Deconstructed Faith,  Love Wins,  Relationships

When to speak the truth (in love) – follow up to when he became a she

truth‌ in love2I am writing this in response to many of the comments/emails I received after my last post.

Holy cow.

The amount of people who engaged in that post was kinda overwhelming.

So, this is my response to much of the feedback I received. For those of you who know me, you know I tell it like I see it. As always, I’m being pretty transparent and you’re getting a wide look inside. Halving that said, this is my heart.  This comes from years of conversation with God and researching scripture for my own benefit on this question. Take it as you will.

The constant question for Christians seems to be this: when/how do you speak truth to someone? (I don’t even know if I like the way that question is worded. But, whatever. We’ll go with it for now)

When it comes to this topic, people love to use the story of the woman caught in adultery. Myself included. It’s a beautiful story.

There are those who like to highlight when Jesus told her to “go and sin no more” And there are those who want to focus on when he said, “he who is without sin cast the first stone”.

But, Jesus said both.

I’ve heard it argued to speak both truth and love or truth and mercy. I know where you’re coming from. But, here me out.

I was raised in church. I’ve heard this preached SO many times I could recite a ton of sermons on this.

Literally.

All in all, I grew up with the impression that if I didn’t strong arm someone in a conversation to repent (someone CLEARLY living in sin. Wink wink) then I had failed.

You mean you didn’t get them to pray the prayer of salvation right there? FAIL.

You didn’t invite them to church? FAIL.

You didn’t recite the scriptures that correct them? FAIL.

That is what I left my upbringing in church with.

A report card.

One that leaves a TREMENDOUS amount of pressure I might add.

Funny thing is, Jesus said if we followed Him, living in Jesus would be easy – light even. (Matt 11:30)

Nothing about that felt easy. Or light.

Over the past 10 or so years I’ve been on a journey of trying to leave a lot of the churchy stuff out of my head and focusing on just HIM instead. HIS words. HIS example.

Not that I don’t have a TON of good that has come from being raised in church. Please don’t misread that sentence. But, in this area, the lines drawn seemed harsh….and very difficult to practice let alone see any sort of “result” that I was told (eh, encouraged) to achieve.

So, here’s where I have landed.

And, I’ll be honest, it’s really easy. And feels REALLY light. Kinda like how Jesus said it would.

Ironically, I’m going back to the story of the adulterous woman.

Track with me.

Jesus extended mercy and compassion to someone whose “sin” (issue, hang up, struggle, choice, whatever you want to call it) was exposed.

She was vulnerable.

She was scared.

She was out in the open.

And the stones were ready to fly.

The amazingly freeing part of this story is what Jesus says to the religious leaders.

Did you catch that?

What he said to the religious. The churched. The “Christians” (if you will).

What he said was to you and me.

He said, “He who is without sin (issues, hang ups, struggles) throw the first stone”.

I may not have an “exposing” sin or issue or whatever you want to label it. One that I wear out in the open. One that the church would hurl stones at (throw Bible verses, condemning looks, hold prayer sessions for, etc). But, let me be the first to stand up and tell you, I am NOT without sin, issues, etc. My heart is in a constant place of being molded and shaped by the hand of Jesus. It’s a constant renewing process that is FAR from being over.

I am not perfect.

Therefore I literally am commanded by Jesus to sit myself down and take a hard look inward before I ever think I am in a position to go after someone else.

In his final exchange with the woman, Jesus through his kindness, led her to exchange her lifestyle for his instead.

Jesus led her.

Not the religious.

Both parts of the story. Both equally important.

So, where does that leave you and me?

I will not give you the blanket response of, “we just love”.

Too many people have said that.

Too many people think that means you just smile and don’t shun.

I would argue that isn’t really love.

That’s just being polite.

Here’s how love looks to me now.

And, I’m warning you – it requires you to be recklessly, on your face in love with Jesus first. If you’re not there, don’t even attempt this.

Love shares long talks over coffee. Where I share my story and you are safe to share yours. Love gets in the mud with you and walks with you. Even if the walk is LONG and all I’m doing is listening. Love opens the door of my home and welcomes you in for a meal. Love holds your baby. Love stretches outside of churches and Bible studies and jumps into someone’s life. On the phone, in the car, at work. It isn’t scared of seeing your life and being inside of it. Love is the opposite of fear.

Love holds your hand when you’re scared. Love takes you soup when you’re sick. Love listens. Really listens.

When I walk in life with someone like this, I move past tolerance and acceptance. I get to dig into something deeper: unconditional love.

Which is what scripture says sums up the entire law, gospel, message, etc.(Gal 5:14)

But, Anna! When you do ever confront their sin??! Doesn’t love speak truth?

If I share life with you, I naturally share Jesus with you. Because it isn’t a power point presentation or a scripted pitch. It’s my life.

Having that said, not everyone lets me in their life.

I have to be okay with that.

Not everyone let Jesus in either.

It’s part of the deal.

It has been my experience that if I speak without the prompting of the Holy Spirit, anything I say falls on deaf ears.

This applies when I teach, write and yes, even when I’m having coffee with someone.

I don’t talk about any topic until the Holy Spirit tells me to.

The key is, it’s never on my time table.

And it’s never my words.

It’s always His.

