I’m Sorry

I normally only publish on Mondays, but this is something that has been weighing heavily on my heart. I took a month off of Facebook and other social media apps. It was pretty awesome. Nothing legalistic or depriving myself of things as a religious fast. I just wanted a break. On a daily basis, we are bombarded with ads, opinions, and millions of people trying to prove their point/beliefs/convictions to the world. I see hurt, anger, and frustration on a daily basis. This is my apology to those who have been hurt, abused, or cast aside in the name of Christianity.

If our job was to beat people down in judgement, Jesus would have applauded the plank in our hands instead of pointing out the one in our eye.

Dear You,

I wanted to take a minute to just simply say, I’m sorry. 

I’ve been there. I’ve been the one to rant and complain about your actions without explaining the truth about your created value, purpose, or destiny. I’ve used the defense that, as a Christian, it’s my job to tell you the truth. I’ve heaped guilt and condemnation upon your head by abusing the word love. I’ve preached at you with the selfish motive of trying to change you. To point out how wrong your lifestyle is. 

I’ve completely discounted your views and beliefs because they are opposite of mine. I’ve called you names, argued your every point, and even decided to wash my hands of you, because you aren’t worth saving. I’ve said things like “Remove all negative people from your life” or “Life is short, don’t waste it with negative people” or even “You cannot hang out with negative people and expect to live a positive life.” Thankfully, Jesus never thought that way.

I’ve stood outside abortion clinics with huge signs that read, “Mommy, why do they want to kill me?” and “Babies are murdered here.” I saw you walking towards the entrance, and I tried to stop you. Not to say “I love you”, and show you how merciful our God is, but to shout in your face and call you a baby killer. Instead of seeing tears running down the face of an unsure, terrified, shamed, teenage girl, all I see is my agenda. All I care about is making sure you know how wrong your choices are. 

On social media, I’ve posted every scripture verse I can find that speaks against same-sex marriages. I’ve boycotted your stores, products, and creations because you’re gay. I’ve turned my nose up at the very mention of the word homosexual. I’ve seen you walking in the mall hand in hand with your partner, and made a point of glaring at you in disdain. I’ve closed the door to my church and drafted new guidelines that prohibit your presence. I’ve repeatedly enforced my belief that you will most certainly burn in Hell if you don’t repent and change your ways. I’ve scoffed, mocked, and ridiculed you as much as I can through statuses, comments, and blog posts. 

Even though the Bible says to pray for our leaders, I’ve constantly attacked, belittled, complained about, and called you a devil worshiper, Mr. President. Instead of praying that God would quietly speak to your heart and show you His grace and mercy, I’ve made sure to convince all my friends that you are truly an evil man. I’ve verbally attacked the people who voted for you and believe you are a great leader of this country. I make it known that I only vote Republican and look down on anyone who disagrees. 

Again, I am very sorry for the severe injustice I’ve served you by not manifesting the glorious love of Jesus. Even while I was lost in darkness and living a life of death and destruction,  Jesus died on that Cross for me. He died for you as well. Don’t let my actions push you away from a loving God who wants a relationship. Forgive me, and give me the opportunity to love you, unconditionally.


The judgmental Christian


After a full day of attacking baby killers, thieves, drug dealers, drunk drivers, atheists, devil worshipers, prostitutes, terrorists, and homosexuals, most “Christians” will lay down at night and thank God that He saved them and they aren’t like any of those people. They will sleep peacefully, knowing their names are written in the Book of Life. Then, they will wake up tomorrow and make sure the entire world knows they are a Christian.

We aren’t here waiting for a bus ride into Heaven.

We’re here to love.

Back to the basics: Identity

In order for us to truly know who we are, we have to go back to the beginning. Genesis 1:26-27 says:

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Wow. We were created in the image of God. The Creator of all things. The One from Whom all of life springs forth. We aren’t just worms born from the dust. We were carefully fashioned in the very same likeness as our Father. God could have made the animals in His image, but He didn’t. He chose us.

So, right away, we see how much value we have from the very beginning. Unfortunately, something happened, and man was separated from God. He ate from the forbidden tree, and sin entered the perfect world.

