When to speak the truth (in love) – follow up to when he became a she

truth‌ in love2I am writing this in response to many of the comments/emails I received after my last post.

Holy cow.

The amount of people who engaged in that post was kinda overwhelming.

So, this is my response to much of the feedback I received. For those of you who know me, you know I tell it like I see it. As always, I’m being pretty transparent and you’re getting a wide look inside. Halving that said, this is my heart.  This comes from years of conversation with God and researching scripture for my own benefit on this question. Take it as you will.

The constant question for Christians seems to be this: when/how do you speak truth to someone? (I don’t even know if I like the way that question is worded. But, whatever. We’ll go with it for now)

When it comes to this topic, people love to use the story of the woman caught in adultery. Myself included. It’s a beautiful story.

There are those who like to highlight when Jesus told her to “go and sin no more” And there are those who want to focus on when he said, “he who is without sin cast the first stone”.

But, Jesus said both.

I’ve heard it argued to speak both truth and love or truth and mercy. I know where you’re coming from. But, here me out.

I was raised in church. I’ve heard this preached SO many times I could recite a ton of sermons on this.

Literally.

All in all, I grew up with the impression that if I didn’t strong arm someone in a conversation to repent (someone CLEARLY living in sin. Wink wink) then I had failed.

You mean you didn’t get them to pray the prayer of salvation right there? FAIL.

You didn’t invite them to church? FAIL.

You didn’t recite the scriptures that correct them? FAIL.

That is what I left my upbringing in church with.

A report card.

One that leaves a TREMENDOUS amount of pressure I might add.

Funny thing is, Jesus said if we followed Him, living in Jesus would be easy – light even. (Matt 11:30)

Nothing about that felt easy. Or light.

Over the past 10 or so years I’ve been on a journey of trying to leave a lot of the churchy stuff out of my head and focusing on just HIM instead. HIS words. HIS example.

Not that I don’t have a TON of good that has come from being raised in church. Please don’t misread that sentence. But, in this area, the lines drawn seemed harsh….and very difficult to practice let alone see any sort of “result” that I was told (eh, encouraged) to achieve.

So, here’s where I have landed.

And, I’ll be honest, it’s really easy. And feels REALLY light. Kinda like how Jesus said it would.

Ironically, I’m going back to the story of the adulterous woman.

Track with me.

Jesus extended mercy and compassion to someone whose “sin” (issue, hang up, struggle, choice, whatever you want to call it) was exposed.

She was vulnerable.

She was scared.

She was out in the open.

And the stones were ready to fly.

The amazingly freeing part of this story is what Jesus says to the religious leaders.

Did you catch that?

What he said to the religious. The churched. The “Christians” (if you will).

What he said was to you and me.

He said, “He who is without sin (issues, hang ups, struggles) throw the first stone”.

I may not have an “exposing” sin or issue or whatever you want to label it. One that I wear out in the open. One that the church would hurl stones at (throw Bible verses, condemning looks, hold prayer sessions for, etc). But, let me be the first to stand up and tell you, I am NOT without sin, issues, etc. My heart is in a constant place of being molded and shaped by the hand of Jesus. It’s a constant renewing process that is FAR from being over.

I am not perfect.

Therefore I literally am commanded by Jesus to sit myself down and take a hard look inward before I ever think I am in a position to go after someone else.

In his final exchange with the woman, Jesus through his kindness, led her to exchange her lifestyle for his instead.

Jesus led her.

Not the religious.

Both parts of the story. Both equally important.

So, where does that leave you and me?

I will not give you the blanket response of, “we just love”.

Too many people have said that.

Too many people think that means you just smile and don’t shun.

I would argue that isn’t really love.

That’s just being polite.

Here’s how love looks to me now.

And, I’m warning you – it requires you to be recklessly, on your face in love with Jesus first. If you’re not there, don’t even attempt this.

Love shares long talks over coffee. Where I share my story and you are safe to share yours. Love gets in the mud with you and walks with you. Even if the walk is LONG and all I’m doing is listening. Love opens the door of my home and welcomes you in for a meal. Love holds your baby. Love stretches outside of churches and Bible studies and jumps into someone’s life. On the phone, in the car, at work. It isn’t scared of seeing your life and being inside of it. Love is the opposite of fear.

Love holds your hand when you’re scared. Love takes you soup when you’re sick. Love listens. Really listens.

When I walk in life with someone like this, I move past tolerance and acceptance. I get to dig into something deeper: unconditional love.

