If I'm honest I really tire of the sentiments on this sandwich board. Not because I am pro sin, but because I am pro love. We might say that a political candidate resorts to mudslinging to hide or distract from the fact that they have nothing deep or new to say regarding the political issues or needs of their constituents. And I think that is right. When you can't beat the competition through fair, good, and exciting possibilities then give the people the best of the worst candidate. It is sad really to watch candidates go out of their way to blast one another only to make themselves look cheap and petty. Imagine taking thousands or millions of dollars only to drudge up the dirt on the other candidate and do your best to shame and humiliate them. Sorry, but I have better things to do with my money.
So, when I see Christians preaching and proclaiming a message of slander against sinners in order to have them turn to the truth I cannot help but think that the truth those Christians possess isn't big enough for them. And they would be wrong. Because the truth of Jesus is enough, period. We claim to stand on the truth, but that stool seems to be so wobbly for us, we try to prop it up with a leg of sin-hating, fear-mongering, shame-inducing judgment.
God did not sit us at his right or left and put us at a place of judgment. He asked us to follow him. And where did He go that we should follow. He went into the homes of sinners, Pharisees, and those of the dying. If we are walking after Christ we are finding a way to helping others heal, come back to God, to help them be rid of shame and abuse.
When we use sandwich boards like above or proclaim the destruction of those evil sinners, we are standing in the circle holding tightly to our rock that we are ready to sling. However, we are not in the presence of an arrogant giant, but a humble rabbi who is playing in the dirt. Drop the rock, walk away from the adulteress and learn what Jesus just taught. Shame, judgment, retribution, and humiliation will not save a people. Only the one who could cast the stone who wishes not to, can save people. Judgment belongs to God. I'm not saying that we should throw out the baby with the bathwater and not look at what God expects from us. I'm saying that when we try to share the message of Jesus, we should share Jesus, not use every possible sin to shame someone into believing Jesus. What you win people with, is what you win people to. So if you use criticevangelism to win people to your movement or your church or even to Jesus, you will need to continue fuel the fire of criticism to keep them there, just ask Westboro Baptist Church.
If we truly are standing on the Truth, then we have much to stand on today. Jesus was full of love. Love for children, those in need, those who were involved in sin, those possessed by demons, those who wanted to follow and those who only wanted to rule and lord over people. Jesus looked each of them in the eye and offered them a better story, a different perspective. The truth is still there. It is still rich. It is still powerful! The world should know what the church believes in, not only what it believes against.
I love the story that Donald Miller shares in Blue Like Jazz, where he talks about their college Christian club opening a confession booth on campus. And when the people came to them, they wouldn't let them confess their sin to them, but instead the Christian club confessed their sin of judgment and wrongness to those who came up to the booth. Now that is the subversive work of the kingdom. Maybe we could start that kind of movement and when people are won to the same humility Jesus had, then what we will need to continue in the effort is more Christ-likeness and I could go for that, how about you? We need to stand for truth and let that truth be enough!
What would your sandwich board say to win others to Jesus?