Sunday, April 26, 2015

Jesus Loves the Jenners

Earlier this week I listened to Jen Hatmaker's amazing sermon on Jesus calling the twelve disciples. It was so good. In it I was reminded that we are often so glad to receive grace freely and yet we give it out so conditionally. Yes, Lord thank you for the grace you extend to me but let's be careful just doling it out to everyone because some of these people are really making a mess of it. A humbling reminder that none of us deserve it. The word grace actually means unmerited favor and yet sometimes we get a little pious and start to think we're more deserving than "those people". I hope I know better and hope that I'll do better.

In related news, my FB newsfeed was full this week of posts of links to an article comparing Kendall Kardashian to Sadie Robertson. I'm no master of TMZ or entertainment news but after one quick read it was easy to see that all of this conversation began over some challenge Kendall made on Twitter. Whatever its original intent, it was translated to be aimed at Sadie in a brawl over which of them would win the culture war and have the most influence over today's teens. A conservative reporter wrote an article in which she made a line by line argument for why parents of young girls should choose Sadie over Kendall as their daughter's role model. It went a little something like this: Kendall wears sleazy clothes while Sadie embraces modesty. Kendall wrote a book that failed while Sadie's had great success. Sadie loves Jesus and Kendall wore revealing clothes to church on Easter as a slap in the face to her view of Christianity (huh?). Sadie is sweet and Kendall is disgusting. Um, excuse me. I'm sure I didn't hear you correctly. You didn't mean that, right? You just forgot for one second that you are talking about children. These little whippersnappers are 17 year old souls. They weren't alive before 1998. How is it okay to slam a young one about like this with thoughtless words?

How many of us could have been held up as role models when we were teenagers? And as long as we're remembering that these girls are just kids can we talk about their parents for a sec? Sadie's had the advantage of God-fearing parents who have (as far as we can assume) taught her about God's abundant love for her and have lived their lives with arms wide open. Kendall's mother manages her career (insert face-palm) and her father wants to be a woman. Come on. Can we expect her to understand and embrace the love and acceptance of a Father God who's crazy about her? And before this starts to sound like a slam to Bruce Jenner, it so is not. I watched his interview with Diane Sawyer and was absolutely touched by his sincere and tender heart. His children from previous marriages appeared on the show and were nothing but lovely. I mean just beautifully supportive and respectful of their dad. His children from his marriage to Kris each added a word of love an support as well though they didn't appear on the show. It truly was inspiring and honestly displayed more authentic and selfless love than we see from most on the right who claim to follow the ways of Jesus.

Listen, I'm a social conservative, too. I don't want my girls to wear provocative clothes, be promiscuous, or follow much of anything that the Kardashians or Jenners are doing - but you know what I want less? For them to spew hateful comments about anyone. Whether people believe what we do about who Jesus is has nothing to do with how much love we're going to extend their way. I'm a little confounded as to why some people who love Jesus feel they get a free pass to hate on people who don't share their beliefs. Jesus loved everyone and spent a good bit of time with people who lived their lives in direct opposition to what He taught.

One great truth from Jen's sermon was that when we're told to love mercy it's not just for ourselves - all that Jesus lived and died (and rose!) for was for every.single.soul. He desires that none should perish and so should we. I really do believe that most Christians would heartily and say, "Yes, of course! His love and grace is for everyone." Yet our actions and words are telling an entirely different story.

I think we've gotten a bit careless with our quest for the easy laugh and enjoyment of making some fun. We've decided that when people "just don't get it" they are fair game for insult and belittlement and we've let them entertain us by their absurdity. But this is a problem. A big problem. Our voices start to be tinged (sometimes saturated) with hate and we've completely lost the ball and lost an audience. No one wants to listen to us anymore because we sound like haters. Nothing trumps our call to love. Not someone's flamboyant image or revealing clothes or failed relationships. These things are only flashing lights and cries for love. For the authentic and eternal love that we know about and could extend to them if we weren't so busy laughing about them behind their backs.

I get that most of us aren't neighbors to the Kardashians, most of us won't rub shoulders with A-listers or politicians with whom we disagree. But we all have people in our sphere of influence who do things we disagree with and they in no way deserve to be the butt of our jokes. Let's love them. Let's quit making fun of them and in humility pray that they'll know how amazing it feels to be loved unconditionally--to not have to live life completely on the edge to feel a thrill.

I believe the best in people. I know people who shared this article likely did so because Sadie is darling and it's wildly encouraging to see someone so young live with such integrity. They just wanted to hold her standards high and I applaud this and would even join in that praise. But it speaks to an underlying trend of laughing at the world that just needs to change if we have any hope to be heard when we share the really, really good news.

I believe most of the time when we rib one another and crack up at the seventh marriage of a celebrity or snipe about the neckline of the dress of an actress we're often just making a joke all while forgetting something of utmost importance -- they are just doing the best they can with what they have. Life is hard. Really hard. And all the more so when you're navigating the choppy sea without a good guide. Our mocking their missteps is about as sensible as laughing when a blind person unknowingly walks right into a brick wall. It's not funny. They don't see it.

The cringe factor for the vocal representatives of the "church" is seriously so high it's getting embarrassing. Let's get busy loving so they know Who we represent. If it's true that we'll be known as His followers by our love, then we've got some 'splainin' to do. We aren't so recognizable anymore, but we surely can be.

We can do better. We must do better. Let's just put down the pointing fingers and fold our hands in prayer. Pray for redemption for our own calloused hearts and for everyone to know the gracious, never-ending, ridiculous love that is showered upon our own unworthy hearts every single day.

5 Comments so far - Add yours!

  1. Beautifully written Melinda! I love your perspective on a family whose private lives have lit up the airwaves. Prayers for the Jenners, not judgement.❤️

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  2. Love the perspective and superb writing as always.

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