Not Trying To Be Ugly

He’s not trying to be ugly to anybody. He just doesn’t know Jesus yet.

Onward p. 212

This is a comment from Moore’s grandmother to Moore when he commented about a tattoo on the arm of someone visiting their church when Moore was a kid. Whatever offense the grandmother may have taken, this was the right response to her grandson. When Paul was writing to the Corinthians about judging others he made a similar point. We are not to point fingers at those outside the church. We must, instead, make sure that we who claim to follow Jesus are walking in repentance and holding one another accountable. 

The world plays by different rules, and while we long for a culture that flourishes because it loves and follows God’s justice and righteousness, we will never achieve heaven on earth by forcing others into a mold they don’t know. And the world, as Moore’s grandmother rightly proclaimed, doesn’t know Jesus yet. And if we think knowing Jesus is just following a set of rules, conforming to a set of standards, then we don’t know him either. We can’t expect the world to understand the complexities of the ugliness of sin. Sure, many understand the ramifications of some sins, but in general, the world doesn’t see the deep scars formed on the hearts of men when they turn away from God’s intent. 

Instead, can we be kind and patient and loving toward those who might bring us offense? Zaccheus’s behavior was surely offensive to the Lord—preying on the weak has always roused God’s anger—yet Jesus engaged him in love and kindness, and this brought about a great repentance.

Sure there are people in this world who are “trying to be ugly,” but not every story is the same, and you and I are not mind readers. Can we treat one another as image bearers, some of whom just don’t know Jesus yet? 

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