I'm sure by now we all are pretty familiar with the Jussie Smollet story. Even though investigations are still underway, the gist pretty much is that former Empire Actor Jussie Smollett allegedly faked a "hate crime" in order to gain public sympathy and ultimately get a raise in pay on the show. And, he all but certainly achieved much of what he wanted from the faux attack, celebrities, Anti-Hate groups and other support organizations got behind Mr. Smollett in a show of solidarity and unity of his cause. He star begin to rise not just on Empire but everywhere else. Jussie Smollett quickly became a household name. Unfortunately for Mr. Smolltett the bottom fell out, when his sinsiter when Chicago Police turned their focus of the investigation towards the supposed victim Jussie Smollett, and evidenced surfaced that this was not a "hate crime" but a staged attack to gain notoriety and monetary rewards. Now, acording to NBC News Jussie Smollet has been indicted on 16 felony counts by a Grand Jury.
The nature of our response in this blog is not to just to talk about Jussie's attempt to capitalize on a fake attack and create monetary dividends for himself. But, it is to also help to set the record straight on a long standing debate that is taking place between the LGBTQ Community and the Church. While it is is true the Bible; which is the expressed Word of God, speaks against and condemns homosexuality; along with a mirad of other sins. (Read Leviticus 20:13)). In fact. God destroyed two entire cities-Sodom & Gomorrah (Read Genesis 19th Chapt) because of their overwhelming homosexuality. So, if we start there and the Bible is the basis for our Christian beliefs, it is God who sets the standards of what he considers to be "sin" and what he does not. Not the church. The Church is merely a reflection of the God that we are supposed to worship and serve. And so, essentially as God goes so goes the Church. It is typically from this place that the world tends to part ways with the Church, because of their seeming intolerance with people that don't act like them. However, we don't see that as a problem per se, because it is not the Church that ultimately saves a person but it is God who extends salvation to mankind. The Church does not have a heaven or a hell to put anyone, and the Church should not be vilified for speaking God's Word when it comes to His abhorrence of homosexuality along with the many other sins that He-himself went to Calvary's Cross to redeem mankind back to Himself.
Unlike what many prognosticators of the Church proclaim, the Church is not the originator of hatred for homosexuality. I believe the Church has been wrongfully targeted as the purveyor of hate of the LGBTQ Community and we are here to set the record straight. When a hate crime is committed against a homosexual or from someone from the LGBTQ Community that hatred does not originate from the Church. Violence is not the way to win souls to Christ, it is not the preferred method of demonstrating God's love for everyone. Those who do commit those types of violent crimes under the guise of the Church are outliers and we do not support such behavior or such practices. God is a God of love. And, regardless of the worldview of God's love, He does love all all of his creations. After all, He is the Creator of all things. Why wouldn't the Creator genuinely love His creation? That is oxymoronic to even fathom such a thing. However, it is the perspective of the world and the world system that God is a God of hate and that He has taught the Church to hate those that do not look like Him. There is nothing further from the truth. The great thing about God's and His love is that He doesn't mind His love being misunderstood or even misappropriated. When Jesus walked the earth, He regularly set amongst people whom the church folk would not engage. Jesus set among the publicans and the sinners and was ridiculed and criticized by the Church of whom He also claim to represent. What a contradiction, or was it?
Jesus display of affection for those worldly individuals, was actually His way to demonstrating to the Church what our true mission statement should, to win souls for Christ. And, to do so you will have to extend yourself to those who may reject you; you may reach out to those who will ultimately turn their backs on you. But, God's love is unconditional, it doesn't come with a long list of strings attached, it doesn't come with a set of preconditions. But, God truly does love you just the way you are. Now that doesn't mean that intends for you to stay the way you are. especially when you express a love for Him. Genuine love is usually accompanied by obedience, and that is the true litmus test of love, are you willing to submit yourself to whomever you say that you are truly in love with. If you say you love God, but are unwillingly to obey His Word, then how can you say you love Him, what is the basis of your love? Love is an action word it requires you to do something, it requires you to act on your love. God doesn't just claim to love us, but He demonstrated that love by dying on Calvary's Cross for the sins of the world. That was and still is the greatest demonstration of love known to mankind. And, God did not die to save the world from its sin, only for us to wash our sin in His face when we chose our lifestyles over living for Him. This is the part that is missed in the debate between the Church and the LGBTQ Community. The LGBTQ Community claims to know more about God than the Church does, so they attempt to redefine the constructs of God's love, by starting their own churches and reinterpreting God's Word to reflect their sinful lifestyles. This is not at all what God intended. Jesus said, "if you love me, keep my commandments." But, that seems to be what the world is unwilling to do, and yet still claim to love God. So hypocritical!
