I often get letters from readers of my blog. Some of them are positive and encouraging, and some of them more like, “concerned.” I can totally understand. The following letter comes from a thoughtful and caring long-time reader in Nigeria:
I came in contact with your article “Talk it out before you say I do” in 2007 and it changed my life. Thanks for putting that piece together. I have since been an avid reader of your blog and followed your passion through parenting, orphans in India…and then lately something happened. Your articles started getting critical of church doctrines, pointing out flaws in bible translations and church history and the like. Today after reading your latest article on the book of Revelation, I could not hold it any more. I love you dearly and I desire for you to please return your focus to loving God, fearing Him and keeping His commands, specifically that unique assignment He has given to you. Forget all others, just as Jesus told Simon Peter he was to mind his own calling in John 21:21-22. The most important need of humanity (orphans, homosexuals, people in need of food, clothing and shelter in Africa and other parts of the world) is JESUS. Yes there are immediate needs, but my greatest desire is that people are not just given aid but given a permanent solution to their problems- JESUS.
Remain steadfast in His love…
For the record, I love this woman’s heart. That she would care THAT MUCH about me and my readers to send such an email is very heartwarming to me! I welcome such gracious feedback anytime. However, I must digress on the premise of her email. Let me share the reasons why.
1. Truth is living and active because it is found in a person—Jesus is the way, the TRUTH, and the life. My reader suggests I focus on Jesus, but I cannot imagine Jesus standing still. To follow him, I must venture along a changing, sometimes meandering path of discovery. When Jesus walked the earth, even he did not stand still: “Jesus grew in wisdom and maturity” (Lk. 2:52), and even he confronted the lies and hypocrisies of his day, and rebuked the “doctrines of men.” If I am to follow Jesus, I must continually reevaluate what I believe, why I believe it, and what God wants me to do in response.
2. The most important need of humanity, yes, is Jesus. But not the distorted Jesus. Humanity needs a healed, renewed view of the true, powerful, anointed Jesus. He is the revelation of the Father who is the Savior of ALL mankind. Word!
“For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers” (1 Tim. 4:10).
A weak, failing, watered down, false Jesus will do no one any good, and to be honest, it didn’t do much good for me before I had a more authentic encounter. Much like Paul, scales fell away from my eyes and I realized he was so much more powerful, and amazing, and loving than I had ever given him credit for!
“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL men to Myself” (John 12:32).
Was Jesus lifted up from the earth on a cross or tree? Yes. Does he lie? No.
3. In order to truly love people the way Jesus does, I needed to know that he would never give up on them or endlessly punish them for ignorance, injury, or lack of opportunity. My old belief system caused me to fear people (their influence on me or my children) or to feel superior to them (they are choosing to reject God and therefore are not in “the club”). Knowing that Jesus is the anointed One through whom God will accomplish His plan of the ages has given me a new, pure-intentioned, fearless love for orphans, homosexuals, Muslims, agnostics, atheists, and all those who are different than me. I don’t have to have an agenda now to try to save them out of hell (an agenda they can spot a mile away) or a callous fear of them, I can just love them and accept them the way they are, knowing that (just like me), their little seedling will grow and bloom in its season.
“For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for ALL, the testimony given IN DUE SEASON” (1 Tim. 2:5-6).
4. I believe this IS my unique assignment in this season of life—to help amend the distorted view that the world has of the character of a loving Abba Daddy. When I write about these things, I believe I am focusing on loving God and loving people (and helping my readers do the same). What could be more important than that?
I’m not the same person I was three years ago, nor do I want to be. A revelation of truth—Jesus—has caused me to learn, grow, and change continuously as I move along his path. If I am not changing in my understanding, beliefs, and philosophy on life, I might want question my relationship to Truth.
Yes, my blog has changed because I have changed.
Read more about my journey in my latest book, Raising Hell: Christianity’s Most Controversial Doctrine Put Under Fire. The conversation has begun and it won’t be stopped!