This last weekend, the Bean & I had a conference that we attended at the Embassy Suites in SLTahoe – very nice room, great breakfast buffet, hot coffee that tasted like… coffee. And hanging out with a hero of mine – Jerry Cook. He’s a guy in his late 60s that has pastored for many years, & is the author of a couple of my alltime favorite reads, books that have played a large part in how I see what it means to live out the life of a Christ-follower – & especially within the organism called “Church.”
One of those books is called Love, Acceptance, & Forgiveness & it speaks about the church being a place where each of those words is a lived out character trait, extended to people… seems simple enough, almost worthy of a “duh!” Of course that’s what church should be about… but its often not the case, because we (yes, that’s me owning my share of being the Church) have times where we end up living out something radically different, & something that I believe is a different gospel than the one Jesus modeled.
Somehow, someway, to extend love is interpreted as being soft on the sin that has often brought people to the place where they are. Acceptance is seen as weak & tolerant (in the swear word version of tolerant,) & forgiveness is extending ‘sloppy’ grace to people so they’ll stick around the church…
I love how Mr. C explained & then defined ‘his version’ of Love, Acceptance, & Forgiveness – & how each one embodies the mission of the Christ-follower, & also allowed Jesus to be at home, be Himself in any & every situation, regardless of who He was hanging around with. Every word needs a definition by the way – because they’re carrying all kinds of weight & meaning around in all of our heads – so, to help us grasp it, he defined the words, then gave examples of what he sees that Love, Acceptance, & Forgiveness are NOT.
He said a lot more than that, but I really camped out on Acceptance & Agreement… extending acceptance, lived out, is embracing others w/o the condition of holding the same belief, opinion, or set of values. It’s how Jesus could hang w/sinners w/o feeling threatened that He would become like them…He was confident in Himself & His own identity & looked at others in the way God looks at them. Many of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day had a severe issue w/Jesus because they couldn’t & didn’t make the distinction between Accepting someone & Agreeing with them. More on that another time…
Other blog topics that will emerge soon:
Thanks for playing along & reading all the way through…
i struggle more with forgiveness vs. being a doormat. i can’t seem to find the balance even in my family life let alone with “others”. you should blog about that.
“can’t you believe it, it’s just my luck. No recess.”
I just read this book a couple months ago. Loved it. I have had an interesting transition over the last couple of weeks, thrown into a class with 15 other people I would never choose to hang out with on my own. This was a really great reminder about acceptance of ALL people. thanks.
I was here.
I was here