Which is what scripture says sums up the entire law, gospel, message, etc.(Gal 5:14)

But, Anna! When you do ever confront their sin??! Doesn’t love speak truth?

If I share life with you, I naturally share Jesus with you. Because it isn’t a power point presentation or a scripted pitch. It’s my life.

Having that said, not everyone lets me in their life.

I have to be okay with that.

Not everyone let Jesus in either.

It’s part of the deal.

It has been my experience that if I speak without the prompting of the Holy Spirit, anything I say falls on deaf ears.

This applies when I teach, write and yes, even when I’m having coffee with someone.

I don’t talk about any topic until the Holy Spirit tells me to.

The key is, it’s never on my time table.

And it’s never my words.

It’s always His.

I’ve had the honor and privilege of walking alongside people in this way. And, it isn’t always neat and packaged. There is no script (other than the one the Holy Spirit gives you). It’s often messy. It’s at times inconvenient. At the core, it’s self-less. It’s laying down yourself and serving.

Sometimes you get praised.

Sometimes you get crucified.

It’s living like Jesus.

(I blogged about my journey jumping into life with someone like this here)

But Anna, what about the Bible?

I love the Bible. I love, love LOVE it. It’s my life-line. It is my litmus test for everything I say and do and (more importantly) what goes on inside my thoughts and heart. It sets the standard.

Everything I believe, teach, say and do is founded in scripture.

Especially how I love.

Here’s why I believe Jesus told us to love like this:

Because, it’s in this place – only in this place – where He has room to reach into an otherwise hard, closed, lonely, broken heart.

And that’s where I focus.

I focus on the heart – the broken, beat up heart. I love it, I minister to it. I embrace it. And, at times, I get to experience the power of Jesus heal it.

Not because I quoted the right verse.

Not because I said the script I was taught to say.

Not because I pressured someone into saying a prayer.

ONLY because I stopped my life, my desires, my agenda and chose to love someone (through the power of the Holy Spirit) who was hurting.

Having that said, I don’t claim to win anyone.

I don’t claim to change anyone.

Thank you Jesus that’s not my burden to bear.

Because, this is HIS field. I’m just working with Him in it (1 Corinthians 3:6-7)

But, Anna, we’re supposed to be preaching the gospel!

My life preaches the gospel.

If we were to have coffee, you would know that.

It’s in me. I’m breathing it every minute of every day.

Because I know HIM.

Because HE changed  me.

He wrecked me with a love and a freedom that NOTHING compares to.

In sharing life, we share stories. And mine is all about Jesus.

My hope for all of us is that we become SO deeply rooted and established IN HIM, that when a broken heart comes our way, we have eyes to see it and ears to listen to what He leads us to say or do.

Not judge it. Not shush it. Not even fix it.

But, love it.

I love people by listening to the Holy Spirit through every conversation and every encounter. And, in turn, by speaking the words He gives me.

Like I said before, if you’re not completely ALL in with Him, don’t even attempt this.

Some of you will understand this post and some of you won’t. I’m okay with that. But, for those that get it, I believe it will bring a tremendous amount of freedom.

Hugs.

Anna

 

117 thoughts on “When to speak the truth (in love) – follow up to when he became a she

  1. Great series of articles but underlying this still is that this behavior is sin. My question is always the same, “will the church one day apologize for the hate they promoted much the same way the Southern Baptist apologized over the civil rights issue? Will the church opening embrace gay marriage? I don”t think they will but they will eventually accept it as a normal the same way we accept but don’t condone sex before marriage.

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    • Wow, you really missed the point of the whole article. Hope about let God deal with people’s lives and you just be his witness???

      You Americans don’t know when to be quiet do you? This attitude is absent in Canada and on the side of the pond, and society as a whole us better for it.

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      • You do realize that you just did what you said they shouldn’t do. To say this is an American trait shows true ignorance. All humans say way too much. Plus. It’s on social media. What did you expect?