Genesis 2:16-17 says:

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Now we know that when Adam ate from the tree, he didn’t fall over dead. So what exactly did God mean when He said Adam would die? He meant that his identity would die. His created value would be lost. Instead of walking around expressing the image of God, man would become just like the enemy. Self-serving. Self-pleasing. Self-aware.

In that instant, the enemy knew he had won a major victory. With man so focused on self, any relationship with the Creator would be severed. It was a glorious day for satan and his hordes of demons. It was not possible for him to defeat God, but he had successfully managed to dethrone God from the heart of man.

The Old Testament is all bout the law of sin and death. The consequences from that day in the Garden are documented throughout all 39 books. We see the wages of sin and the destruction of mankind.

The New Testament tells a different story. A man named Jesus enters the world and there is once again hope of reconciliation. John 3:16 says that God so loved the world, that He gave His only son. After the events in the Garden, God could have given up on us, but He didn’t. He never lost sight of what we would look like with Him living inside of us.

Jesus did what no other man before could ever do. He walked a perfect life on this earth and fulfilled the law. Then, He died. But here is the key. Jesus didn’t die on the Cross because we were sinners. He had to take on sin so He could obliterate its power forever, but He didn’t die to show us how bad we are.

Luke 19:10 says (emphasis mine):

10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.

That which was lost. Not those whom were lost. What was lost? When Adam ate from the tree, he lost his identity and created value. Jesus died so we could once again claim our identity and birthright. He gave us the opportunity to be reconciled with God. C’mon. That is awesome! Jesus was separated from God so we could forever be joined with God. Jesus died so we could live. When sin got finished with Adam in the Garden, he was unrecognizable. Jesus was marred more than any other man so we could once again have our true identity back.

Jesus didn’t die on the Cross to expose our sin. He died to reveal our identity and created value.

The value of something is determined by the price paid. Heaven went bankrupt to reconcile us back to the Father. Jesus didn’t die for a bunch of low life, dirt groveling sinners. He died because we are sons and daughters of the King. That right there determines our value and worth.

For too long, we’ve allowed life and other people to be the barometer we use to gauge how much God loves us. We allow our circumstance to shape and mold us. We allow life to speak louder than truth. When we live by feelings instead of faith, we will go from bummer to bummer instead of glory to glory.

When we truly understand who we are in Christ, everything changes. We see everything through the lens of love. The past no longer has the power to potter our lives. People no longer have the power to potter our lives. Circumstances no longer have the power to potter our lives.

It’s not about us. It’s all about Him. All God is asking us to give up is something we were never created for in the first place.

Jesus didn’t say to deny satan and incorporate God into our lives to have a better day. He said to deny self and follow Him.

We have to quit striving towards the Cross and start living from its finished work.

The event that changed history forever

The night was silent. A shroud draped the garden like the weight of a heavy blanket. Slivers of moonlight peered through the trees and washed over the man kneeling. The heart inside His chest thumped like a drum, overcome with wrenching emotion. Drops of blood slowly trickled down His face as He looked up to pray.

“Father, there must be another way. I just can’t believe after everything I’ve done, this is how it’s all going to end. I haven’t done anything wrong. Please. Provide a different way.”

He stood to His feet and returned to the men He considered His closest friends and brothers. They had promised to stay awake and pray with their Teacher. They were all sleeping.

Jesus shook His head. “I should have known. Why are you guys sleeping? The time has come. Let’s go.”

They started to leave when suddenly the darkened night was flooded with the glow of flickering torches. A group of men approached Jesus and His disciples. He noticed Judas walking towards Him. There is the one who will betray me. I don’t know why I gave him the chance.

Judas walked up to Jesus and kissed Him on the cheek. “Greetings, Rabbi.”

“I can’t believe you’re doing this, Judas. After everything I’ve done for you, how could you betray me? And with a holy kiss? Unbelievable.”

As the soldiers reached out to arrest Jesus, Peter drew his sword and attacked. He swung blindly and struck one of the servants, cutting off his ear. The man cried out in agony and dropped to the ground. Jesus walked over and picked up the severed ear. “Your name is Malchus, right?”

The man nodded, his face clouded in pain.

