He Isn't Fair, But He's Good

I have become a radical Christian. Some may think I am heretical.

I am a lioness. 

I have bold ideas and a well that I try to pour buckets of empathy, grace and compassion into— ready to draw it back up when needed. It’s always needed. It’s so very important that the well never runs dry. 

But I do not fit in. I do not match the circles of Christians around me. I have lost so many friends on social media because of my outspoken love and affirmation of homosexuals, compassion and understanding of Muslims, and refusal to believe in eternal damnation. These are radical ideas and notions to some... 

But I believe they reflect the image of Christ. 

Today, I have been pouring over the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15: 11-32. But I have also carefully looked at the parables Jesus shared just before he moved on to the Prodigal Son. He spoke about The Parable of The Lost Coin and The Parable of The Lost Sheep. Jesus had to keep speaking in these creative, beautiful stories, because he still had so many confused faces blinking back at him when he finished the one before.

And here we are, in the modern, civilized year of 2016 and we are still sitting, blinking lamely back at Christ, saying, “But, that’s not fair! That can’t be right! I’ve done everything the way you told me too!” 

When did God say he was a fair father? 

Let’s start with why Jesus felt the need to speak about how his Father’s table was big enough for all people. It started because he kept sitting down to eat with the sinners, the tax collectors, and (gasp!) the women. The folks didn’t just eat with him, but they flocked to him, eager to hear him speak and teach . Luke 15: 1-7 says this made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people. They didn’t deserve to sit at Christ’s table! What had they done to deserve that honor? 

Here’s the interesting thing about Pharisees:
  1. They were obsessed with being “clean” as taught under Old Testament law.
  2. They made life harder than necessary on themselves.
It wasn’t enough just to follow the law to be clean, the Pharisees went above and beyond, outside the realm of the law, to be “clean”. But this wasn’t because they somehow loved God more or wanted to honor Him more, it was to put their own selves on display as more righteous, more religious, and more holy. It kind of made them look as if they were even holier than God, because they did more than He required. 

Jesus shattered every rule the Pharisees has set for themselves. He wasn’t worried about being clean. He sat with unclean people. He healed lepers—putting his hands upon their diseased
flesh. He didn’t honor the Sabbath because he cared more about helping and healing and restoring those that he came across on the Holy day. Jesus cared little about how the Pharisees viewed him and cared more about the people in front of him. 

To me, this is also like the heart of the father in the prodigal son story. 

Because of the Pharisees reaction to Christ’s choice of dinner guests, Jesus tried to explain to them by telling them the parable of the lost sheep. He carefully explained that a good shepherd will go out and find one lost sheep even although he has 100 sheep that have followed him and not strayed. He says that after he has found that lost sheep, he will rejoice with the community, celebrating the life saved. 

But the Pharisees and religious leaders simply blinked and said, “But, Jesus...that’s not fair. There were 100 sheep that did not stray from the flock and the shepherd left them to find just one and celebrated the return of the lost sheep and never celebrated the other 100.” 

But here is the thing that blows my heart into millions of pieces because the love displayed is so overwhelming: 

The shepherd goes out and looks for the lost sheep. He doesn’t simply leave the gate open and wait for the sheep to find him. 

That’s what modern Christianity (namely in America) is missing. We wrongly assume that those who do not “find salvation” are lost to eternal damnation. God is chasing us. His love is always right there, ready for us to wake up to it, and it will not give up. Not even if death meets us first. 

Christ conquered death. He took the keys of hell. He promised that through him, all things would be reconciled and made new. 

All things. 

All people. 

Believers or not. 

The good sheep that never stray, and those that do. 

The good son that always followed the rules, and the son that blows his inheritance, takes his father’s love for granted, and run from what is good. 

He makes all things new. 

He reconciles.

He seeks us out.

He is not fair. 

He simply loves, freely and unconditionally. 

These are reasons I refuse to cast aside the LGBT+ community. These are reasons I love Muslims. This is why I do not believe in eternal damnation of unbelievers. 

I am radical. 

I want to celebrate with the father as he bestows the same kind of unconditional love on the prodigal son as he does me—the child that worked hard to always stay within the flock. 

And it’s beautiful.

I’m going to let go of the rule book that holds to fairness. It does not reflect the heart of a Good Shepherd. 

But more on that later. 


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