Image by philippe leroyer via FlickrQuite a few years ago I went to New Orleans for the weekend with my boyfriend (who is now my husband) and a few friends. Of course we all ended up downtown on Bourbon Street. I am not the biggest fan of Bourbon Street, but I went anyway. It was there for the first time that I saw a man holding a sign like the one in the picture.
I was so embarrassed, I wanted to run and hide. I had been raised in a "Christian" home and had my own personal relationship with God. The thing is, it wasn't because I thought that he was talking to me, or that I felt guilty that I was out there, that I was embarrassed. It was the fact that he was there practically persecuting people he didn't know, representing "Christians". He was yelling and arguing with people. I was embarrassed because if this is the only interaction that the people there have with "Christians" then why would they ever want to know God. Who would ever want to feel persecuted all of the time?
My God, my Jesus did not persecute. And I really think that if Jesus walked the earth today, I am pretty sure that you would find him at places like Bourbon Street. He wouldn't be holding a sign with accusations and threats, He would be talking and sharing the love of God. Trying to scare people into repentance is never genuine. Jesus wants your heart but He wants it because you want to give it to Him.
Which brings me to one of my favorite verses, I wish I had known my Bible better back then or I would I spouted to the man the sign:
Matthew 7:1-5 (King James Version)1Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.