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    • I would encourage you to watch this video by Ravi Zacharias on the subject, where he comes at it from a few different perspectives. It is only 11 min. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPYRXop7aPA
      Also I would encourage you to consider this: there are many different things that are normative in many different cultures and as Dicken’s said: “Far be it from me to assert that what everybody says must be true. Everybody is, often, as likely to be wrong as right. In the general experience, everybody has been wrong so often, and it has taken in most instances such a weary while to find out how wrong, that the authority is proved to be fallible. Everybody may sometimes be right; “but that’s no rule,” as the ghost of Giles Scroggins says in the ballad.”
      In some cultures it is normative for woman to be so completely covered that not an inch of skin shows. There are some obvious down sides to this. In our culture it is quite normative for women to show as much skin as possible and there are down sides to this as well. (The obvious down sides are either protection from or the encouragement of heterosexual males who expect women to be responsible for how much they are capable of controlling THEIR desires and actions, but I digress…) In either case the behavior is considered normative for the society, but that is no guarantee that either is RIGHT or HEALTHY. One simply does not equal the other two and if God tells us, as the one who created out beings, that he does not want us pursuing certain behaviors then experience has shown us that those things are not the healthiest choices for us. There is just as much chance that in the future, just like the research and a growing disillusionment in the younger generation is showing that there are downsides to relationship that include sex without serious commitment, there will be an understanding of that as well.

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      • Sad for any church that makes holy that which is unholy. While Jesus loves all sinners and died for all sin, His mission to all is be saved and “sin no more.” His church should never condone nor marry homosexuals nor adulterers until they repent.

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  2. Anna,
    I just discovered your blog via a friend. Wow! Awesome! The position you are taking is not easy. I have discovered all kinds of “troubles” and “conflicts” as I have tried to live the way you are describing. But, my heart is thoroughly persuaded that this is what a Jesus follower does. It is because of some very dear Jesus Followers, who loved me the way you are talking about, that my life has been radically changed and my heart healed. Honestly, I have seen healed hearts and changed lives when Jesus Followers love the way you have described— when others have written them off. There were those who had written me off. But then, a Jesus Follower had coffee with me, had a thousand phone conversations, shared their home with me, went out to lunch with me, laughed with me, cried with me, hugged me lots, walked beside me for years… Now, it is my turn to do the same. Thank you for sharing your heart.

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  3. Beautiful Anna. Thank you so much for sharing your heart openly. I feel like you put to words the feelings I couldn’t articulate about this subject. I have tears reading this!
    ❤️Smitha

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  4. Pingback: When to speak the truth (in love) – follow up to when he became a she | Kenyan Journeys

  5. I am just at the crawling stage in my journey to God but this explains exactly how I feel about the message of Jesus. I have never liked the way I was told what to believe and what it meant to be a “good Christian”. I never thought I could be a total mess and still have a relationship with the Lord. All it took was one sentence by a preacher from a church I don’t attend (none in fact at the time) during my husband’s memorial service that told me I was worth the love of Jesus and that all I needed was him. You never know how or where you will be when the simple message of acceptance and Grace will enter your heart. I have a lot of bad habits I have to work on, just one is judging people. I really have no right to judge anyone, that is Jesus’s job, not mine. I am merely an imperfect person struggling with my own burdens and human failings. My job is to share the message and show the love of Jesus. I can pray for patience and loving acceptance to get me through though. I hope no one on the path to Jesus is pushed away by so many well-meaning Christians who lose the real message of Jesus in their desire to see someone stop their sinful behavior or beliefs.

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  6. Anna – thank you for this post and the previous post. As the parent of a gender fluid teenager, you cannot imagine how they both ministered to me. My child’s Christian friends loved them (yes, I used a gender neutral pronoun) when they were a girlie girl who participated in pageants and did competitive cheer. Right now, they have no Christian friends they are comfortable around, and that breaks my heart. I don’t want to attend a church that waters down the gospel, but I don’t want to attend a church that makes my child feel like a second rate person – they already experience the shame and guilt associated with their internal feelings.

    For all of you who think issues of gender are merely a choice – I might have thought that same way 8 months ago. But until you have prayed with, cried with, agonized with someone who is grappling with feelings they don’t understand, please be cautious about throwing the word “choice” around. The internal struggle has caused self-esteem issues, depression, anxiety, self-harming, suicidal thoughts …the list goes on.

    My message to my child is this… I love you. You are my child. God loves you. Please don’t turn away from God for fear of rejection.

    I truly don’t understand because that is not my experience. I don’t like it. I hope it is a phase. I only know how to do two things…pray relentlessly for my child and believe in God’s great plan for them.

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    • I read your reply and I’m going to pray for you and your child tonight. God Bless. I hope your child will come to a point where Church can be a safe and loving place and not a place to be feared. The issues of our day our putting the modern 21st century church through some major growing pains in terms of how we minister and love on the vast array of people and their challenges.

