Guest Blogger: Ariel Benjamin
When Paul said, “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19), he spoke words of love to the Corinthians, revealing that God’s action through Christ relieved them of condemnation.
But Christian responses to other Christians are starting to sound more like this:
Your statement and question is very disrespectful to the God who created you. Who are you to say that God didn’t come through?
I fall into this pattern, too. If a fellow Christian does one questionable thing, I judge. How Christian are they really? Do they really know God?” But how stupid is this question? Humans make mistakes!
Only God is perfect. As humans we are flawed, and we have strong emotional responses. Yes, God is almighty and we should respect Him. However and most importantly, God wants us to LOVE Him, and to do so by loving one another. Now tell me, have you ever truly loved someone without getting angry with them, challenging them, or running into a speed bump that drastically reshapes your relationship? God wants a real love, one where we are honest with Him. God is so great that He can pardon your disrespect for a chance to get closer to you; not “so great” that He can’t handle His children getting a little frustrated or taking a wrong turn every now and again.
If only these condemning voices would get a little quieter so we and our fellow believers could hear what God has to say. In my time of need, I found myself reading so many texts that said don’t do this and do this and if you’re not doing this, you’re doing it wrong and you will not receive God’s blessing. And finally, God said to just close the books and turn to the Bible.
I know those writers have been appointed by God. They love Him and feel fear when others seem to be losing Him. But sometimes their voices get so heavy. I’m all for living a radical life for God! But we should not judge the Christian whose faith is a little delicate at the moment and cannot understand these things that we are shouting through our motivational megaphones. Nor should we assume that faith which looks different from ours on the surface does not have the same foundation.
Our God lavishes us with variety. Are all these birds with bright plumes and unique beaks necessary? Do they really need more to eat than a worm as opposed to the plethora of nuts and insects that exist? Why so many flowers and trees and species? I’m sure the world would be fine without all the extravagance. But it’s there anyway, and it’s beautiful to us. And on a sunny day I can’t help but hear God saying, “my dear children, stop being so angry.”
Ariel Benjamin is a fiction and poetry writer studying Creative Writing and Spanish at Vanderbilt University.