We have had the privilege of being a part of a gospel event in North Georgia called Hope Awakening. The Lord has been moving and we have seen people accept Christ!
A statement was made in the service Monday evening that I have heard many times, yet this time it grabbed my attention because this time is spoke differently to me. We all have been there where we hear a statement made many times. We understand it and maybe even agree with it, but the unique thing with life is that a statement changes based on our perspective and how the Lord grows and changes us over time. As a teen I heard the statement and in college, it was made again. I’ve heard it countless times serving in two ministries as an adult, but this time, it spoke to me on a new level.
The ministry we are in now is different. City ministry is different. We live in a city where we see sinful living consistently. It is the norm in the city. As we became accustomed to living in a city, my perspective of people began to change. Instead of seeing a sinful person, I began seeing a soul trapped. Trapped by Satan and seeking to find purpose and happiness in life through their lifestyle. Your heart breaks for the people you drive past, see at the coffee shop, or out at the park. You want to help them understand that what they are living in will only destroy them. Jesus is the answer they are searching for. It has opened my eyes to be less appalled by their sin, and more broken for them. It is only because of Jesus and his mercy that I am not where they are.
“The ground is level at the foot of the cross.” Simple. Easily understood. Yet, not lived by. We classify sin. We level it. Our lie is no where near the sin of — you name it. We have all done it. We hold our nose up at things we deem disgusting. But Jesus was not like this. He did not become disgusted by their sin or frustrated with how someone was living. We get angry with them “parading their sin,” but they are lost! Those lost in sin will continue in darkness unless we get over our prejudice of their “sinful lifestyle” and take on the spirit of Jesus’ love and tenderness to reach them. Our prejudice is just as sinful as their sin. Jesus was broken for those around Him. He went after them with a love that did not see their sin, but saw the soul crying for help.
What have I learned? We must quit seeing their sin, but rather see their soul. I was in their place before I met Jesus! The ground truly is level at the foot of the cross. No one is above the other. Go back to the cross. See Jesus hanging there for all sin. There is no big sin or little sin. He hung there for the drug addict and the prideful Christian. He hung on the cross for those living in sexual sin and those with prejudice towards them. There is no sin that Jesus cannot break the chains and set the prisoner free! At Calvary, Jesus extended His mercy and grace to all. He pardons all sin and gives freedom.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God loved us even in our sin. Because of His love, he gave the ultimate gift through Jesus. We were given mercy and grace. We were given peace and freedom. We were given hope and purpose. This is the love me must extend to those who have yet to come to Christ. May they see Jesus in us! May we see their soul and how only the love of Jesus can change them.
Several years back, I was reading the words of the hymn “At Calvary.” I realized that the message of the song had been lost to me because the tune we have sung with it takes away from the words. As I read the words, I saw the beautiful testimony of what Jesus can do in a person's life and what He has done for me. Seeking to bring out the power in those words, I changed the melody to emphasize that “mercy there was great and grace was free! Pardon there was multiplied to me. There my burden soul has found liberty at Calvary.”
May this song remind you of what Christ has done and challenge you to share his love with others!
(Sheet music available)