I’ve had the honor and privilege of walking alongside people in this way. And, it isn’t always neat and packaged. There is no script (other than the one the Holy Spirit gives you). It’s often messy. It’s at times inconvenient. At the core, it’s self-less. It’s laying down yourself and serving.

Sometimes you get praised.

Sometimes you get crucified.

It’s living like Jesus.

(I blogged about my journey jumping into life with someone like this here)

But Anna, what about the Bible?

I love the Bible. I love, love LOVE it. It’s my life-line. It is my litmus test for everything I say and do and (more importantly) what goes on inside my thoughts and heart. It sets the standard.

Everything I believe, teach, say and do is founded in scripture.

Especially how I love.

Here’s why I believe Jesus told us to love like this:

Because, it’s in this place – only in this place – where He has room to reach into an otherwise hard, closed, lonely, broken heart.

And that’s where I focus.

I focus on the heart – the broken, beat up heart. I love it, I minister to it. I embrace it. And, at times, I get to experience the power of Jesus heal it.

Not because I quoted the right verse.

Not because I said the script I was taught to say.

Not because I pressured someone into saying a prayer.

ONLY because I stopped my life, my desires, my agenda and chose to love someone (through the power of the Holy Spirit) who was hurting.

Having that said, I don’t claim to win anyone.

I don’t claim to change anyone.

Thank you Jesus that’s not my burden to bear.

Because, this is HIS field. I’m just working with Him in it (1 Corinthians 3:6-7)

But, Anna, we’re supposed to be preaching the gospel!

My life preaches the gospel.

If we were to have coffee, you would know that.

It’s in me. I’m breathing it every minute of every day.

Because I know HIM.

Because HE changed  me.

He wrecked me with a love and a freedom that NOTHING compares to.

In sharing life, we share stories. And mine is all about Jesus.

My hope for all of us is that we become SO deeply rooted and established IN HIM, that when a broken heart comes our way, we have eyes to see it and ears to listen to what He leads us to say or do.

Not judge it. Not shush it. Not even fix it.

But, love it.

I love people by listening to the Holy Spirit through every conversation and every encounter. And, in turn, by speaking the words He gives me.

Like I said before, if you’re not completely ALL in with Him, don’t even attempt this.

Some of you will understand this post and some of you won’t. I’m okay with that. But, for those that get it, I believe it will bring a tremendous amount of freedom.

Hugs.

Anna

 

Author. Blogger. Speaker. Momma to 4.

117 Comments

  • Melody

    Thank you friend. This is beautiful and a perfect way to explain living the gospel. It’s not about saying the “right” thing; it’s about living HIS way in His steps. It’s about Jesus not ego.

  • TinaMarie

    Good follow-up to last post. We are called to be PEACEMAKERS which brings the PEACE of God to lives that are broken, hopeless, confused, abandoned……only through Love… and only when the Holy Spirit provides the opportunity for this type of personal ministry to take place.

  • Arts & Rhymes

    Oh this was wonderful! After I read your previous blog post (after someone shared it on FB) I thought of those who will be having a problem with “just” loving and not saying anything… I always thought LOVE is enough! I am saying that because long time ago when I didn’t know God someone first became my friend and simply loved me, never pointed out my ignorance or my mistakes, but Loved me and planted that seed in my heart. It took more than ten years for that seed to sprout and start growing and it’s now growing strong… Love is always the answer!
    I am so glad that I came across your post because it is the answer to a question that I was searching for some time. Thanks! 🙂

    • Judith L Mills

      What would have happened to you had your time here ended before you knew God? Is it really love, for this person to ignore your sins and allow you to spend eternity without God? We are never promised tomorrow.

      • Arts & Rhymes

        The question here was not about ignoring a sin, it was the way a sinner is confronted. Only if you love a person first, build a relationship and live the Gospel in your own life you can point out their sins and tell them about Jesus. If you confront them harshly and with judgement, without having a loving relationship with them in most cases you will drive them away. Thanks for your perspective! God Bless!

    • Judith L Mills

      Arts & Rhymes “The question here was not about ignoring a sin, it was the way a sinner is confronted. Only if you love a person first, build a relationship and live the Gospel in your own life you can point out their sins and tell them about Jesus. If you confront them harshly and with judgement, without having a loving relationship with them in most cases you will drive them away. Thanks for your perspective! God Bless!”

      I said nothing about the way a sinner is confronted. When you suppose something about what I wrote then you have changed what I said. I have never approached anyone with the gospel in a harsh or judgemental way. There are times when you meet a person only once and if you know that they are needing the gospel, because the Holy Spirit tells you so, and you do not share it with them at that moment, then their eternal life is on your hands. That is scriptural.

      It does not take many days or hours to preach the gospel and preach it is what we are told BY CHRIST to do. That is love. Letting our light shine on the top of the hill. Giving them the wonderful news of the cross and what Christ did for them is hardly harsh or judgemental. And nowhere did Christ say to build a relationship first.

