Jesus Accepts All People
We have been saying for months that we are living in an unprecedented time. This week, we witnessed history being made as the House of Representatives impeached a sitting president for the second time in 14 months, and this political wrangling took place as the single historical day the U.S. death rate from Covid-19 was claiming three lives per minute, or one person dying every 20 seconds.
As we watched treason and attempt at a coup d’état in our nation’s capital, we saw many perpetrators carrying “Jesus Saves” signs. Many who said they believed in Jesus also believed lies spewed by a delusional egomaniac and “drank the cool-aid” of conspiracy theories trumped up to subvert the truth. It is beyond our comprehension of how a person can believe in lies in the name of truth, but we saw it with our own eyes.
As I watched the news, as a Progressive Christian who values inclusion, I found myself asking the question, “How do we remain in communion with those whom we disagree with politically, socially, and theologically?” But also, “How welcoming are we as a church of those with whom we disagree? Can we welcome any one of those violent thugs into our faith community?”
We recognize the fact that if we say that we welcome all people, we must mean all people, even those with whom we disagree or even find repugnant. As a faith community, because we welcome everyone in the name of Jesus, we do not accept people based on their appeasing our sensibilities, but we accept everyone because Jesus accepts all people.
Many of us have experienced rejection and exclusion in various settings because something about us violated someone’s sensibilities, be it race, gender, sexual orientation, physical appearance, language proficiency, or a myriad of other reasons. However, if we reject because someone violates our sensibilities, then we are no different than them. We exclude, just for different reasons.
Exclusion is judgment, but inclusion is opening the possibilities of transformation in the Spirit. The truth of Jesus is that transformation and redemption occur in acceptance, and we see that in the example of Zacchaeus, the Samaritan woman, and many others.
To say that we believe in means we must include everyone, even those who disagree with us. This means we must accept even those who have hated us and wanted to exclude us from their communities. But as people of Jesus, we will accept them, even if they do not want to be accepted by us.
Let us accept all people as Jesus accepts all people.