“Why are you doing this? You know I haven’t done anything wrong. I’m an innocent man, and here you are to arrest me and shackle me in chains. Don’t you see how unfair this is? I could easily heal your ear, but you know what? I believe you need to think about what you’ve done. Let me know when you decide to change your ways, and we’ll talk about the ear.”

Jesus dropped the ear to the ground and raised His hands in surrender. The men began to punch Him in the face and stomach. They spit on Him as they placed Him in heavy chains. They brought Him before the Sanhedrin where He would be questioned.

One of the men looked at Jesus and sneered. “Tell us if you are indeed the Christ, the Son of God.”

Jesus nodded. “Of course I am. You know all the things I’ve done. How else could I have performed miracles, healed people, and raised anyone from the dead?”

The man slowly retreated and began to tear his robes. “Blasphemy. We don’t need any other witnesses. He has spoken blasphemy with his own mouth. What do the rest of you think?”

“He deserves death,” they shouted.

“Whoa, whoa. Wait a minute,” Jesus said. “Are you kidding me? Death? Don’t you think that’s a little extreme?”

Without another word, they took Jesus to stand before Pilate for sentencing. He was beaten, bloody, and hardly recognizable.

Pilate stared at Him. “Are you King of the Jews?”

“Yes,” Jesus answered. “This isn’t exactly how royalty should be treated, is it?”

“Do you hear all the things they are saying about you? Don’t you have anything to say for yourself?”

“I have done nothing wrong. I’m innocent and this is completely unfair. No one will listen, though. I’ve tried to tell them.”

Pilate stood before the crowd. “What shall I do with Jesus, Who is called the Christ?”

In unison, the crowd erupted into shouts of “Crucify him! Crucify him! Give us Barabbas!”

Jesus shook His head and cried out to the crowd. “Are you serious? You want Barabbas? He’s a murderer. I haven’t done anything wrong.”

“Crucify him! Crucify him! Crucify him!”

Pilate allowed the soldiers to beat Jesus with a whip constructed of bone fragments, glass, and pieces of rock. They tore away His flesh  with every strike. There wasn’t much left of a man once they had finished. They dragged Him from the courtyard and threw Him to the ground. Two soldiers walked over with a cross and forced Jesus to stand to His feet and begin to carry it.

With every labored step, Jesus was hit with sticks, punched in the face, and cursed. They started up Via Dolorosa, and Jesus reached His breaking point.

“That’s it. I’m done,” He said as the cross fell to the dusty ground. He looked up towards Heaven. “Father, I know this is what You want me to do, but I just can’t. These people don’t deserve anything but death. I am completely innocent, yet they are treating me like a common criminal. I mean, come on. They wanted to free Barabbas. Barabbas, the murderer. It’s ridiculous and not fair at all. All I ever did was help them. Don’t they realize who I am? I chose to lower myself to their human level, become a man, and walk in love. Look what it got me. They don’t appreciate anything I’ve done.”

The soldiers stared in disbelief. They looked at each other, unsure how to proceed.

Jesus walked down the path away from everyone else and raised His hands. “Okay, Father. Take me back up. I’m done. These people have hurt and abused me more than anyone should ever have to endure. I know what they are going to do. They are going to laugh in my face as they hammer rusty nails through my hands and feet. Do you really think there is any hope at all for these people? They don’t care about You, me, or righteousness. Let them figure it out on their own. I want nothing more to do with it. I don’t care if my blood, my sacrifice, would reconcile them back to You. They don’t deserve it. Let them see what Hell is all about.”


My eyes filled with tears as I finished writing this alternate version of what could have happened. Just think about where we would be right now had Jesus acted like us instead of love during those dark hours. He had every right to behave exactly how you just read. He was completely innocent, yet He knew what it meant to die on that tree. He could have easily ended up on some talk show as a victim. We are reconciled back to the Father because of love.

Jesus said to deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow Him. If we couldn’t walk through that same situation just as He did, what are we doing? Are we living for Him or only for ourselves?

We get so wrecked when people treat us wrong, lie to us, betray us, and try to hurt us. It’s time to give up all the rights we think we have and become love.