      Paul certainly did not ‘build’ relationships, neither did any of the disciples. They went about preaching the gospel, knowing that the Holy Spirit would guide them as to where to go and what to say. They faced many dangers and death to do so. Having coffee and ‘loving’ a person is not putting yourself into too much danger is it? Are you willing to die for Christ or just willing to have coffee with the one who desperately NEEDS the love of CHRIST without even telling them ABOUT CHRIST. Are you willing to face the wrath and anger of those who hate Christ? I do not imagine that the body of Christ (the Church) would have grown much if they had taken the time to ‘build a relationship’. This is what we are commanded to do, spread/preach the GOSPEL. We cannot assume that we have the ‘time’ to build relationships. We are not promised tomorrow. If you were in another country where to mention Christ put you in danger of death I hardly think that they will want to sit and have coffee. It is not about judging a person. It is about telling them Who Christ is. That is not in any way judging a person. They do not have to have a relationship with us, before we give them the KEY to the Kingdom. That Key is Christ and Him alone. The Key is not us.

      It is not about us. It is not about us building relationships. It is about Christ. Christ was hated by most and He said that they will hate us too, because they first hated Him. I do not see a passion for souls.

      • Arts & Rhymes

        I see your point and thank you for that but I do not entirely agree. When you plant a seed, you need to nurture it, give it water and feed it so that seed blooms and then turns into fruit. Just putting the seed into ground and leaving it may or may not turn it into a fruit!!!

      • Judith L Mills

        We can plant a seed, and never see that particular ground again. It is God that draws all to Him. Not us. He will take care of the seed and His Word will not come back void. Scriptural. I could be on a train, a plane, a bus, lots of places where the Holy Spirit moves me to speak to someone I do not even know, and be prompted to share the gospel. What happens after I am gone is up to God, not me. We are called and commanded to preach the gospel, in season and out, when it is wanted and when it is not. Wherever the Holy Spirit speaks to us. We also need to care for those that no one cares about, yes. The homeless, those who are confused, who have lost their way. Being a friend is great, but if you do not share the gospel up front, then you are cheating them out of the greatest message of their life and their chance to repent and go to God. You cannot count on the way you live your life as the tool that someone needs to get to God. It is not about you or I, or how friendly we are. It’s easy to love those who love us back. The hard part is loving those that hate us because of Christ. We are not promised tomorrow, today is all we have, and we do not even know if we have all that. Time is of the essence.

        God does not have unconditional love. He will leave a person who is willfully sinning, in their sin if they refuse to turn away from it. He will not accept them into the kingdom of Heaven. He will not sit and have coffee with them. There are those to whom He will say depart from me, I never knew you, even though they say that they cast out devils in His Son’s Name.

        I cannot stress enough that it is not about us and how loving we can be. It is about Christ and Him crucified, buried and raised up again. Without Christ I am nothing. I am thankful that someone took the time to tell an angry young woman that she was on the road to hell. That she was willfully living in sin. And that Jesus loved her enough to die for her and if she turned away from her sin she could have that love in her life now, and eternal life always with Christ.

        That angry young woman did not want to hear it and raged at the one who was courageous enough to tell her the GOSPEL TRUTH. A month later after being miserable with herself daily, knowing inside that she was wretched, she cried out to God because God had been steadily drawing her to Him, which is why she felt so wretched. She is now a child of His who has a passion for souls whether the souls have a passion about hearing the Gospel or not. She will still preach it. I will still preach it.
        Peace.

      • Arts & Rhymes

        Like the author of this post said: some will understand her stand point and some will not, and that is ok. I’m just going to say that you just gave an example of God’s unconditional love, that He loved us so much that He sent His Son to bear our sins and die kn the cross we can be set free. Isn’t that the ultimate example of Love?! Relationship is a core of Chrustianity, our relationship with Christ first, so modeling this in our lives is a greatest example to others. And no it is not about us, it is about showing those broken , sad, abused, lost people out there the kind of Love Christ showed us, showing them that there is hope, that there is light. This Love that God placed in my heart I share with those that He brings to my path. “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
        Thank you for this conversation! May God bless you and yours!

      • Judith L Mills

        Yes, Christ died while we were yet sinners. How hard was it to tell the beautiful story of the gospel to someone you do not know? I would guess, not hard at all. His unconditional love and gift to us on the cross is there for ALL to believe in, accept, turning away from evil to good.. Our salvation is a gift. If a person has no true knowledge of the gift that has been offered they cannot accept it. The person who wrote this blog is banking on her own unconditional love, not the great and all powerful love that took place on the cross.

        Give the next person you meet the gift of the Gospel just as you said it to me. They will then have to make a choice to take His gift or not. Our Father gave His Son, and we must make the choice to believe and accept Him or not. So no God does not have unconditional love for us if we turn away from him and continue to live for self and not for Him, because if one does not accept the gift of His Son, then He will say, depart from me, I do not know you. They do not have the promise of tomorrow. We do not have the promise of tomorrow.

  • Daniel

    LOVE this! And I love your previous post even more. Thanks so much for both! I’m right there on the same wavelength with you. After a great deal of thought and prayer, I posted this on my FB feed last week.

