There are certain kinds of Christians that I have no patience for.
You know the type.
They are the people who stand on the street and hold up signs designed to make people feel bad about themselves.
They are the people who think that they are God’s favorites and that they have everything all figured out.
They are the people who say to the world, “The reason you’re suffering is that you have angered God, and you deserve whatever you get.”
And in my frustration, I often become exactly like them—believing that God agrees with me—and therefore loves me—more than them.
I recently read an amazing book by Nadia Bolz-Weber entitled Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint.
In the book, Nadia is invited to speak to a large group of people that will include several fundamentalist church leaders. It is clear that the reason she specifically had been chosen to speak to this group is so that she could shame the fundamentalists, which is an opportunity that most of us would have relished.
However, in thinking through what she would say, she is reminded of something her husband had said to her in a previous conversation:
“Nadia, the thing that sucks is that every time we draw a line between us and others, Jesus is always on the other side of it” (p. 57).
Of course, she decides not to shame the fundamentalists and instead talk about grace and God’s love.
That quote about drawing a line between us and others has stayed with me, and I think about it several times a day. It’s not simply that I want other people to stop drawing those lines; it’s that I need to stop drawing them.
This, to me, is one of the responsibilities of church leaders—teaching their people that we cannot be the kinds of Christians who draw lines, no matter who ends up on the other side of them.
Because when we separate ourselves from others—creating any kind of “us-versus-them” situation—Jesus stands with the people we are excluding or judging or condemning.
What do you think? Are there moments when you want to draw lines between you and others? Have you ever been on the other side of someone else's lines? Do you think there are times when drawing lines is justified?