My problem with Jussie Smollet's fake hate crime is not the attempt, but the vitriol of the Church that ensued, when it was believed that an actual hate crime had very well taken place. Supporters of Jussie immediately came after the Church with the same venom and hatred that Jussie claimed was directed towards him. And, last I checked it wasn't the Church that was involved in this incident at all, but there are some that would like to put the Church squarely in the middle of Jussie and his faux conspirators as the ultimately blame for this climate of hatred towards LGBTQ's. The claim that historically levied is the Church is the originator of the hatred of the LGBTQ Community; the Church is where everyone inside and outside of the Church has gotten their hatred for people not like them from. Therein lies this notion of intolerance that the world claims to have originated with the Church, however, it appears that the world including the LGBTQ Community has an intolerance problem as well, because it seems that they can't seem to tolerate people who do not share the same belief systems as they do. I could see if the LGBTQ Community was as inclusive as they desired the Church to be, but their hypersensitivities seem to prohibit them from being as open-minded and understanding as they want everyone else to be. (Interesting!) At least, with the Church the argument can be made that we are to represent and reflect the same love that Christ represents and reflects, even though we fall short sometimes. I will be the first to admit the Church's shortcomings. We are not perfect. It is often said that we are the perfect place for imperfect people. The Church is the place where sick people can come to receive spiritual healing. The world superimposes perfection upon the Church, in part because of how we conduct ourselves internally and externally. I hear all the time the Church is filled with nothing but hypocrites, and some will use that as an excuse for them not to go. My response is, "YES" the Church is filled with hypocrites, but so is your job, so is the club, so is the casino, so is every place else and yet you don't let that stop you from entertaining yourself. With all that being said, the Church is still the one place on the planet where people are genuinely and sincerely working on themselves. The Bible says, "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."
I am not writing this blog post from a position of superiority, but from a position of extreme humility, because I know and understand, but by the grace of God there go I. I too am a work in progress; I am a piece of art that God is still transforming into His masterpiece. The only difference between me and the world is that i'm willing to submit myself to the process of being transformed. Those who are unwilling to submit themselves to the process of being transformed will never experience the true merits of God's unconditional love. They will only know God through other people; they will never know Him for themselves. And, when you know God through other people, His love can easily be misinterpreted, when you know God through other people, His love can easily be misunderstood, But, its only when you are able to have a personal relationship with God yourself. Then you will be able to come into a better understanding of His love. So, this hatred that has been imputed upon the Church for the LGBTQ Community is a complete falsehood. The doors of God's Church are open to whoever wants to attend. You can come as you are and God will receive you just as you are. The problem becomes when people want to come to God and dictate to Him the manner in which they should be received as well as the parameters of this new relationship with Him. How can the creation dictate to the Creator the parameters of their relationship with Him? God is the only one that can do that, because He is the only one that has the power to change the way you are into what He wants you to be. But, there's that problematic word "change." Those who don't fully understand what it means to be loved by God, also don't want to be bothered with being transformed by Him either. They just want to come and go as they please, and still partake of the full benefits of God's love. Not so! At least from our humanistic vantage point. But...actually God's long suffering allows Him to put up with the messiness of man's proclivities and still allow grace for them to be redeemed. So, yes God will allow for man to come to Him with all of their baggage and preconceived notions and will have a tailored made experience for them to ultimately be reconciled back to Him. So, yes with God all things are possible. And, this is where the waters get quite muddy when it comes to God's patience with us, because his long suffering allows Him to over extend His grace to us in spite of ourselves, in spite of our misgivings, in spite of our rebellious nature; and this where His kindness can almost be mistaken for weakness, because He chooses to tolerate what others would openly and immediately reject. And, He does this because, He is the only one that can see what others cannot. God is the only one that can see our potential, when everyone else only sees the problems. God is the only one that can see our purpose, when everyone else only sees pessimism. And, He's able to see this because He's also the only one that is truly in love with mankind. He's the only that can take what He sees and make it a reality. So, in essence our lives our better off in His hands, our fortunes are better off in His hands, our well-being is better off in His hands. It is in our best interest to surrender our will over to Him and let Him take care of the rest.
Mr. Smollet's faux attack caused a great deal of controversy, but the controversy for me didn't come from the motives of the fake attack, it actually came for the backlash and fallout of the faux attack that was imputed upon the Church as the original arbiters of hate for a community that God does indeed love. A community that God loves so much that He died so they might have a right to the tree of life. One thing about God's love requires obedience; it requires submission. How can you say you truly love God if you are not willing to submit to His will for your life? The world must see that in order to love God you have to got to fully deny yourself as being as much apart of Christianity as the love they so vehemently declare God has for them. The question becomes what are you willing to do for Him? You hear it so much and so often that God is a God of love that it almost seems like a cliche. It almost seems like this is the world's attempt at trying to water down Christianity by simply saying God loves everybody. Yes, He does love everybody but that also means that He requires something of everybody as well, and that is their life! Are you willing to give God your life for His love? That's the question that this really boils down to, and an answer that is entirely up to YOU to give.