    I love the sinner. I hate the sin.
    But here’s the deal about that cliché, at least so far as I’m concerned. The closer I get to Christ, the sin I hate is always, and without exception, my own sin. Never once have I felt prompted to turn away from my sin and focus on the sin of others. Never once.
    Now granted, your mileage may vary. Perhaps you’re on such a higher spiritual plane that you no longer have any sin in your life and God is directing you to move on to plucking out the sin of those around you. If that’s truly the case, you’ll get nothing but full-throated support from me. Being on a higher spiritual plane than me wouldn’t be very difficult in my view. Go to it.
    I realize that hating something in somebody else seems to be all the rage in modern Christendom. And maybe I’m missing out by not playing along. But I feel like to look past what I see as my own mountain of sin to try to evaluate and eradicate the molehill of someone else’s isn’t productive to my own walk with Christ. I know what Jesus has called me to do, and it’s not that.
    And I don’t say any of this to condemn anybody. I’m just trying to explain my motivation. As for me, loving the sinner can sometimes be hard when the first sin I encounter is at my own doorstep. And until I’m without that sin, I’m compelled again and again to lay down my stones and turn back, in full humility, to the cross.

  • Emily Edwards

    Love love love your heart, Anna. I’ve been the same and often operated under a section of the Bible that says “We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry” (2 Corinthians 6:3)
    While many will quote the “judge not lest ye be judged” verse, it’s often forgot that we can be the biggest stumbling block in someone coming to know Christ! People sometimes change over night, sometimes they don’t. What’s important is that Jesus wants our heart, no matter how dirty it is. He will clean it, in HIS time. Sin will only go away from having a personal relationship with the sinless one. Love you, Anna!

  • Nancy W.

    Enjoyed reading your post. I agree that we need Him. He is who should love the lost (and the found) through us. Reminds me of Corrie Ten Boon when she saw one of her guards years later in a church. She had to have Jesus love through her. We need to see people with God’s eyes, not our own. But we also need to know, believe, and speak truth in love when He calls us to. We need to follow Him and let His words guide our lives. I like that you mentioned that not all will join you in life. When we follow Him, some will be offended by Him and His living in us. But some will see Him and be attracted.

  • Mikki

    Thank you.. thank you for your wisdom, your heart and your direction .. to always look to an lean on Jesus. Its so difficult these days to hold on to your convictions yet love like Jesus teaches us, and NOT judge. We all fall short… and yet we are all so quick to point out shortcomings in others. Even if we speak in love it is perceived in hate. What a world we live in.

  • Sharon

    Thank you! Well said, and based on the Bible. The only way anyone will be willing to listen to what I have to say is if I love them first. And it is not I who will change them; it is God.

  • Michael

    Thank you so much Anna! This is what it means to truly love Jesus. Your writing it so true and so right on. People will not listen if they are not loved and only the love of Jesus touches peoples hearts. So grateful that you wrote exactly what I would like to say. God is love and He loves us right where we are. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. He didn’t tell us to clean up our act and then He would love us. I am so encouraged that there are people like you who reach out and truly show the love of Jesus and don’t expect anything in return. Our job is to love and do what the Holy Spirit tells us to. The Holy Spirit draws people to Jesus. And He is the one who sets people free and changes them. Thank you for being a true Christ follower!

  • bfitzgibbon05

    Oh how I get it…and if we are confessing, I struggle a whole lot more with loving people who are Christians who take the judge mental, “holier than thou” approach. That’s my sin right now – not that I struggle to love those mired down in the world but that I struggle to love those wearing the sign of Jesus and beating people with it.
    This is so beautifully spoken! I kinda wish we could sit down and have coffee!

  • mikaylaannm

    Anna, I don’t know you. I just stumbled upon your blog, but I wish I did know you. Your heart is so wonderfully like Jesus, and it’s incredible. I read you post “When he becomes she” and I wanted to comment on it when I saw you disabled the comments, but I came here for your follow up post and decided to comment here. There’s truly so many things, too many, I could comment about both of these posts, but overall I just wanted to say a huge thank you for your loving and kind heart and your genuine understanding of our Lord and Savior and how that should be displayed in our actions towards others. You get it, girl. You so get it like so many others don’t. I also wanted to shout a whole lot of AMEN’s and YES’s to you because you deserve them. I love both of these posts so much! You write beautifully!

  • Bud Carman

    One thing you need to know, bro, one day you gonna die; then where you gonna go? There is plenty of scripture to tell us who goes where. Read up — love, but read up. Be not decieved. God is not mocked.

  • RobertG

    Wow!!! I happened to stumble upon your blog today via Facebook. The way you have presented the love of God is simply stunning. It is really easy to let a person’s sin cloud your vision and not see the person the way the Jesus does. Thanks for sharing.

  • Debbie

    Thank you for taking this post to the second part of the equation…truth. Whether spoken or unspoken, truth is what sets a heart free (john 8). I agreed with your first post but felt like half of it was missing (at least as was expressed). So thank you for clarifying what is in your heart. And for encouraging all of us to be led by the Holy Spirit and loving unconditionally…That is the ONLY way lives will be transformed.

  • amy

    Beautifully spoken. Lately, I’ve been asking Jesus how much we’re expected to “do” for people that have greater needs than us. Yet, the picture I see that you’ve painted shows ‘tough love’ as a person welcoming the needy and closely, intimately embracing them so that we go through the tough terrain together, not apart….not them on their own. It’s us that must learn the concept that it’s tough to love, truely love.

