In our hyper connected world, we are exposed daily to people who claim allegiance to Jesus but who are misrepresenting Him. Here is one example.
I’ve never watched an entire episode of either the Bachelor or the Bachelorette. For that matter, I haven’t seen a complete episode of Survivor either. Or the Amazing Race. Or the Real Housewives of Any City. (Un)Reality TV isn’t my cup of tea.
But apparently in the current season of the Bachelorette, the woman whose affections are being sought professes faith in Jesus. Hannah Brown told a reporter for Entertainment weekly that her faith “is a big, huge part of me. A lot of times people get Christianity and religion messed up. Your faith should be something personal and a relationship, and it's not to judge others.”
The context for her comments was her admission that she has become physically involved with some of the male contestants on the show.
“Regardless of anything that I've done,” Hannah said, “I can do whatever. I sin daily and Jesus still loves me. It's all washed. If the Lord doesn't judge me and it's all forgiven, then no other man, woman ... anything can judge me.”
“Nobody's gonna judge me, I won't stand for it,”
I don’t know Hannah’s heart and I am not her judge. But her thinking here doesn’t line up with the passage we looked at last Sunday. “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him” (12 John 3:6).
Here’s what I’d want to say to Hannah if I had the chance. I’d also want to say that the “no one’s gonna judge me” defense doesn’t reflect a humble heart or a teachable spirit.
I’d want to say that maybe instead of insisting that Jesus loves her she ought to be asking herself “do I love Jesus? And if I do, why do I disregard His word?”
I’d want to say “you were called to freedom, Hannah. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh” (Galatians 5:13).
And I’d want to say “I’m not judging you. I’m begging you to listen to Jesus. Deny yourself. Pick up your cross. Follow Him. Because there is a day is coming when He will say to some “depart from me, you workers of unrighteousness. I never knew you” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Hannah is just today’s example of a high profile follower of Jesus misrepresenting Him and the gospel. There are plenty more I could name. Just spend an hour on Twitter and you’ll see what I mean.
Gratefully, you and I don’t have reporters from Entertainment Weekly or the New York Times examining our lives or asking for our views on faith and morality. All it would take for any of us is for an average reporter to do a little digging and the embarrassing gaps in our life would be revealed.
I trust there is a difference between you and Hannah in how you address the sin issues in your life. Confessing sin. Turning from sin. And purposing to abide with Jesus, to practice righteousness and to purify yourselves as He is pure (1 John 2:28 – 3:3).
At the same time, you and I need to be aware that we have friends, family members, co-workers and neighbors who (presumably) know that we profess faith in Christ, and who are drawing conclusions about what it means to believe in and follow Jesus based on what they see and hear, not only from high profile public figures who show up in their social media feed, but also from what they see and hear from us.
I believe at the end of the day, how we represent Jesus to those around us, for good or for ill, will have a more profound kingdom impact on others than the highly publicized statements of celebrities who profess faith but who distort the gospel.
Maybe instead of paying a lot of attention to reality TV stars, or politicians, or sport figures, or any other high profile figures who are guilty of embarrassing misrepresentations of Jesus, we should make sure we are doing all we can to keep our own conduct honorable, so that even if people might speak against us, they can see our good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:12).
You are a brand spokesperson for Christianity. The Bible calls you an ambassador representing the Kingdom of God (2 Corinthians 5:20). You are a proxy for Jesus. There are people who are deciding what they think about Him based on what they see and hear from you. So let your light shine before me, so they can see your good works and glorify your father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).
Wanna see what’s been going on this week?
First, there was a great night of swimming on Tuesday.
Then this morning, about two dozen kids had a great time learning about how God always wins. Apparently, some part of the lesson involved two boys with whipped cream on their faces. I’m told there were Cheetos involved. Don’t ask…
Meanwhile, as we get ready for our night of Hymns and Prayers this Sunday, things down on David O Dodd are moving along nicely…
Remember, Sunday night we’re planning to meet at the church at 6:30 to spend some time singing and worshipping, talking about our transition plans and about our Dedication service on Sunday, September 8, and walking through the building praying, asking God to use us to bring Jesus and the gospel to new friends and neighbors.
The Hymns and Prayers time will take about an hour. We won’t have child care, but we’d love to have you come and bring the kids. You might want to bring a few folding chairs too. Or plan to stand a lot.
This is an exciting time for our church. An exciting opportunity for us to love and serve new friends that we expect God will be bringing our way.
We need to be praying. A lot.
I hope you’ll be in town that day and be able to join us for this special evening at our new church home as we think and dream and hope for our future.
As we’ve seen in our study of 1 John, what we believe about who Jesus is is a factor in whether our faith is authentic Christianity or not. How we live and the choices we make are another indictor.
And as we’ll see this Sunday, how we interact with the sometimes hard to love people in our lives is a key indicator of genuine faith.
See you in church.
Soli Deo Gloria!