If we don’t see words or actions in the life of Jesus, they shouldn’t be in ours either.

Are we living in fear or by faith?

Webster’s Dictionary defines fear as this:

to be afraid of (something or someone)

to expect or worry about (something bad or unpleasant)

to be afraid and worried

Webster’s Dictionary defines faith as this:

strong belief or trust in someone or something

belief in the existence of God : strong religious feelings or beliefs

a system of religious beliefs

There is a glaring difference in the meaning of those words.

I read somewhere that the word fear is mentioned 365 times in the Bible. As if God was telling us each day not to fear. Whether or not that is just coincidence, I still think it’s pretty cool.

There is no grey area here. We are either living in complete fear, or by total faith. It can’t be both.

We can tell exactly where we are by how we respond to certain situations. We all go through stuff. We face trials, pain, and loss. I heard a sermon a couple of weeks ago during which the pastor said God allows us to go through all those things to teach us lessons. That is a very warped and inaccurate view of our Father. The enemy wants to tear us down and leave us wondering whether God loves us or not. He uses life to control us. We get the call that a loved one was just diagnosed with cancer. We immediately fall apart and start calling on God to do something. That’s fear, not faith.

Faith is hanging up from that call and thanking God that he has given us power over sickness and death. It’s visiting that loved one in the hospital and sharing Jesus with everyone there. Nurses, doctors, technicians. We hear the word cancer, and we gasp. Why? Because that word instills fear in our hearts.

We have the very same power inside of us that raised Christ from the grave of death. That same power can defeat cancer. We have to walk in faith.

If you’re going through anything that relates to death, loss, or destruction, then it’s coming straight from the pit of Hell. The enemy is here to kill, steal, and destroy. Not God.

Fear is turning to God when things have gone wrong. Faith is knowing He’s already there.

We are all at different stages in our walks with Christ. Some are just beginning, while others are more experienced. Our relationship with God is constantly growing. It’s not just saying a prayer and we’re good to go. In a marriage, you don’t just say “I do” and then wait for the relationship to mature. It takes effort.

Philippians 2:12-13 says (emphasis mine):

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

The word fear in this passage isn’t the Webster’s definition I mentioned earlier. The Greek word translated “fear” in this context can equally mean “reverence” or “respect”. We are all working through our salvation. It’s a process.

The reason Jesus was able to endure His time on this earth as a man was because of love. He was love personified. He walked out Christianity and gave us something to follow. He had no fear. Why? Because He was perfect love.

1 John 4:18 says:

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

If we are walking in perfect love, then we won’t live in fear. Our goal on this earth is to become love. God is love. We are to be imitators of God. (Ephesians 5:1)

If we worry, fret, and live in constant fear, we aren’t walking in love. 

It really is that simple.

If you can’t love someone because they might not give it back, you’re living in fear. Faith says “I love you.” Period.

If you have to set boundaries around yourself because of people, then it’s all about self, and you’re living in fear. Faith is not distancing yourself from people, but loving them.

If you can’t approach someone in a crowded mall to let them know how much God loves them, you’re living in fear. Faith walks over and shares the hope of glory within us.

My goal is to completely surrender myself to perfect love and drop all fear to the curb. It’s the only way to truly follow Jesus. He said to deny ourselves.

Fear is all about self. Faith is all about surrender.

Time of Need

I’ve been working hard on my second collection of first-person Bible stories entitled, I Believe. Starting Monday, I am probably going to post just one article per week until I get this project finished. I really want to buckle down and have this available for sale within the next couple of months. One very cool note is that I was able to get an amazing blogger/author/pastor to write the foreword for me. I’ll post more details later.

I wanted to give you another sample from this new collection.


Time of Need

Every day of my life is filled with pain, torment, and a quickly fading sense of hope.

Sometimes, I don’t even try. There are so many here who are desperate for healing. I see mothers, holding small children in their arms, pleading for someone, anyone, to help them. I watch as husbands fight with reckless abandon for just a chance to have their wives healed, but that chance never arrives, and their efforts are in vain. Countless numbers of blind people wander around, hoping, praying they will one day regain their sight. It’s so sad.

