Recently on Twitter, I have been having a debate with someone I don’t know from Adam about sexuality, compassion and sin. I realise that Twitter arguments are not a good idea in general, but it has sparked off some serious thoughts about the ways in which Jesus talked to people – and the ways in which Christians are encouraged to talk to people – who live outside of the church context, in a position of vulnerability, or are marginalised for various reasons. I have already posted about the ways in which certain types of evangelism have made me uncomfortable in the past, but this is about more than evangelism. It is about relationships, and it is about the way we choose to share the Good News with others, and the need for compassion.
Because it is supposed to be GOOD News.
Here is a summary of the conversation:
(Context: Someone I follow posted about the Church of England’s recommendation that couples in same-sex relationships should be “given recognition and compassionate attention from the church.” M. replied to this, saying “those who wrote the report are fools who ignore what God has clearly said”)
Me: What’s so wrong with being compassionate with people?
M: It is not compassionate to encourage someone in sin
Me: No-one said encourage. They said recognition and compassionate attention. The church has ignored, misunderstood and hurt gay people.
M: There’s no such thing as gay people, just sexual sinners
Me: Oh ok, that’s made all the hurt go away. You’ve found the solution!
M: (summary). The hurt is necessary so that people will see their sin. Better they are caused pain in this world than experience the pain of Hell.
Me: We are called to be loving, not hurtful. Hurtful attitudes are not Christian. We need to be like Jesus with the woman at the well, not like Pharisees.
M: Jesus exposed that woman’s sin. She was an adulteress and he told her so.
Me: Go read that story. He used no such word. He told her of living waters not hell fires. We must imitate this. Telling her of living waters was extravagant and disruptive love. She changed for that love, not for fear of hell fires.