From Geoffrey to you; Thumping

Tuesday August 18, 2009
Christianity is sometimes frowned down upon for good reasons. I have friends who have been condemned and hated by Christians, why on earth would they believe in a faith that looked down on them with abhorrence? I have been caught in the midst of a church split in which everyone was left hurt with no one being the victor. No one likes being talked down to and when believers stand on a corner shouting their superiority and the ill-fated future of weeping and gnashing of teeth for those who refuse to submit seems to do both the Christian faith and the unbelievers a disservice. The point is that time and time again we, as Christians, do a horrible job representing God. I think that most of those who look down on Christianity have been left with a bitter taste in their mouth because of our misrepresentation of the entirety of it all, they don’t have a problem with God they have a problem with our misrepresentation of God.
The Pharisees and the Sadducees were the religious guru’s back in the day. They dedicated their entire lives towards their faith in God and by their young adulthood they would have the entire Old Testament memorized. They knew the laws and commands of God better than any other and yet they were the ones who pushed people further away from God because of the way their representation; they had a pretty foul way of handling the business of God. If you sinned you can expect public humiliation and punishment. Favoritism was shown to males and superior ethnicities. They polluted the word of God by coming up with their own policies and customs. They used their faith as a weapon to thump people over their head. Instead of pulling the destitute out of the hole of despair they were trapped in, the Pharisees and Sadducees would further drive them into this pit of penury. These religious leaders drove a wedge between God and his people by their crude and condemning ways in the same way that we misrepresent God at times.
Sometimes we slap a fat label on people’s foreheads depending on the sins they have committed. If you have fallen too far in our eyes then you get the “UNCLEAN” label. We look at someone’s situation and instead of seeing that person as a child of God we take out our best thumping bible to smack them over the head with the word of God. We look at someone’s sin and throw them off to the side because we can never use them and if we can’t use them than God probably wouldn’t want them either. .. when we find ourselves thinking like this we have seriously missed something when it comes to our faith.
1 Timothy 1:15-16 “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believer on him and receive eternal life.”
I think this helps us to see the heart of God. Here Paul is talking about how messed up and flawed he is as a person and for that very reason God loved him so that God to display His greatness. You look at the type of people that Christ associated with and they are the very ones we pray don’t irritate us with their presence or bring down our reputation by sitting near us. God would take those that no one else wanted, the unclean, and use them to do great and mighty things. Our problem is that when we look at people we fall into the Pharisee and Sadducee category and look down upon them instead of viewing them the way Christ does and doing what we can to help better their situation. I thought we were supposed to hate the sin and love the sinner, but we as a culture we have drawn near and clung onto sin and hated the sinner.
There is a single mother who lives here in Masii and her story is the epitome of why we need to walk away from looking down on others and embrace them. She works as a bar maid. This career choice comes with little pay and unfortunately prostitution to offset the bills that serving alcohol doesn’t cover. This woman is one of the many mothers that struggles to provide food each meal and her and her daughter struggle for food and rent. She has all of the symptoms of being HIV positive but refuses to gives into the fear of being positive and refuses to be tested. With little hope of bettering her situation and lacking uplifting and empowering words of positive friends, this woman was lured in by suicide. No churches reach out to this type of person. No Christians want to associate with this type of person. No respectable person would let their reputation be tainted by the association of such a low life.
Her story was brought to our attention by her sister and, I know it sounds crazy but call us rebels, we decided to go talk with her. The fact that Christians were in her home loving her and praying for her instead of condemning or judging her BLEW HER MIND! After a few visitations she made the decision to live her life for Christ and suicide no longer held her captive. We have visited her last week with two of the Americans that had come to Masii and one of them gave the pastor some money to help this woman. We are looking into helping her start her own business. A business that will wipe away the shame from her face and that she can be proud of. Instead of pushing this woman into a pit of despair we want to pull her out and we want to show her the love of God not the misrepresentation she believed the Christian faith revolved around. She has a huge smile on her face each time I see her and I know that she is filled with that inexpressible and glorious joy that can only come from God.
I feel like if Christ were here he would do the same thing and treat her as a princess instead of dirt, the problem is that her situation is known and she gets teased and mocked instead of embraced and loved. Have we missed something?
In Him,

Prayer Request:
Rain… it is still dry.

I visited with Stacy yesterday and she is doing GREAT! Her wheelchair is working wonderfully and is helping so much. She has been enrolled in school and she is just now beginning to be able to start to mutter actual words. She has been going to physical therapy as well and she can wave her arm and with a little assistance can stand up! With physical therapy and the ability to go to school she may be able to speak clearly and move about with ease : )
I spent today with stomach issues : (
Thank you all for the birthday wishes : ) Sunday was a great day!!
Here is a picture of me with Stacy and her family. She was all dressed up and her little brother was picking his nose. ha ha I love this place!

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