On my worst days, I wonder if there was something I did to inflict this condition upon myself. I am unable to walk. I’ve been crippled for almost forty years. What was so horrible that I might have done to deserve such punishment? I fall into a darkened pit of self-pity, looking for anyone to blame for my situation. Then I stop myself and look at the obvious.

If God was the cause of my affliction, why would He send an angel to stir the pool so the sick could be healed? When the waters are aggravated, the first one to step in is instantly cured of their illness. That doesn’t sound like an angry or hateful God to me. It sounds like a God who wants to take care of the people He created. It sounds like a God of love and compassion.

Over the years, I’ve watched as blind people stepped out of the churning waters and saw their loved ones for the first time. Some had children, and they were overcome with joy as if their son or daughter had just been born into the world. All they could do was stare in wonder and amazement. Then they would all cry and laugh together in celebration of a miracle.

I’ve witnessed lepers hesitantly step out of the pool as if they couldn’t believe what had happened. Having for so long been shunned and abandoned as the outcasts of society, I’ve watched them break down in tears as they experienced the warmth of a hug again. The touch of another human being. Smiles from those walking by instead of fearful and hesitant glances.

And then there have been others, like me, who were unable to walk. They were eased into the moving water by those anxious to see a miracle, but stepped out under their power. I know it’s wrong and selfish, but I always wish it were me instead. I’ve tried so many times to make it into the water. I get so close, but then someone steps in front of me and becomes healed right before my eyes. I’ve dealt with so much bitterness, but I’ve started to realize I may never walk again. Maybe I should just accept the situation, and quit fighting it.

Where would I go? I have no close family. I don’t have any friends. No one wants to hang around a person if they can’t walk. It only slows them down when they want to do something. I discovered early on that certain people don’t want anything to do with you if you have nothing to offer. It’s sad because most people don’t even take the time to get to know me. Outward appearances shouldn’t matter, but, unfortunately, they do. They see a cripple, someone with a serious need, and that becomes awkward. To engage in conversation might require more than just a casual hello.

To be continued…


How to know if your church is successful

I remember my first experience at a megachurch.

It was a Saturday night, and we arrived about thirty minutes before the service was scheduled to start. We waited patiently in line with hundreds of other people. Signs covered the walls, each with the title of a previous series. The familiar aroma of freshly brewed coffee hung in the air. Security guards stood by each entrance. Staff members, most barely out of their teens, walked around in skinny jeans and over-sized caps.

Our feet throbbed from the bass thundering inside the sanctuary. It was as if we were waiting in line for a concert. I wondered if it was the same feeling cattle experience when being herded into a fenced enclosure. I believed I even vocalized some mooing sounds while we waited. All in good humor, of course.

Christians are so talented at saying “The church is people, not the building”, yet we continue building bigger and better ones. I’m not anti-church. See my article from last week, Why you shouldn’t go to church.

Jesus wasn’t hip, trendy, fashionable, or good looking. Isaiah 53:2 says:

For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
And as a root out of dry ground.
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him.

Yet, as the corporate body of Christ, we feel the need to be all of those things in order to reach people. We have catchy sermon titles named after popular culture. We play secular music before each sermon. We have trendy coffee shops in the lobby.

I’m not saying those things are wrong. I’m saying, let’s not sell out cheap when the Gospel is the most amazing thing ever. Jesus didn’t need any gimmicks to reach people. He loved them.

Society has several factors that determine how successful a church is.

Numbers in attendance. How much money is given to outreach. How big the worship team is. How many locations or campuses. How many books the pastor has published. The list can go on and on.

I’m here to tell you there is a different way to gauge how truly successful your church is. And it’s a very simple concept.

Strip away the smoke machines, the latest technology, the coffee shops, the trendy accessories and clothing, the dazzling websites showing how much money and time you spend in the community, the luxury cars, the fancy houses, the huge buildings, and the CD’s on iTunes.

Strip everything away until there is nothing left but Jesus.

Are you still happy with church?

Everything I mentioned in the previous paragraph will one day burn. None of it has any lasting value in the overall big picture.

If we need to do all of those things in order to get people through the doors, maybe we need to step back and look at what motivates us. Maybe, just maybe, we are spending too much time inside the building playing church and not enough time outside actually being the church. 

