It's a shame that Jesus is not taken seriously. Either His name is invoked in support of some controversial opinion or action, in a misrepresentation or His words are stretched in order to justify some sin or questionable behavior.
Some have turned Him into an idol, which would normally be fine, if it was the real Jesus they were idolizing. Others recoil at the mention of His name, a Pavlovian reaction to what they believe will be followed by a judgmental Bible-thumping.
Knowing and worshiping the real Jesus is what most Christians do. The unfortunate thing is that the hypocrites get all of the attention while good people, believers and Christ followers, toil in relative obscurity. That is, they follow their role model and Lord, Jesus Christ, and they are humble.
The real Jesus welcomed the outcasts of society. He worked many of his miraculous deeds through tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers and others who so-called decent people vilified and marginalized. He was very clear that we are all God's people, and that our first priorities were to love God and to love one another. One another did not come with exceptions - he means every one.
So when you see a supposed believer on TV talking about keeping 'those people' out of our country, out of our schools, out of our workplaces, out of our faces, realize that they may invoke Jesus, but He would never support what they are saying. The idea of sending the regular army against women and children - you really think Jesus would be 'okay' with that? I don't either.
So the purpose here is twofold: to identify the hypocrisy and separate real Christians from it, and to introduce the real Jesus to all people.
If you know the real Jesus, you could never have a problem with Him. He loves you regardless of who you are, what you've done, where you're from, even how and what you worship. He would recognize that you, like everyone else except for Him, are a sinner. He would accept you, 'warts and all' if you genuinely want to know Him.
'Genuine' matters. Your intentions should be good, honorable, sincere. You don't have to understand it all. None of us do. But to open your mind and heart to the possibilities that give believers hope and joy, despite troubles and hardships and heartbreaks - that is the basis of our faith.
So you can disagree with me, argue with my word choice or opinions, my politics or my values. I'm a sinner, just like you. I hope you agree with me, and decide to get to know the real Jesus. But even if you dismiss me, make sure you don't dismiss Jesus at the same time. He is the Lord who saves, who loves us all more sincerely and intensely than anyone ever could.
Get to know the real Jesus. When you do, you will love Him as He loves you already.
God bless you!
Note: This was posted originally in December, 2018 and reposted in July, 2019. The nice thing about writing about Jesus is that He is unchanging, as good today as He was 2000 years ago, and will be 2000 years from now. Introducing the real Jesus is critically important in the effort to bring new believers to Him. #toknowhimistolovehim