  • Kari B

    So much of what you said sings truth to me, Anna. And, if I could add one observation – Jesus did indeed tell the woman to go and sin no more. However, despite tradition, we have no real idea if she followed His command. She could have fallen back into her sin of choice the next day, for all we know. Jesus didn’t keep score of who He “saved” and He doesn’t expect us to, either. That’s a pressure we have placed on ourselves and each other. Ticking off our “good works” for all to see or so that we feel worthy. 1 Cointhians 13 is as true today as it ever was. Thank you for your words. I’m so glad I stumbled across your blog yesterday.

  • Jason

    I really like what you said and if I were writing the Bible this is exactly how I would write it. The problem I have is that I can’t think of a single time where God wrote this scenario in the Bible. Woman at the well, rich young ruler, Jonah and Nineveh, Pentecost, etc. all spoke the hard truth with no fear of offending. I guess Daniel and his friends in Babylon might fit your model. Not trying to make an argument, just sharing my thoughts. Thanks for your blog, I’m glad I found it and it will help me as I continue to think about it.

    • Anna McCarthy

      Hi Jason! Thank you for your comment. My favorite example of this is how Jesus lived and walked with his disciples. They were all a mess when he found them, but he jumped into their lives and lived life with them. They didn’t understand much of what he said… For a long time. But, he patiently loved them, hung out with them, ate meals with them and loved their families. This kind of patient, loving, mercy is what I am trying to follow. And, after he had spent years pouring into them, they finally got it. And we see the amazing fruit of their lives after that in the new testament.

      I also might add, with the woman at the well, Jesus spoke a word of knowledge given to him by the holy spirit and it immediately exposed her heart. I’ve had many moments like this myself.

      And yes, there are countless times in scripture where men and women of God boldly speak truth as the holy spirit leads.

      All of these examples include one similar note: walking in the power of the holy spirit. His timing. His agenda. And, especially with Jesus, walking in a tremendous amount of love, patience, service and mercy.

      That’s my take on it at least. 🙂 thanks again for your thoughts.

      Hugs!!
      Anna

  • Glenn

    My wife read your blog today and posted it via Facebook and shared it with me. After reading your beautifully written post and the excellent follow up to it, I really had to stop and think exactly where my heart is. The way you have presented the love of God is awesome! This spoke to me on so many levels and it is really very easy to let a person’s sin cloud your vision and not see the person the way the Jesus does. Thanks for sharing.

  • Erin

    Anna,
    I love this blog and the one that preceded.
    A agree with everything you have said in regards to be broken and in need of healing, and only being able to do things through the Holy Spirit.

    My simple question is this. You seem to have a very wise distinction of what the Holy Spirit is telling you, how do you determine this? How do you know it’s just not your own thoughts? I’ve been struggling with this myself, and most often I’m terrified to say anything convicting because I’m worried it’s just my own words. I am anxious to be used intimately by him and I just don’t know what it looks like for his words to be mine.
    Any insight would be helpful.

    Thank you again for your blog!

    • Anna McCarthy

      Erin,

      Thanks so much for stopping by! To answer your question, the more time you spend with Him, the better you are at recognizing His voice. I’m not always perfect at this, but after spending years digging into the word and spending time in conversation with God, I have become very sensitive to when He speaks.
      Kinda like how you would recognize your best friend’s voice in a crowded room? It’s because you’ve spent a TON of time talking on the phone, in person, etc. You know their voice. It stands out. It’s like that with me and the Lord. The voice stands out because of the time we’ve spent together.
      Hope that helps. Keep shining!!

      Anna

  • Sara Edwards

    I have been on a similar journey! It began when leading a Bible Study that was mostly searching women. All my answers to their questions felt packaged. I realized that, as scared as I was to have “the world” influence my Biblical worldview, I had allowed the traditions of my church to influence it.

    When I came to my quiet time in tota submission asking, “What am I missing? Show me where my opinions are wrong!” Life began to change. It started with me. Repentance always starts with me:)

    I now journey with my friends instead of whipping up the courage to share s gospel track. And…lo and behold…it has led to MANY more gospel opportunities and church invites!

    Totally get you and am relieved to see how God is moving in SO many lives. It helps beat back the discouragement!

  • Tara Valois

    I love your words and your writing and your ability to love. But there is something I need to ask – what about the part that tells us to judge not? See? We all sin, every day. There is no hierarchy of sin in God’s eye. Sin is sin is sin whether it’s stealing penny candy or millions of dollars. And we all do it. I think the worst sin is thinking you don’t. So many people flee the church or never even approach it because they’ve been told by either the church or the people in the church that their sin – whatever it is – is so bad that they can never be made whole, and to me that is so sad. Churches are to be the hospitals for the sin-sick, not the courtroom. So why can’t we just worry about the being the love of Christ part and let Christ do the judging? We are all going to die with sin on us. The beauty is that if we die in Christ our sin is resolved through faith. The world would be so much better if we worry about the wooden beam in our own eyes instead of the speck of dust in someone else’s.

  • Nina

    Thanks for this. I didn’t know how to put this into words but you described listening to Holy Spirit beautifully. A few weeks ago I saw a woman crying in a seminar about teens and mental health. I’m such an introvert that the idea of getting up and just going over to sit with her scared me. But I felt like something was urging me to do that. I waited and no one else did it. The I waited some more. And more. The urge/push was still there so I finally left my row and walked over to hers (in the middle of the seminar, trying not to be seen moving by too many people), sat down next to her, and held her hand for the next 10 minutes. So glad I did — her son had died the year before (a suicide) and at the end of the night she said it meant a lot. Anyway, I’m kinda shy so I don’t really do that kind of thing much, but I’m glad I let the Holy Spirit guide me. It’s like the Holy Spirit is there to keep me focused on God’s agenda for a particular situation — not mine.