We say Jesus is all we need, but we don’t live that way. To what lengths are we willing to go in order to ultimately die to our self?

Go to church. Invite people to church. Pray that lives are changed. Preach the Gospel.

If everything around us is gone tomorrow, yet we are completely satisfied with Jesus alone, then we have a successful church.

Let’s talk about sin

Back in October, I wrote an article entitled, Is a sinless life possible? Needless to say, it stirred up quite the conversation. Especially when I said my simple answer to that question is yes, I believe it’s possible.

I’m not trying to convince you of anything. We are all the stewards of our own hearts. I’m not here to go 12 rounds debating this either. That is pointless and a waste of time. My blog is about things I believe and how I live my life. It’s okay if you think I’m wrong. I’ts okay if you want to call me a heretic or accuse me of blasphemy. None of that changes my beliefs or the fact that I love you.

When I read the Scriptures, especially when it comes to sin, I always do the if/why thing. Let me give you some examples.

If it’s impossible to live a sinless life, why would John say this in 1 John 2 (emphasis mine):

 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

Notice he says IF we sin, not when we sin. There is a huge difference. The word “if” implies that it may not happen. When says it will.

When it comes to the topic of sin, so many people point to 1 John 1:8-10, which says:

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

John is talking about the born again experience. If anyone says he has no sin, he deceives himself. Why? Because we were born into sin. We need to confess our sins so God will forgive us. Not only does He forgive our sins, He cleanses us from all unrighteousness. This stuff is so powerful when read in the proper context.

If it’s impossible to live a sinless life, why would Paul say this in 2 Corinthians 5:17:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

When we are born again, the old is gone. Done. Settled. Wiped away. We are a brand new creation. That means all of our past is obliterated. Sin no longer has any control over us. One of Satan’s biggest lies is making us believe that just because we have the ability to sin, we are nothing more than sinners trying to make it through this world. We are not sinners. We are saints! Paul never addressed his letters to the “sinners” of the different churches, but to the “saints”.

If it’s impossible to live a sinless life, why would Paul say this in Romans 6:11:

Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We are dead to sin. People will point to Romans 7 and say that Paul was writing about what a wicked person he is. Why would he talk about how dead we are to sin in one chapter, and then go on to say he can’t get away from sin in the next? That doesn’t make any sense. Paul is painting a very clear picture of the difference between walking in the Spirit and walking in the flesh. When we become born again, the flesh no longer has power.

There is probably a lot more to be said on this topic, but I will end here for now. I will leave you with this paragraph from my previous post.

And if Jesus already forgave  ALL our sins, why do we think we have to grovel on our stomachs, weeping and wailing whenever we do stumble? If bad thoughts enter our mind out of nowhere, we immediately think it’s something inside of us, and we seek prayer, deliverance, or at least counseling. But, it’s coming from the outside, from the one who was already defeated. Yes, we repent and go in the other direction, but we don’t need to accept condemnation and guilt. It can be as simple as saying “Father, I know you didn’t create me to think like that. It isn’t me. I love You so much. Thank you for dying on that Cross for me. Thank you for making it possible to walk in righteousness. I thank you that I no longer live by my flesh, but by the power of Your Holy Spirit.”

And it’s not just thoughts that try to enter, it’s old desires and the sinful nature of our former self.

So, yes, I believe a sinless life is possible. I believe it’s possible to walk in complete righteousness with God. The Bible says too much about it for me not to believe that way.

Above everything else, we are to seek His righteousness.

An epic story of mercy, compassion, and unconditional love

The story of Malchus is one of my favorites in the Bible.

Luke 22:47-53:

47 And while He was still speaking, behold, a multitude; and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus to kiss Him. 48 But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

49 When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear.

51 But Jesus answered and said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.

52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and the elders who had come to Him, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs? 53 When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”

Wow. Let’s set the scene to make the impact of this story even more astounding.

Jesus and His disciples were in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus went to pray. Apparently, the disciples tagged along in order to take a nap. A lynch mob came looking for Jesus. Judas walks up and plants a kiss on His cheek. It was a signal to the crowd that identified the man they were there to capture.

