I keep re-reading this post and thinking “I wish I could say this in a way which makes sense to others.” Because I have a sense my words are cryptic (posh word for “confusing”) to one not inside my head and heart.
And I keep seeing one HUGE omission as to why this was a BIG moment for me.
If I extend my hand of friendship to the un-churched and un-saved with unwitting self-endorsement – then even before I extend my hand – I am already holding back. Even before I am holding myself in reserve. Even before I am saying one thing and “vibing” another.
Because if my “love” for others (unwittingly) requires me to “self-endorse” the very act of choosing whether or not to extend that “love” – am I sincere or false? Because if I have chosen whether to be real, then I am choosing a public mask to hide a private face. And I have to, therefore, present God as that – I cannot do anything other – I will extend (or not) the hand of “love” whilst wearing a mask. So I must present God as wearing a mask (of judgment) as well.
So I misrepresent God. Because if I didn’t …
Then “LGBT” or “race” or “unsaved” or “unchurched” or “dress code” or “qualification” or “maturity in the faith” or “Christian tradition” or “attendance” or even “inter-faith” and deffo “inter-denomination” – all those “real life faith issues” would not be a real life faith issue at all. But the very fact they are – and the very fact they are debated endlessly – means we ARE choosing – which means we ARE presenting a mask – which means we ARE misrepresenting God – and (forget about anyone else) that means we ARE doing THAT to ourselves most of all.
And to reiterate a bit from this morning:
“And whenever I hear my God speak like this, I am always asked the question: “Is This Biblically and Scripturally Correct?” Well reading today’s verses I notice two words: “Jesus said“. I never see GSHJ measuring how much is enough. I never see God (or Jesus or The Holy Spirit) ever looking for “endorsement”. And I never – EVER – see GSHJ being confused about my subtle difference between “endorsement” and “love”. So when I do – when we do – just how can I/we ever be biblically and scripturally correct?”
We so often “self-image God” in our own “endorsed selfie image” – and then live that day after day – and seek to convince others to live that way – and (in the process) make God no more than that “endorsed selfie image” for others. That is why this was such a HUGE moment this morning.
Do I misrepresent God?
Do I expect to reap – as well as sow – as well as serve – as well as take my place at the bottom of the table – as well as expect not to be invited at all – as well as expect to reap – as well as not? How does all that work in a simple brain and heart like mine? Or do I just hear my God speaking in me and others?
Do I misrepresent God?
Do I begin without a care in the world, and then find myself with all the cares in the world? Do I begin with the joy of being saved, and then soon wonder what that actually means in my daily life? Do I begin to fulfil other’s expectations – to fulfil my own expectations other seem to have of me – to find fault – to find reason to complain – to find burden – sacrifice – duty – obligation? Or do I just hear my God speaking in me and others?
Do I just hear my God speaking in me and others? And when that simplicity is no longer enough … is THAT how I misrepresent God?
Because how soon do I move from “freedom in the Lord” to the subtle bondage of “endorsed self-image selfies”? How soon do I evolve my inner measuring board? How soon does my action revolve around meeting the approval of others? And how soon is it before I advise others on their own selfies? And how soon before we maintain this “self-endorsement-fest” that we have grown to know and love – that now we love to call “love” itself – as we gather together in fellowship?
If that isn’t a BIGGIE – I don’t know what is.
So I would love to hear your views and thoughts (even if I have confused you more than before)!