  • Mary Schneider

    The other day, my friend said to me about her daughter’s upcoming wedding; “It’s not a wedding, it’s an “I’m gay” party!”

    My heart fell into pieces. This woman is sewing her daughter’s wedding dress, with tears, because she doesn’t believe in her daughter’s upcoming marriage. She is losing her daughter… not to the young woman she’s marrying, but to her own blindness and bigotry.

    Not everyone embraces gay marriage, or accepts that it’s a natural choice. Not everyone believes that the literary, cultural, and historic context of the verses addressing homosexuality limit the scope of the ban on the behavior. Not everyone can accept that some people are simply born different, or that God loves us all regardless of who we fall in love with. I get that, but I miss my friend, who has withdrawn from me in part due to my own changing attitudes toward homosexuality.

    I wish she had an Anna in her life. I wish I could be that person for her, but I am still too broken myself, still searching, still learning. And so, I sit, and don’t speak the truth I see, because the HS hasn’t nudge me in that direction yet, though my own heart is crying out to her, wake up, wake up before you lose what you hold most dear!

    Keep being you, Anna. The world needs more light.

    • Jan

      I think Jesus has the answer here, too. He said to take the log out of your own eye before helping your friend. You have just referred to your friend as a bigot and blind because she holds to the truth of what God said about marriage and family life. Your friend is making her daughter’s wedding dress. That doesn’t sound like someone who have rejected her daughter. She is trying to do the right thing in a very difficult situation with the end of her dreams for her daughter’s life (at least at this moment). I have dear retired missionary friends with a gay daughter who is married with adopted children. They attended their wedding but declined to perform the ceremony. They live nearby and support them and love them, but they never embrace their choice as normative or God blessed. I admire their commitment emmensely. We can’t play God as He’s always got hope and healing and the Holy Spirit in play. We’re called to love, not judge, yet still speak up for truth where the HS presents the opportunity.

  • Phyl Miller Andrew

    Thank you so much. I happened by chance through FaceBook to see your prior blog “When He Became A She” and then clicked for this follow up. For the last several days, my family has been going through quite a lot of name calling & shaming because I have a gay son & a transgender son. Unfortunately, this has been from relatives who use their religion to do this. I am a Christian so therefore I know that I am constantly growing and will never be perfect. It is not mine or anyone else’s place to judge others. I shall bookmark your page so I can keep up with your blogs and share with my family. Again, thank you.

  • Melody

    Somehow you captured what God has been pressing into to my spirit on paper. ….thank you. It brought me to tears. The Holy Spirit used it to confirm and convict. It is so easy to want to be jury and judge. I want to say, “I love you but you need to…….” however, “I love you” is enough. Because the real question is not so much how others need to change and what can I do about that, but rather; do I trust my Jesus with them or do I distrust Him and so then I need to make sure they know the truth and what they need to change so they can recieve instantaneous healing and freedom? He is teaching me to trust Him with my heart and with theirs. How can I doubt the one that has so gently led me, walked with me, convicted me, loved me? What He had done for me, He will do for others. I just need to trust Him….love….keep my mouth shut until He prompts me to open it…..walk with others. ….never give up on them……

    Thank you! I pray someday I may have the opportunity to meet you and your precious spirit.

  • Laurie

    Anna, both of your posts on this topic have moved me. I’m not Christian, though I have dear friends who are. You embody what I believe is the best of Jesus’ teachings, and from what I’ve read here your heart is open and full of love. A lot of the time Christians intimidate me, but you are someone who radiates the message of Jesus – the kind of person who makes me want to get to know Him more.

  • KimbraBrunk

    A big difference with Jesus and his encounters with sinners (which we all are), is that he didn’t let them believe that their sin of choice was acceptable. He said come follow me. Once a person follows,with their whole heart, it doesn’t mean they will never sin again, but they will fight the urges to sin, not go about life as normal, they will be changed from the inside out.
    I’m afraid this whole “I accept all your poor choices, because God loves you”, is deceiving the lost who have no intention of following Jesus, to believe they are going to heaven regardless of the life they lead. We are called to witness and be truthful, love and walk along side those who need a friend who will support their new walk toward God.

  • hopetoinspireyou

    What a blessing, Anna, to run across your blogs! Your thoughts on this original post are really spot on and such a blessing to read! Thank you for sharing and loving like Jesus!

  • Christy

    Truth! The Spirit has taken the words from my heart and posted them on your blog! Thanks for being a broken vessel of more than spiritual “polite-ness” and check lists.

  • Dwight Hurych

    Wow, Anna! Excellent writing and a wonderful, heart-warming, tear-jerking, soul-searching story (as in this and the previous post that prompted this one). I’m a Christian and serious student of Scripture (both apart from mainstream religious institutions and organizations) and I was not in the least bit offended by your approach and reasoning, and I can attest to the biblical validity of loving non-judgmentally apart from anyone’s sins (hang-ups, addictions, vices, etc.). I’ll be back for more!