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    • June I’ve been thinking a lot about gender issues lately. Between the bathroom craziness and my son’s girlfriend who is gender fluid, it has been in the forefront of my thoughts. Reading this blog was truly wonderful. The thought came to me that our job is to love people. Loving them enough to help them become comfortable in their own skin. Happy with the person God created. Accepting of themselves just as they are. I’m in my mid 40’s and it has taken illness and other problems to help me learn to accept myself as I am. It is Jesus’ love that will bring each of us the confidence and peace we need to live with our own selves. I’ll remember your family in my prayers!

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  7. Thank you for this, and the post that spanned it. They were a breath of fresh air to me. Sorry to hear (though not surprised) that you had to shut off the comments on the other one.

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  8. Anna- I am coming from someone that was politically conservative, but over the past 3+ years (I am 60) have become great friends with a number of Trans women. From a content of their character standpoint, most do better than my friends in Rotary do. Generally they are being very good individuals that are finally living as themselves, not being false. They would be excellent individuals on any congregation, but won’t be there if they are treated as scum.

    You showed ‘them’ love, you are OK using ‘her’ as it is how she identifies. You totally did the right thing, probably made her day in a life that is so very hard. You conveyed that church can be a good thing for her and that all the flock will be loved. By avoiding the debate of being transgender is a sin, you brought Christ to someone that probably needs it, and reached out seeing the good within.

    I hope that many will follow in your footsteps.

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  9. Thank you for carefully articulating what it looks like to become love!! So powerful! Our Father not only love’s us but he is in love with us. Therefore as we become like him we become in love with people. I believe we can become blinded, sort of speak, to their sin because love sees the greater value and the worth of who they really are. Just as our Father is always focused on our true identity as sons and daughters and always speaks to us as such. I fully believe this demonstrated unconditional love is what will draw people to the heart of God for them. But it can only be accomplished when we have experienced and embrace God’s unconditional radical love for us. Then we can go and be love.

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  10. This is EXACTLY how I feel! I have recently become good friends with a gay man and when I look at him I think “How can I do anything else other than LOVE him as Jesus would have?” It’s kind of like that saying: “Preach the Gospel at all times, if necessary use words.”

    What a beautifully written post. Thank you!

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  11. Anna: you are brave to even try to address this issue and I applaud you for that. But you leave out a huge part of that gospel story, that Jesus told the adulteress woman to sin no more. You cannot wink at it, you cannot ignore it and say Jesus was all about love. Yes, He is love but there are plenty of references in the bible where He (as the author and speaker) says if you love Me, keep my commandments. One cannot love God and not repent, He commands it. There are a lot of fans of Jesus, but He asked us to follow Him. Think about the difference. Please reconsider your position as you have a platform now God bless you and God speed.

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    • This thought always trips me up, as well. We can’t make disciples if we don’t challenge behaviors, right? But I think the point here is that as we learn to love like Jesus, we learn to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit. It’s God’s work to prepare the heart of the ‘hearer’ and we may only be planting the seeds and being winsome in our love for Jesus and for others. It may be someone else’s job to reap the harvest. If we’re focused on ‘getting the message into the conversation’ then we’re focused on works and not on the person or on listening to the Spirit for God’s timing. I was in a study with a woman who had much ‘wisdom’ to share. It was all true, but the sharing of it was so ill timed and disconnected, it came across as a series of little ‘sermonettes’ and fell on mostly deaf ears. Maybe I misread, but I understood her to say that she loves and prays and listens, waiting for the prompting of the Holy Spirit if she is to challenge. While quite terse with the ‘religious’, Jesus was always tender and merciful to those who were vulnerable and struggling.

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    • I think what Anna is referring to is what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5:12-13: 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”
      We are using a hammer to deal with people who are very hurt and damaged, and we need to embrace them with God’s love and let Him show the error of their ways.

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    • One thing homo sexual do not need to hear from Christians is that our faith considers their sexual preference a sin, they already know that but they may not know their savior loves them.

      If we help them build a relationship with our savior then we have an opportunity to minister the bible. Helping a hurting person understand they can have a relationship with a loving God is a dish best served through love and that dish will often need to be served time and time again.

