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Not that I have any real force behind this open letter to every person on the planet, but it’s what’s on my heart today. For so long, those who claim to know and live for God have been such a harmful representation of him (myself included) that many people wrongly dismiss their rightful place as a beloved, treasured son or daughter of the Creator of the universe.
Toward remedying that, I’d like to state the following:
To the people of planet Earth:
- We, the church of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, must humbly ask your forgiveness for our self-righteous arrogance. Although we have known that there is freedom in Christ (for all), we have not partaken of this ourselves, nor do we offer it to anyone else—Christian brother or sister, nor our neighbors who do not identify with Jesus. Instead, we continue in the delusion that when we have general success over one temptation toward self gratification (or, sin) then we can claim righteousness of our own doing, setting ourselves apart from all others, and then condemning them for their inability to control their own unrighteousness and sinfulness—despite our own failures in so many other areas of our own lives, including the areas over which we presume mastery.
- Likewise, we ask your forgiveness for proudly condemning sinfulness in you—again, despite knowing our own sinfulness, and either willingly ignoring it, or dismissing it as “not as bad as yours”. We know that Jesus said he did not come to condemn the world, but to save it, and that he wants for us to have life abundantly. That is not exclusive to existing “club” members, but an offer to each of us who breathe this air. Equally, and unconditionally. God does not show favoritism.
- We humbly ask you to forgive our hard-line stance on doctrines, which have caused divisions even amongst ourselves for centuries and centuries. Jesus said that we would be known by our love—first for fellow believers, then for all others—and we have mostly been a disastrous example of that, only putting our agendas and doctrines and “rightness” ahead of love for each other, and love for you. Divisiveness fueled by lust for power, selfish ambition, as well as hatred and envy, and again the ever-present, horribly ugly self-righteousness we constantly wear. Please forgive us for loving right doctrine more than loving our neighbors.
- We, the church, ask you to forgive us for not acknowledging that our true citizenship is not of one earthly nation, nor even of this temporary mortal existence, and in such a state of willful ignorance, repeatedly indulging the lusts of our flesh: pride, materialism and greed, and gluttonies of many kinds—all while mostly living as uninvolved, presumably “unaffected” bystanders, offering to “pray for” anyone in need (more often than actually getting into the mess of hurt and suffering in which many of our neighbors find themselves every day). Please forgive our inactions to this point, and while we know that we can’t make right every wrong in a broken world, we want to live each moment remembering the grace we’ve been extended, and extend that to you, our fellow human beings.
- We also ask you to forgive the many times our desire to own the only truth has hurt you. Words, once uttered, can not be rescinded. Actions may even be harder to take back. In humility, understanding that we are no better than anyone else, we ask for your forgiveness and wish to restore with you a relationship like Jesus had with all of those with whom he interacted—who would receive him: one of kindness, acceptance, gentleness, no agenda, no desire to control or demand to conform, and no thought to the “reputation” of the person with whom he abided.
May His True Kingdom come.
Grace and Mercy, and the fullness of Jesus Love and Peace we extend to you,
—The Church, Jesus’ beloved bride
The saddest thing is, if we (the church) would simply acknowledge our own imperfection, brokenness, and that we are all created equal (meaning God does not show favoritism, making any of us better by birth than anyone else on the planet) then the Gospel would not be so readily and widely dismissed.
Now, I am not naive (at least, not entirely) … I realize that since God has given us the ability to choose, even if the church were the perfect messenger—being humble, acknowledging imperfection, and only extending grace, mercy, and love and justice to all—every last person on the planet still must choose to believe that God exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (because He wants to, and he invites us to trust him with all that we are, all he has given us). AND, there most certainly is evil in the world. And sin.
And so, there will always be brokenness.
We, the church are broken individuals, and a sadly broken Body. We are made whole in Christ, but as we remain in this world, cursed in sin, we do not yet enjoy the fullness of that wholeness.
But we can endeavor to simply do what is just, love mercy, and walk each step with God in palpable, real humility.
If that were so, fellow Pale Blue Dot dweller, we would know a very different world.