My belief in Jesus does not make me prejudiced towards people. On the contrary. Jesus breaks my prejudice, and connects me to all people. Let me explain:
So as a follower of Jesus I do have views on right and wrong – even regarding ‘lifestyle’ choices. Quite simply this is because my God, my authority, has spoken to these matters through his prophets, documented in his scriptures. I believe in this God, and I believe the bible is the inspired compilation of his ‘Word’. And because he speaks to ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ on certain matters, I hold to these.
So, for example, I believe ‘homosexuality’ is not OK with God. I believe it is wrong. The scriptures are clear on this – both Old and New Testament. There’s zero margin for debate. Here’s another issue: premarital sex. This is wrong. Old and New Testament, this is indisputably ‘sexual immorality’ and the Lord calls us to reject it, and repent of it. Sex is marriage. If you ‘unify’ with someone through sex, you don’t have to discuss marriage anymore. The only issue to be discussed – or actioned – is divorce.
OK, so we’re all reeling – Heteros and Homos… we’re all in it, brothers and sisters. My idea? Absolutely not. I would prefer it to be otherwise. Biblical? Absolutely. Indisputably. God’s word and God’s way.
So how, now, do I – holding these convictions – relate to my colleagues, neighbors, friends, family? Well, I need guidance and understanding on this, too. The same way I ‘believe’ and follow the teachings of Jesus regarding matters moral, I need to believe and follow the way of Christ in dealing with my neighbors, family and friends. I can’t accept his teaching, then reject his ‘walk’. He said, ‘Follow me!’ (Mt 19:21)
Jesus did not meet people and speak directly to their sin. He didn’t feel the need to proclaim his view of right and wrong in people’s lives, as a pre-requisite to ‘relating’ to them. Does this mean he did not mind people’s ‘sin’? Absolutely not. His first words in the gospel of Mark are ‘Repent and believe!’ (Mark 1:15) The very purpose of his powerful miracles, as he said himself, was to show that he had ‘power to forgive sins.’ (Luke 5:24) He spoke strongly and powerfully to the issue of repentance and sin – all the time. Here’s another one of many: ‘Unless you repent, you will perish!’ (Luke 13:5)
So here is Jesus, the author of right and wrong, so opposed to ‘sin’ that he died to set us free from it. He preached repentance. He did not shirk from the conversation. But how did he treat people? In holding such pure convictions about right and wrong, did he reject people in sin? On the contrary, he approached them. He smiled. He conversed. He went to their feasts. He truly loved them. He ached for them. He admired them. He wept at the thought and experience of their not receiving him. (Luke 19:42; Matthew 23:37)
These people, sinners, you and I – this is the very reason Jesus stepped out of heaven and sought us.
So with my convictions that ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ matter, and believing repentance and faith is the call of Christ, how do I ‘relate’ to those around me? The same way Jesus related to me, and the way he modeled for us to relate to others.
I have ‘judgments’ on right and wrong, yes. Not ‘pre-judgments’ (prejudices), but very solid, founded judgments based on God and his Word. But because this same God modeled for me that I can love, approach, laugh with, cry with, pray with, and share with sinners – I can be at peace. I can relax. I can be with those I do not agree with. I can work with those I do not agree with. I can love those I do not agree with.
My God has authorized me to see truth, hold convictions of right and wrong, share his gospel message of repentance and faith, and yet truly love those who are in the wrong. This is how I was reached.
‘While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ On hearing this, Jesus said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’ (Matthew 9:10-13)
 1 Timothy 1:8-11; Romans 1:25-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 6:18; Leviticus 18:22
 Matthew 19:1-6; 1 Corinthians 6:15-20; 1Timothy 3:2; 1 Corinthians 7:9
 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 1:4
 Philippians 2:7; Luke 19:10
Peter Walker. I hope you enjoy these reflections. Please feel free to comment!:)