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    • To Myechout — Apples and oranges. Seems like you are trying to make two entirely different issues fit in the same mold. Won’t work. In my understanding by definition the sin of adultery has more to do with destroying relationships by breaking promises, and discarding commitments than it has to do with sex. Jesus told the women to go and honor the relationships you have made, honor the commitments others have pledged; keep your promises — all of which would be a larger “word” than “don’t get into bed with someone you shouldn’t be in bed with.” This is quite a different issue than that which transgender people navigate life trying to understand. For transgender people and gay or lesbian people, the issue is about identity — and less whom they sleep with. It is how they were born….. how they were created….. by you know Who. it’s just that in their case the DNA or chromosomes or something got a bit mixed up like others being born with other kinds of differences. It’s just that this difference makes you uncomfortable — doesn’t make God uncomfortable, just like being left-handed or blue-eyed or knock-kneed doesn’t make God uncomfortable. To try to insist that any LGTB person would choose to be ostracized or open themselves to condemnation by you or other misguided persons who want to “save them” is beyond reason. Jesus has already saved them. Let this settle in: it is who they are. Their sin would be to deny who God created them to be, as difficult as that must be to acknowlege, as much as that may shock them and those around them. FYI: I am a 70 year old mother of two, happily married for 43 years, and who spent four years in seminary trying to make peace with all those Bible verses people use to hurt others. I am also aunt and cousin to several very good human beings whom God loves dearly and who are trying to live authentically as transgender, gay, and lesbian human beings. Praying for your understanding.

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      • “Jesus told the women to go and honor the relationships you have made, honor the commitments others have pledged; keep your promises — all of which would be a larger “word” than “don’t get into bed with someone you shouldn’t be in bed with.”

        Joh_8:11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

        I have no idea what bible you are reading but this is exactly what Christ said. Nothing at all as you have written above.

        LGBT people are confused. They need Christ, and no they were not made that way by God. There are eunuchs and hermaphrodites who are born that way…one with no sexual organs, and the other with both. God did not make them that way. Sin made them that way. This earth is under the control of satan and is quite messed up. Hormones in foods, planes spraying who knows what, sexual sins glorified adultery and fornication included, because God did not make them that way so they could cheat or whore around. Glossing over and making excuses is doing a grave disservice to those who do not know God, and have no personal relationship with Him. Instead they continue to live in their sin, because God has given them up to their sin, while the person who has the key to eternal life, ie the gospel, buys them a cup of coffee and never says a word about Christ. She thinks she is a better example than Christ is.

        Do you think that Christ should have sat down and had coffee with the moneychangers that were making a mockery of the temple, instead of grabbing a whip and running them off overturning their tables? Your knowledge of Christ is convoluted and will cost someone their soul.

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      • to spiritlaughing: I regret that you completely missed the point of my post. Perhaps you may be reading with an agenda, so it is difficult to hear what others are saying. ~~ As for me and my experience, I know a number of LGBT persons who have a deeply personal, long standing and accountable relationship with Jesus Christ. They are absolutely assured of their salvation and anticipate eternity with the Almighty who created them as they are. Perhaps if you had a better understanding of the many medical variations of human anatomy and “wiring” you would feel kinder toward those who are surprised at who they discover they are. It is people who throw Bible verses and judgement — like stones — who are hurtful and that is never inviting to someone considering the Kingdom of God. Rarely is one bullied into being saved.

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      • At no point did I say bully anyone. How do you get that sharing the Word of God is bullying?

        God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

        Mat 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
        I threw no stones. I don’t throw bible verses, as if they are condemnation. I am saying that being friends is positive, but ignoring the Word of God because you do not want to share it apparently because you think it is condemnation is wrong.

        Souls are at stake. Yes, only God judges the heart, but we are told that by their fruits we shall know those who are and who are not His. I would rather tell my friends the truth and risk rejection than to leave even one of them behind. I am constantly with or talking to my friends and they have no question as to where I stand, and I stand wholly on the Word of God. And guess what, they want to hear what God says. How about that! Just as the sinners that Christ was with. Just as the thousands and thousands sat and listened to Him on the hill side. They want to know. That’s why Christ lives in us. He did not go sit with sinners and say nothing about His Father and keeping His commandments in love. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. He was not condemning anyone, and neither am I, that is not my responsibility. You cannot talk out of both sides of your mouth and make sense. Either you share Christ fully or you don’t.

        You do know that satan has control in this evil world, but God is sovereign. These sexual sins including adultery and fornication, beastility, and the rest is the work of satan upon the minds of those who have no foundation in Christ. It is truly a pity that so many people think it is something normal because society has come to accept it as such. We are in this world, but we are not to be OF this world. So no, as His children we cannot accept that behavior as normal. Because, it is not, according to Christ. It’s not my opinion, it is His ways.
        Lead On Lord!!!

