Love or Judge? John 4:1 the Samaritan Woman

10 08 2015

NWMC Board Director, David Fulton has authored this post. Thanks Dave

Robin, me, Abhishek, Savrabh - Copy-2

John 4:1 A Samaritan Woman
I have no idea as to how many times I have read the story of Jesus and the Samaritan
Woman. This morning, however, when I read it I was struck deeply by how non-judgmental, non-condemning Jesus was as He spoke with her. Here was a woman, married 5 times and now either living with or at least having an inappropriate relationship with a man. Yet her life style was not really addressed or judged.

Perhaps I was struck by this because of what is going on in my life at the moment and I’m sure in the lives of many other Christians, fathers and mothers. The concern of life style be it heterosexual or homosexual.

Let me back up to 2006. I believe that this is when Jesus really decided to address my attitude and the somewhat misguided teachings of the church when it comes to “inappropriate relationships”.

In 2006 I was living in Portland. I had come to Spokane to visit my family for Christmas. As usual when I visited Spokane I stayed at my son’s home. This particular year my son had his girlfriend living with him…“inappropriate relationship”…as the church had taught me. I was praying for God to separate the two or to bring some sort of correction to the relationship. I went to bed each night with a headache and stressing about the relationship. At the end of the first week of my visit I called a good friend, a Christian friend, and asked if I could stay at his place. He agreed. I recall to this day the disappointed look on my son’s face when I left. Credit to my son though, he accepted my beliefs and appreciated the fact that I had not condemned him, but he was still hurt. My son and I continued to spend good time together for the remaining portion of my visit. Oh and the headaches stopped as soon as I moved out, (confirmation of having made the right and Godly decision, or so I thought)

The teaching I had received from the church was that a man and woman living together is wrong and against God’s will. (Let me be clear here. I do believe this part of the teaching. There is plenty of scripture to back it up).

I was also taught to try and bring correction to the relationship and if that correction is rejected then I should leave. So leave I did. (No correction was verbally given to my son, I spent time praying about the situation and relying on the teaching I had received from the church. In hindsight, relying too much on teaching not enough on prayer. My son already knew how I felt).

In 2007 I was once again in Spokane for Christmas. I stayed with my daughter and her HUSBAND…an “appropriate relationship”.

Christmas 2008 I’m back in Spokane and once again at my son’s house. He has a new girlfriend; she does not live with him for which I was grateful. HOWEVER, she would come and spend the night. I find myself in the same turmoil as in 2006, “this is wrong, this is a sin, this is against God and His will, and I must leave”. At least I was not having headaches this time.

There was a problem though. Spokane had the hardest winter on record, 12 feet of snow in December alone. My Christian Friend had moved to California and my youngest daughter was staying at my oldest daughter’s home. I was stuck. How am I to “flee” this sin as I had been taught?

For three days I would sit in a coffee shop and check flights to see if I could go home early and cry out to Jesus to get me out of this situation.

One of the things that’s so great about God is that He knows everything about us. Not only did He use the harsh weather to keep me in Spokane (flights were grounded, cancelled) He also so used my cheapness. He knew I would not pay the extra dollars to change my flight.

On the third day of my whining (there’s that #3 again), God made a very simple statement to me. “You will stay in Spokane until you learn to love your son and his girlfriend.”

Of course I countered (because God seemed to miss the point that I did love my son and his girlfriend). “I do love my son and his girlfriend.” I corrected God.

God’s response was so loving and gentle, “No. You are judging them with condemnation. You are to judge with discernment.” OK, I didn’t correct God.

I think my response was “oh crap.”

I realize at that moment that what had been missing from all the teaching was the “Love of Christ.” I had in fact been taught legalism. For the next several days I prayed for Christ to show me how to love my son and his girlfriend with the agape love that He loves us with, His unconditional love. What I also realized was that this whole situation was not about my son, it was about me and my attitude.

When I left a week or so later, I hugged my son and his girlfriend and told them that I loved them. I did truly love them and in a whole new way.

All through my struggles with my attitude, my son and I have always had a great relationship. It has and continues to grow in respect and love for each other.

Why post this now, 7 years later? Two reasons:
1) I believe God has asked me to.
2) With all the focus on inappropriate life styles, be it heterosexual or homosexual, I believe we need to check our attitudes.

Of late I have been asking Christians I know if they could befriend a homosexual. Without exception they have all paused to think about their answer and, perhaps, to search to give me the answer they think I want. Not one has responded quickly with a “yes”, some truthfully answered “No”.

This question of attitude goes well beyond the homosexual life style though. I believe it is at the root of why Christians are so disliked. We tend to judge with harsh legalism not with discernment and the love of Christ.

Several years ago Focus on the Family had a ministry “Love Won Out”. New Hope Community Church in Clackamas, OR. hosted their conference. They were trying to teach that we (Christians) would make more ground in the fight against the homosexual life style by befriending and loving and trusting God to bring truth into a person’s life.

Perhaps if we were to seriously seek Christ and His sight of people in all walks of life we would do a much better job of advancing the Kingdom.

Isaiah 1:18-20:

“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good
Of the land; but if you rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword”;
”For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. (NKJV)

How is it that God loves us in spite of our sin? God sees us through the filter of His Son’s blood. As someone who has dabbled in photography I discovered that if you take a red filter and look at a red object through that filter the red object will appear white.

“Through your sins are like scarlet they shall be white as snow.” God looks at us through the blood of His Son. Perhaps we would do well to follow this example.

As the scripture also points out, there is still choice involved. Not all will accept our love and truth. But that is not my/our responsibility. I am only to plant and water. I can only effectively plant and water if my attitude and my sight are right.


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