2 Corinthians 5:10 (NLT)
For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. ... (16) So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. ... (19) For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.
- Over the centuries, and certainly in the last few decades, this true and glorious Good News message of reconciliation has often become entangled and confused within a false "gospel." Ironically, it is the church itself that is inadvertantly the vehicle for this false gospel, and a false image of God.
Where the real message is one of great hope, and wonderful joy, brought about by a loving, outrageously generous God, we too often see Christians portraying a gloomy, judgmental, moralistic image of an angry God who will only love us when we get our "act together." Christians today have allowed ourselves to be cast as some sort of moral police force, self-righteously wagging our fingers at people, as if we are their judges.
We are too often abducating our roles as the savoury salt, illuminating light and sweet fragrance of God's presence in the world, and sadly, we are driving people away from God.
The reason? I think it's the fulfillment of Jesus' warning that after his death "wolves in sheeps clothing" would appear. And as he warned in another parable about weeds sown amongst good grain, "an enemy has done this."
Happily, there is a growing movement to reclaim the church's true mission as purveyors of truly Good News, by boldly living out the abundant love of God. And actually, this role has never been abandoned at all, though we have perhaps, too easily permitted the enemies within and without to obscure it.