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  12. I have read your two articles. In this last one you use the woman caught in adultery. You are in error concerning your facts in this situation. Yeshua could not judge her because he was not a judge. The religious leaders had broken many Torah commandments to even accuse this woman in the first place. The first and biggest one being that both parties had to be stoned. There had to be a trial and witnesses. The witnesses had to throw the first stones. This is a story about the rule of Law and not about letting people off the hook. Because He then told her to go and sin no more. Why? Since this was a trick to trap Him it’s possible that she was in on the trick and was herself a false witness. Which was itself punishable by death. So he told her to never do that again or a worse punishment would be her fate. Context is everything and I do agree that we aren’t to go about poking sticks at strangers. We must build relationships before we can confront sin but those relationships must be set on biblical terms or you will find yourself sinking in quicksand.

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  13. An interesting point regarding the story of the woman caught in adultery is that Jesus told her to go and sin no more. The fact is that she was just about to be executed. Her life was about to end. This was much more serious than being looked down upon for dressing like a woman.

    Jesus told her to go and sin no more, expecting that command to be followed since he just saved her from a very unpleasant death. He likely wasn’t going to continue physically hanging out with her, like Anna will probably do with her friend. Anna has time on her hands. She obviously knows that homosexuality is a sin, I don’t think that’s a question at all. So if Anna’s goal is a right relationship between her friend and God, which it seems obvious to me that such is the case, then all we need to do is encourage her, and pray for her friend.

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  14. There seems to be a basic misconception about judgment here. We are are call ed always to make judgments regarding right , wrong, good , evil , sacred & repobate. We are how ever NEVER called upon to judge in the sense of condemning another, .. it was in this context that Jesus said let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Jesus never condemned, but he always spoke truth, sometimes harshly, regarding sin. Jesus said except you repent, you shall die in your sins. If we under the guise of love, refuse to ( without condemning ) identify sin ( and I speak not just of the external action but of the heart condition, the disordered affection / passion ) then we are equally as guilty for not presenting an opportunity for repentance. We see this played out repeatedly in Paul’s epistles . Calling / encouraging one another to a life of continual repentance is the “mind of Christ” that we are called to possess.In today’s Christian culture we have the mistaken idea that love supercedes everything, ..just love, leave people to their own devices and everything will work itself out, … even though Jesus said ” in that day many will come saying lord lord, … I will say I never knew you”. He is speaking of supposed Christians here, … remember he said ” if you love me you will obey my commandments”. Lastly let me say, today we fail to make distinctions between one recognizing and struggling with sin, and those who embrace and justify sin, calligraphy evil good and good evil and thus are unable to repent by reason of their repobate minds, … from such Paul admonishes us to separate our selves.

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    • John, the point I get, is the gospel is not a method, it’s love, and representing it or Him well. Sure there are times when we confront people with love and truth. But as were guided by love, by Holy Spirit in us, and there are many times when it’s just our job to love people regardless how messed up their life may be. If you notice Jesus healed everywhere he went, and those healings we’re not all followed up with a repentance speech. The church knows really well how to tell people to repent & get their lives right and for the most part, at least in America, that has backfired greatly. I believe it’s time to become “in love” with the sinner, with people. How we share this love makes all the difference in the world. And people will pick up if we really love them versus that we really want to correct them because of our concern for their eternity. Of course with love there’s a concern for both.

      On your last point I assume you’re talking about believers? Paul says about separating ourselves from other believers who are reparate, not those in the world we associate with .

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      • Mat 21:12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
        Mat 21:13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

        Christ had no problem with throwing out those who would disrespect His Father’s house. Neither should we.

        Yes we should love others, the way that we would also want to be loved. If there is within your church a known adulterer who is living in sin, what do you do for that person in love? If there is a gay couple wanting to be married by your pastor what do you do for that couple? If there is a gossiper who ruffles all sorts of feathers within the church what do you do for that person? If there is an elder, caught in a homosexual situation, what do you do for that person? If there is a woman who dresses like a woman of the street, what do you do for that person?

        Tell me please, I want to learn. What do you do? For those who are members or not members who are regular in attendance and join in church functions, in your church but are willfully sinning and without remorse for that sin but rather continue in their sin under the assumption that because God’s love is unconditional and no one but God can judge them, then there is nothing anyone can say to them about their willful sinning?

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  15. Loving as Jesus does is wonderful. But to avoid talking about the elephant in the room is not loving as Jesus does at all. Jesus confronted the woman’s sin. He confronted those who would have condemned her. He also told her “neither do I condemn you” and then He told her to go, and “sin no more”.

