Yesterday I started a little series on chaos theory…
So one time I was standing in the lobby after a Sunday morning church service when a couple I had never seen before walked up. I said, “Hey! Is this your first time here?” They both smiled and she said, “Yes.” He immediately chimed in, “We loved it!” “Yeah,” she added, “We didn’t know church could be like this. It was great.” “We have a question for you,” he said, “but first, I’m John, and this is Michelle.” “Nice to meet you, I’m Vince.” “So anyway,” he continued, “here’s our question. We’re both bi-sexuals, and when we got married, I promised Michelle I wouldn’t sleep with any more women.” “And I promised John I wouldn’t sleep with any more men,” Michelle added, right on cue. “But we still both sleep with people of the same sex,” John continued, “That’s okay, right?” . . . I said, “That’s a really good question. Would you want to get together some time and talk about it?”
They said sure, smiled, shook my hand, and left. As they walked away, I thought, “Why do I have to deal with this? It’s personal. It’s their business, not mine. I don’t want to have to tell them they’re wrong. I don’t want to make them mad. Why do I have to deal with this?” And then I realized, it’s because I’m following Jesus, and God has never really changed much. If Jesus were here, he’d hover around in the lobby a little, and then dive into the dark, chaotic messiness of that bi-sexual couple’s lives and he would bring light, order, and beauty. So, if I’m following Jesus, of course that’s where he’ll lead me. And so the question was: Well, do I want to follow Jesus or not?
Pretty soon I was meeting with that couple, trying to explain that God loved them, and that his primary concern was not to get them to stop sinning, but to experience his love. Once they experienced his love, it should lead them to stop sinning. And then their lives would be marked by light, and order, and beauty, in places now dominated by darkness, chaos, and messiness. Surprisingly, they weren’t mad. They were curious. They wanted to talk more. Eventually they wanted to change. They struggled. They fell back into old sin patterns. They asked for accountability. Michelle requested that my wife and I drive by the “Rainbow Cactus” every Saturday night to make sure her car was not in the parking lot of her favorite gay bar. If it was, she said, please come in and drag her out. The Rainbow Cactus was not a place I was excited for Jesus to lead me into.
In many ways following Jesus during this time and in this couple’s lives led my wife and I into darkness, chaos, and messiness. And we didn’t want to do it. But we did. And we learned that although it seems easier to just hover in the lobby, it’s always better to follow Jesus, even as he dives into the sin of other people’s lives.
We have to jump in the chaos and deal with people’s messiness (because that’s where God is and) because otherwise, we can’t follow Jesus.
Next time I’ll tell you what I believe is the other reason more Christians don’t act as grace wholesalers.