Maybe it happens to all people, especially arrogant pushy ones like me? I don’t know. And I am not denying that I am both arrogant and pushy when I need to be and even when I don’t mean to be. I am mouthy and opinionated and cause more trouble than it’s worth several times over. I can be dramatic and wordy, bull headed and unteachable. But when this particular word of correction surfaces, I want to scream, “I am not Jesus!”
It’s true. I am Gia. And as you can see, that pretty much means I am a huge pile of mess.
But do you know what was so special about Jesus? He was perfect. He was God’s one and only son. He was tempted by Satan in every way possible and still did not yield. He could have called down the angels to rescue Him from the cross and yet He did not. He suffered. He was persecuted. He was betrayed…
He was amazing. And that's why I really need Him in my life.
Friends, we are not Jesus. Assuming that we could pull off that one simple line with His results belittles who He was on earth and who He still is. Be honest. Has it every worked for you? Maybe once, sure, cause miracles can happen? But consistently like it did for Him? Probably not.
The second thing you should know about Jesus was that He had this fierce magnetism that drew the sinners unto Him. All He had to do was sit at the well and ask for a drink of water, ask one simple question, and the poor woman unraveled at His feet. Of course He could spend thirty minutes (if that) with the woman and then tell her to go and sin no more and she would be transformed.
He was God. He was not Gia.
I am not that special. I am just a crazy lady that also needs to unravel at the feet of my Jesus. I am a mess that needs His gentle hand to rest on my head and tell me He still loves me, that I am worth it…that He paid the price for my redemption.
I will not separate myself. I will love my neighbor. I will hold their hand. I will work with them and fellowship with them, celebrate with them, mourn with them, help with when they need it and put in all the hard work of building community with them. I will tell them that I am the same kind of mess that they are; yet we are loved, redeemed, bought and paid for. And when they see Him through my actions, they will finally be able to see my Lord. They might believe...
And they might not. I may never know.
So, friends, please do not correct me on how I feel about sinners. When you do, you are asking me to be something I cannot possibly be, or do something I cannot possibly do. Please don’t ask me to be careful when I morph into a scary Gia ready to defend the hearts of the lost, as Jesus did when He shunned religion to sit and eat with the sinners, as Jesus did when He chose to not be rescued but be crucified instead. I am doing hard, strong work and waiting for the moment hearts are ready to hear. For a girl that IS NOT patient, this isn’t easy for me, but it’s worth it. And I suppose for a girl that wants so much to be accepted and appreciated, inspire and lead, it isn't easy for me to know that my views are actually very unpopular and I am doing nothing to inspire my peers. In fact, I appear to simply be this rebel trouble maker, very much like the one I was in Sunday School growing up. I thought I would grow out of this...
It's gotten worse.
And if all else fails, please just refer to what is true about me. I am mean. I’m a lion. I am fierce, arrogant and pushy, unteachable (for the most part) and a HUGE sinner in desperate need of Jesus. I am mouthy and will always appear to be that way when it comes to loving others outside of the church. I love Homosexuals. I love green people and purple people. I love human beings and aliens. I love Muslims and Jehovah Witnesses (I don’t love it when they knock on my door during school, though). I love bald people and people with too much hair. I love people that are clean and people that need deodorant. I love mean people…if you give me a moment, anyway.
Actually, I rather stink at loving people, but I sure as heck am trying my darndest. Most of the time, I just want to burrow underneath my house and never have an opinion on anything.
But people are worth it.
And I lied. I do not love aliens.