    Having read all of both blogs and these comments, I fail to see where you have taken on the courage that Christ gives us to tell someone that He loves them, and He wants them to go live, and sin no more. It is supremely easy to love everyone. Because then you do not have to deal with the sin part. He confronted the sellers in their sins on the temple steps, in no uncertain terms. He confronted the chief scribes and pharisees in their sins.

    My entire family had nothing to do with me as I lived in sin by living with a man without marriage. Some of them even returned my Christmas gifts to them, with a note telling me why they could not accept the gift. Sure I raged against them all. Deep in my heart I knew that they were doing the hardest thing they had done in their lives and that was not accepting my sin AT ALL. I come from a big family with 5 siblings. We were always close. Family gatherings were a regular thing even after we had all left home. Because I chose to live in sin I was not invited to them. We are told in the bible that I love deeply, and you say that you love, to admonish those who have gone astray. To not join in with acceptance because that makes you as they are.

    Our Father is not going to allow a wilful sinner into heaven. I would rather admonish one with the words of the Holy Spirit than to see them spend eternity without God. It takes courage to do that. Loving and accepting all is not what Christ was teaching. We are to love others the way WE want to be loved. I for one am so thankful for a family that loved me enough that they showed me that my choice of sin had consequences and those consequences were separating me from Christ. That took courage.

    To love someone by accepting all of their sins, is to love them to death. Christ did not accept this woman’s sin.
    To love someone by not accepting their willful sinning is to love them to life.

    1) I want people to love me enough to warn me that I am walking in darkness.

    2) I do not want someone to love me by going along to get along and never says a word about the cliff I am about to walk off.

    The first one is courageous in their love. The second one is not concerned about the soul of the person.

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    • I have been thinking about these issues quite deeply for a few years. I’ve realized that it’s often a major mistake to judge somebody else by the standards and knowledge that I have. They very well may not have had the chance to learn some of the things that I have learned. They may not know that something they’re doing is wrong.

      James 4:17 (emphasis added)–“Therefore to him that KNOWETH to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

      Sometimes it can be quite difficult to strike the correct balance. Jesus treated the Pharisees very, very differently than He treated Zacchaeus or Nicodemus.

      “A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench.” (Isaiah 42:3a)

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      • Isaiah 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
        Isa 42:2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
        Isa 42:3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
        Isa 42:4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.

        It is not prudent to cherry pick scriptures, so I have expanded your selection of Isaiah 42:3a. Three times in four verses it speaks of bringing forth judgement. Verse 4 Says that He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law

        Rom 10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
        Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
        Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
        Rom 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
        Rom 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
        Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
        Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
        Rom 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

        Preaching the gospel of peace is bringing glad tidings of good things. It is not judgemental. It is not harsh or offensive. It is not something we are ashamed of or embarrassed to share.

        Drinking coffee with someone who does not know the Lord is fine. It is a great opportunity to share the gospel. You know not how much time they or you have left here. We are not promised tomorrow. If we do not share the gospel then, how then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? I would think that the chance to share the beautiful gospel would be the highlight of ANY believer’s day. Once you leave them, and they have no idea of the gospel or how to be saved, how are they going to know to call on the Name of the Lord when they need to? All you have left them with is the knowledge that you are a nice person willing to drink coffee with them. Time is of the essence. What do you think Christ was doing when He was eating and spending time with the publicans, taxpayers, any sinner? High fiving them about their exploits? He was about His Father’s business.

        The writer of this blog is all about just being in love with people. Apparently their soul is not her priority. Their friendship is. It is not supposed to be about her, or me, or you, or any of us. It is all about Christ.

        The word preacher does not mean you have to stand on a soapbox in the town square screaming at the top of your lungs.

        Peace.

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  16. I’ve decided to comment because I feel I have a unique perspective, though not with tranagenderism, but alcoholism. My brother, who committed suicide, struggled with alcoholism from an early age, possibly as early as some of these transgendered children began to wrestle with their gender identity.
    I like Anna’s perspective, because it puts us directly in front of the transgendered person. And we love them, because they are our fellow human being with which we share life. There were people in our church who gossiped and shunned my parents as they tried to do their best to help my brother, and there were those who joined them at the alter and visited our home. I don’t know what was said during those visits, but they meant a lot. I seiously doubt any of those visitors encouraged his alcoholism, and I’m equally convinced they didn’t condemn him. They walked with us, and not away from us, that was all. And we needed their love and support. It didn’t save my brother from his sins. That wasn’t our job though according to this perspective. Perhaps we just didn’t love enough. 💔

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    • Please accept my sympathies for the loss of your brother. I’ve now known two people who died of suicide, and that’s how I think of it…as a particularly difficult way of separation, but not something I could have any more to do with than when my music teacher was killed in a car accident on an errand buying music for her students. God moves in mysterious ways, and we learn from the lives and stories of those around us. I have no way of knowing for certain how my life affects others, but I can send out what I’d like to get back.