I can imagine things becoming pretty chaotic as the men rushed to arrest Jesus. Probably a lot of shouting, confusion, and fear as the disciples were now fully awake.

Malchus, a servant to the High Priest, Caiaphas, was there. Not sure if he was intending on helping secure Jesus, or if he was just standing back a bit, allowing the soldiers to do their job. Whatever the case, Peter comes charging in with his sword and takes a swing.

Men had come to take away the best thing that ever happened to Peter. I doubt very seriously he was aiming for an ear as a warning for them to leave. He was hoping to take the man’s head off. Malchus must have ducked or jumped back, and the result was losing an ear and not his head.

People say that when traumatic events occur, it’s as if time grinds to a halt. I wonder what it was like in that moment. Malchus drops to his knees and raises a hand to the bloody stump on the side of his head. His ear lies on the ground as blood pours down his neck.

Jesus had every reason to ignore what had happened. He was being unjustly accused of blasphemy. One of His closest friends had just betrayed Him. The mob was there to arrest Him, torture Him, and ultimately hang Him on a tree. He knew all of those things were coming. If there was one man on the entire planet who had every reason to be angry, judgmental, and selfish, it was Jesus. He walks over and picks up the ear. Here is where it gets good.

I can only imagine what we would have done. With the man’s ear in our hand, it was the perfect opportunity.

“Look, Malchus. You came here tonight with very bad intentions. I know exactly what’s going on, and what your plan is for me. You’ve got to change your ways, man. You can’t keep living like this. You’re a very bad person. Look, I’ll make you a deal. You stop doing horrible things, and I’ll consider giving your ear back. You don’t actually deserve it back, but if you change the way you’re living, we can discuss options. Here’s the line, buddy. If you step over to this side, I’ll help you. If you stay on that side, you’re on your own. Don’t even think about coming to me until you change.”

Can you imagine Jesus saying those words? Then why do we act like that towards others?

In a moment of pure compassion, undeserved mercy, and unconditional love, Jesus walks over the the very man who came to arrest Him, and heals the ear.

Think about what the rest of the day must have been like for Malchus.

Blood stains on his neck, shirt, and hands. Throughout every second of the day, whenever he touched his ear, or looked at his hands, he would remember that moment in the Garden. I don’t believe it’s possible for someone to walk away from that kind of love unchanged.

What was he thinking as Jesus hung on the Cross? Did Malchus have a family? A wife and kids? Did he tell them about what happened? I wonder what his life was like going forth from that day?

We need to wake up, Church. It’s time to stop being judgmental, holier than thou, and hypocritical. It’s a fact, people don’t deserve our time, good will, or love. Malchus didn’t deserve to have his ear healed. No one has done anything to deserve mercy and grace.

But you know what?

If we want what we deserve, we can go to Hell.

Stop trying to change people before you love them. Stop trying to prove how right you are and how wrong they are before you love them. Stop making people jump through hoops in order to earn your love.

That’s not how it works. We love, because He first loved us.


But, that was Jesus

Stop saying that!

We use the phrase as an excuse when we don’t see things happen.

Jesus was a human, born of woman, grew from a child to a man, got baptized by John the Baptist, and left the Jordan River filled with the Holy Spirit. Then he modeled the Christian life for 3 years. He said to follow Him, so I know it’s possible.

In John 14:12, Jesus said:

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

He didn’t say only a few would do those works. He said whoever believes. That’s all of us, Church. He didn’t say give it a shot and see what happens. He didn’t say try it, and if it doesn’t work, don’t ever try it again.

No, He said if we believe in Him, we will do the things He did, and greater.

I don’t know about you, but I want that. All of it.

Just because we don’t see the results we were looking for, it doesn’t change the truth of His words.

Faith is looking past our experiences and believing the words written in red are true.

Our Identity

Our identity isn’t found in our ability to sin. Our identity is found in Christ.

Just because we have the ability to sin, we believe we’re nothing more than worms trying not to do wrong things. We are sons and daughters of the King. We were bought with a price. Let’s walk in righteousness.

Once we truly understand this, everything changes. The enemy fears we will one day figure out what he already knows.