  • Janet Gayle Lowery

    I think Anna you have some issues yourself…being “spiritually correct” is just like being “politically correct” both are the design of the New Age Movement…where you would fit right in…can’t agree with you because we are His disciples…He said go and witness….not go and compromise … just a thought….and the reason you feel so light and fluffy is there is no reason for the devil to bother you anymore….your pretty much treading in lukewarm water…just my take on everything you have written on this subject…and you should not be shocked at the responses when you bring this subject up especially with Christians an in the day and time we are living in of loose morals…this one thing besides all the abortion is bringing our nation to its knees…and by the way I love Jesus and the sinner as much as you do✿´¯`*•.¸¸✿

    • J. A. Speechie

      For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
      ~2 Corinthians 5:14-15

      Anna isn’t saying we shouldn’t speak the truth, that we shouldn’t talk about sin and being separated from Christ. Quite the opposite! She is saying we need to dig in to the muckety-muck right alongside our non-believing (and believing!) friends!

      Two quick things:

      1) What is NOT surprising is when non-believers act like non-believers. Apart from Christ, we are SLAVES to sin! It’s all we know! In fact, even when Jesus breaks our chains of sin-slavery, we believers, children of the one true God, STILL struggle with sin.

      2) In my own sin struggles, I used to think of God standing off in the corner, arms crossed, shaking His head in disapproval, saying, “Tsk, tsk. I’ll be over here waiting when you decide to get your act together.” Instead, in one of the darkest times of my life, God showed me that He never leaves my side, but holds me close, weeps with and for me, whispers to me His truth, reminding me that I don’t have to do this sin because I am free in Him, but all the while reminding me His love never ends and His mercies are new every morning, no matter what I do or do not do! He sees only Christ and His righteousness.

      Anyway, those are some of my thoughts. Speaking the truth in love involves both truth AND love. That’s what Anna is driving at in this post. It’s a love so deep–because it’s so deeply rooted in Christ and His love!–that we can come alongside those who are in sin (again, both non-believers AND believers) and share life with one another, the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows, and everything in between. That naturally leads to sharing Jesus and the gospel and the truth of being separated from God apart from Christ, because He IS our life. And this is so much better than simply trying to make our country have some decent morals; it’s about true life change and heart change that comes from the radical truth of the Gospel that transforms, a gospel that brings God glory. There’s nothing lukewarm about that! Keep running after Him!!! He loves you so!!!!

  • Gen

    Hi Anna,
    I stumbled upon this in my facebook feed, and I’ve read both your posts, and wanted to say thank you – your words are so refreshing to me in many ways. I consider myself a spiritual person with Christian leanings (raised Catholic), and have many dear friends that are devout Christians and many who claim no faith and find myself frequently stuck in the middle. Your words and your heart and love really resonate with my heart and convictions, and reminded me to live by example, listen intently, and love unconditionally.
    With so many thanks

  • tcinqo

    One thing I love about the story of the woman caught in adultery is that Jesus had no need of the “religious” to be involved. He spoke to the woman privately, when they were alone. I wonder if maybe we need to simply love people so they are in a place where Jesus can speak to them privately and not feel like we need to direct the conversation. Thank you, Anna.

  • Tracy Stella

    Anna,

    I hope one day we get to meet and have coffee. For now? This is me. Giving you a standing ovation for all that you stand for! I love how LOVE looks to you. I couldn’t agree more. Not one bit more. I love that I have a sister in Christ who reflects His beauty. Thank you for being such a shining example.

  • Tracy Stella

    Reblogged this on Tracy Stella and commented:
    I have never reblogged someone’s post – until today. Give Anna’s post a read. She writes over at justajesusfollower.com. I imagine I would be friends with Anna if she lived in my neck of the woods. I LOVE how Anna looks at love. I hope you are blessed by her writing as much as I have been.

  • Tracy McDonald

    Your words are beautiful. They describe my thoughts and my ‘walk’ completely. Thank you for opening your heart so boldly. I’m excited to follow your posts.

  • Diana

    I work in a prison, and I spend every day with people who have done some awful things. Most of the time, I don’t think much about their offenses, but there are a few that I have trouble with. There was one man in particular. He had been locked up over fifty years for raping and murdering a teenage girl. He was in his 80s, an amputee in a wheelchair. He liked to stop by my office and talk to me, and there were days when I saw the person who did what he did looking out of his eyes. Not every day; sometimes he was just an old man who wanted to talk. But often enough that it started to bother me. I wanted to make excuses not to talk to him, to fail to make eye contact when he rolled by my door, to squish myself in my chair so he wouldn’t see I was there. One day, when I was feeling that way, I got up and opened the door for him anyway. And a voice inside me said, “Even him.” I didn’t have to ask what that meant; I knew. I am supposed to love, to have compassion for everyone, even those who have done things so terrible it’s hard to think about. I have no right to judge–anyone. He died about a month ago, and I cried for him. I’m not even sure why, entirely. So anyway, your words resonated with me. We are commanded to love, and sometimes it’s hard, but when you listen to what is surely Jesus’ voice, you know. Thank you for sharing and for having a boldly loving heart.