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      • Hi Sarah, let me encourage you about God’s love. He does not take people, but he does receive them. Jesus made it clear it is the thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. “But” I have come to “give” abundent life. John 10:10 . So death, loss, and destruction are never part of God’s fingerprints, of his mystery.
        Jesus gave life everywhere he went even raising people from the dead when he ran into a funeral procession. So Jesus is what God really looks like. Jesus said when you see me you see my Father. Hebrews says he is the exact representation of God.

        Be blessed! I meant this in a nice way, hope it was received that way. 😊

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  17. Reblogged this on Sunrise to Sunset and commented:
    This is something I have spent thirty years struggling with, because the Church I grew up in— a WONDERFUL Church in many, many respects— also laid on the Script. The Guilt for not Witnessing correctly. The How-To in what witnessing meant. And in the years since, in walking with God and in living life and suffering life and enjoying life, I have to say that Anna sums it up really, really well. This is worth reading.
    To paraphrase:
    YOU don’t change people.
    GOD changes people.
    God says to tell them about Christ, and to love them. To help them when they need help, to hang out, to live a life that witnesses God even if you don’t say anything.
    That will change people more than a scripted Witnessing. Ever.
    So just be!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thank you for this! I ended up at this post by accident through links beginning at your post about visiting the strip club and I feel like it wasn’t an accident at all, but God leading me to what I needed to read. This speaks to where my heart is struggling in a relationship I have with a friend. I have been debating on how to be as living as possible but still do right by Jesus’ teachings. You said everything I needed to hear!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hello, I’m wondering why these posts are tagged with ‘gay’?

    I’m confused – being transgender implies nothing about sexual orientation.

    Does the Bible imply that being trans is a sin? I have never heard of that before.

    Thanks.

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  20. Anna,

    Reading both articles, you are on the right track. Had the topic been about a divorcee, I doubt the article would have illicited so many responses. Truth is, and speaking the truth in love here, it is not our place to correct someone else inside or outside the church without a loving relationship with that person. And one can’t have a loving relationship with someone by hammering them with what they already know. The truth of Gods unconditional love is often the LAST truth spoken. The reason we are not to judge is because, how do we know which sin exactly God is working to deal with in someone? How do we know that spirit of a person (as God does) that really needs healing or grace? Love covers a multitude of sin, even pride and self righteousness as ugly as that is. The women caught in adultery… first she had an encounter with Jesus, then he saved her, then he told her – go and sin no more. Truth!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Beautiful comments…..don’t let the negative comments get to you, although I feel that I know you won’t. Maybe those who put you in the wrong will re-think their position and know that none of us can demonstrate the love of Christ to anyone by condemning them right off the bat, a fact alone that turns so many people away from God. And THAT is not something I want to have to answer for on the Day of Judgment. I pray that I live my life in such a way that others want to know why….how….who…and I can tell them “all because of the blood of Jesus.” Thank you for your courage. May God bless you and keep you open to His continuing use of you to further His Kingdom.

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  22. Friend, I would just say that you have found Jesus and Jesus has found you. And truly I tell you, now you are united in the Holy Spirit. Let him work in you. I bless you in the name of Jesus Christ . For the above two posts I’ve read , I can see the love of Jesus Christ, the real true love in you. It’s God gifted friend, use it forever. Hallelujah

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Thank you, Anna. You’ve made several things clearer to me in each blog I’ve read. Your approach, described here, is the sort of thing I’ve been trying to figure out for myself, and you’ve made it easier. Thank you again.
    Christ’s blessings,
    ~Joy E.

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  24. God Bless you for your work through Jesus Christ, In our Body as a whole, shining your light before all men and women, nations and the world as a whole. God bless you. Come also visit, let us share each others, word and gift from God, Let us fill the hearts of others. I encourage you and bless you. Let Gods anointing flow through you and place you higher and higher in your calling from God.- Daniel Byzewski
    God Head Disciple
    https://godheaddisciplesjourney.wordpress.com/
    https://twitter.com/GodheadDisciple
    https://www.instagram.com/lordgloryrain333/

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  25. Love these verses. There is a lot here:
    13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Galatians 5:14-14

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