God has been doing that of late with me, many little lessons, many little road signs, all pointing to this one great truth….We are Jesus to the world. We are indeed the Fifth Gospel.
I know a certain someone, whom I will not name here. His heart is big; it is very possible that his heart is the truest and the biggest of his entire family.
He does not walk with Jesus, he does not know Jesus, or should I say that he does not know the real Jesus. He has seen what he thinks is Jesus, in many members of his family. Seen the stares, seen the disdaining looks, the turned up eyebrows. Heard the words of this Jesus in the mutterings, the things he hears from others who tell him that this Jesus does not want them to hang around with him, would prefer that they stay away. He understands that He is outside the grace and mercy of this Jesus that he sees in them. His mistakes are too great for this Jesus to forgive. He should have gone to college, he should have gotten a real job, he should have….he should have…….he simply should not be who he is, nor should he have the things he has.
He feels judged, condemned, misunderstood, unwelcome, unloved……by the Jesus he sees in their eyes.
It breaks my heart to see this, to know that that instead of love and grace, instead of mercy and forgiveness, he sees judgment, he sees condemnation. My heart breaks and I pray that it might be possible that God would allow him to see Jesus in me, I do not get to see him much, do not get to speak to him of these things he has seen, I only know second hand how he feels, what he has seen, how he must take in this false gospel of us.
The person of whom I speak has made mistakes in this life, has turned to things that were outside the law, but at the same time he has accepted full responsibility for every choice, another thing that makes him different from his critics. A lot of things have gone wrong, but he keeps pushing on, doing the best he can with the hand life has dealt him, a hand that he acknowledges responsibility for. Soon he will be moving on to a new life, where he will try and rebuild things, try to make things work. He will take the Jesus that he sees with him. Oh Lord let him see the real You, let him take the real You with him when he goes! Lord be merciful to him, go before him, pour out Your great grace and mercy upon him…..as You poured it out upon them…upon us. Forgive Your people for their lack of grace, and redeem that which is lost, that which was done wrong, that which showed to this lost one the wrong Jesus, the wrong gospel.
We are a living gospel. We are His hands, His feet, and His voice. They watch us, so much more closely than you think. They take in each and every thing you do, each and every thing you say, they know that you profess Christ, and they watch you, to see if you are different, to see if you live what you say you believe. Think carefully. Have you forgotten where you once were? Who you once were? Have you forgotten that there, but for the grace of God, go you?
We are to live in grace, we are to show forth grace, we are to love and accept and forgive. It is not given us to change people with our looks, our condemnation nor our judgments, it is given us to love and preach the gospel. We can preach it with words, but we should also preach it with our very lives.
I too have shown forth the wrong Jesus. I too have judged others, and failed to give grace, failed to extend acceptance and love. We all do. But we ought not.
God forgive us for our failures, and redeem them. May our hearts shine forth Your great grace and mercy. I pray today, that You would remind me before every my mouth opens, before ever my gaze looks into another's eyes of this one question Lord....may it reverberate in my mind throughout my day......"If I am the only Jesus they see, and they are asked to describe Jesus, how will they describe Him?"
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling”
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
“Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?”
“…the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”