  • Catherine

    Loverly post. Reminds me of a St. Francis of Assisi quote: “Preach the gospel at all times; with words if necessary.” And that old song “they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love.. ” <3

  • Katrina

    Hi Anna,
    My name is Katrina and I am a Christian. Usually, I don’t really read nor do I ever comment on blogs. But, the Holy Spirit led me to read both your blogs. I couldn’t understand why, but I followed it and truly loved what I read. I felt I only want to speak to you and not reply to some of the comments. I love your spirit. I am in love with how on fire you are to follow Christ. But, I have to respectfully disagree with your blog. We as Christians have failed…failed you. Christ teaches us in his Word to beware of false teachings, which is why I love that you read the Bible on your own. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is simply, you must be born again, accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior in your heart, and repenting of your sins. Yes, His love is what sent Him to die for our sins. The examples that you gave are correct, but the key words are repentance and sin no more. Yes , we all sin and I’ll put mine out there. I once had issues with gender identity cause I was raised around all boys, I was the only girl. I have kissed two girls, even been naked with one at age 12. I have been saved since I was 13 or 15 and God convicted me the homosexuality sin. Now mind you, maybe that is not enough experience to called a homosexual, but I had that fleshly desire. Why I was convicted, because I had just been baptized and according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I must repent and turn from my sin. I firmly believe that God design who we are to be. If you were born a boy, you were meant to be a boy, if you are born a girl, you were meant to be a girl. If I was having problems with gender identity, that’s because it is an issue with me, not an issue with God. It has taken me 22 years to completely surrender my life to Christ and that means conviction even when I want to sin. I have a bad habit with gossip which is a sin and I pray 24/7 that God will hold my tongue even when I don’t want to. So, what I am trying to say I this. I love you without knowing you, but don’t get so caught in trying to make the Bible work for you. God was uncomfortable with our sin when he went into the Temple before he was crucified. People were gambling, buying and selling goods, and defaming the Temple and Jesus flipped out and then Him going to the Garden of Gethsemane…well you know the rest. Pharisees and Sadduccees (that is spelled so wrong lol) making the Scriptures out to what they wanted it to say for power and money. Some Christians are exactly that. But, you are right, He loves us, but don’t let that be justification to stay in sin. Same goes for me. I am truly sorry that We have failed you. I truly pray God put you in my spirit for a reason. I pray that you find a church home that preaches the Gospel and teaches the Bible. The Bible is designed to “work” you, not you trying to make it fit what you want to do, if I may be completely honest. God bless you love. Be careful there are wolves everywhere. Lean on God’s understanding, not our own. The Bible is supposed to make you uncomfortable to confront our sins, but we find His peace and grace in His promised Salvation, but we must repent and turn away no matter how hard or tempted we are. God bless and please know that I am not against you, I just wanted to speak the truth in love as us Christians are called to do.

    • Ted

      I want to say a few things out of love and I’ll be quiet. First.

      Your arrogance in this post is very unsettling. This is what bothers me.
      “My life preaches the gospel.”

      “If we were to have coffee, you would know that.”

      “It’s in me. I’m breathing it every minute of every day.”

      Everyday? Seriously? The Bible tells us that our works are filthy rags. It tells us we all have sinned and fall short. These 3 sentences are something I’ve never heard a Christian say. Ever. Not in 39 years of my life.

      Second. Your original post you talk about getting in the mud with sinners and then you have also talked about dropping the “church” things. If I read that correctly, you’re trying to let your life do the talking. Nothing wrong with that. It should mirror Christ as best as possible.

      The issue I have with these 2 items is you aren’t supposed to be in the mud with unsaved. When you are, it’s to preach the Gospel, not to just listen to their story. Chill with them, and them and hope they saw something from your life. Jesus said to go to all the Nations and preach the Gospel. He said to preach. Not go out and dwell with them.

      You pointed to his lack of fear about sin. You said we shouldn’t fear it. You are wrong per God’s word. He says flee from it.

      1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

      Here’s 28 verses to keep me from typing.
      http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Avoiding-Sin

      The point is you’re not strong enough to dwell in ungodliness. You weren’t commanded to do so either. We were commanded to tell them about Jesus. Not hang out with them and hope they see Jesus in us. We are subject to temptation and we can fall. Jesus is the Son of God and sin wasn’t going to phase him. At no point ever does the scripture tell us to tolerate sin or dwell near it.

      It tells us to rebuke it. 2nd Timothy 4:2

      preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction

      So, I don’t say this to be spiteful or start anything. I say this because I feel these latest posts are contradictory to what the Bibles tells us. We cannot sit by and chum up to sin. We cannot go to strip clubs and bars and dwell amongst them and hope that by us not drinking, they’ll get the message. I know that’s a steep example, but in essence, it’s what you’re saying to do.

      It makes no difference if the sin is murder, lying, sex, or the LGBT crowd. Sin is sin. We are to flee from it. Rebuke it. We are to preach the word. It’s that simple.

      • June Test Castonguay

        I think Jesus might have been judged for eating with tax collectors and sinners (Matthew 9)? He didn’t become a tax collector or a sinner, but he didn’t avoid “hanging out” with them. God knows the “sinners” are not flocking to the church – even though there are plenty of Christian sinners sitting right in the seats every Sunday.

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