Lately I have been disturbed by several hostile letters from some who profess to be believing, practicing Christians.
After Pastor Steve Newman's theologically sound response to the absurd notion that California's recent wildfires were God's punishment for the newest civil rights equality, he himself was castigated as a false prophet. No wonder so many outside the church reading such words believe all Christians are judgmental, intolerant, narrow-minded and rigid.
Perhaps, as Christians, before we throw enough stones to shatter all our glass houses, we should take a closer look at God's Word. When Jesus got the most angry - it wasn't with those folks considered immoral or socially unworthy. Quite the contrary - Jesus was their friend.
Jesus' harsh words were ALWAYS for the respectable folks, the religious leaders, those smug in their own holiness. When we think we are better than others in God's eyes, Jesus challenges us to look into the mirror and seek healing for our own flaws before pointing fingers at others' flaws.
Also, I notice in both Old and New Testaments the rules for right living and Godly behavior were given to the community who already believed. God didn't intend for believers to become the "morals police" for the world. By example, Christians are called to gently invite others to meet Jesus, not shove Him down their throats.
When we ask, "What would Jesus do?" the answer is in Scripture: Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Heal the sick. Visit prisoners. Console those who mourn.
We are to be agents of Jesus' healing in a broken and hurting world - impossible when we are throwing stones at each other and at those who already hurt.
Micah 6:8 tells us what God requires: "Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with God." If we focus on that, we won't have time to judge others. My prayer today is that someone I meet might see a glimpse of God in me - and not run from judgment, but come nearer to the promise of God's love. Maybe that could be your prayer, too.
Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church