Jesus, Judgment, and Jennifer Garner

ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" - Season 11
(Photo by Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images) JENNIFER GARNER

As Christ-followers, we belong to a body of believers called The Church, also known as Team Jesus. According to Romans 12, this “team” has many different parts, roles, functions, gifts, talents, likes, dislikes, tastes, personalities, hobbies, upbringings, philosophies, convictions, and more…but we all have the same common denominator—Jesus.

Because every single part belongs to one body (and is significant) the question we need to ask is, “Am I helping the team or hurting the team?” Great players make everyone around them better. Michael Jordan did this. Steph Curry does this. Are you doing this?

You know what doesn’t help? Ripping your own teammates. Players who berate players on their own team create a toxic culture that spreads through the locker room like cancer. This usually results in having a losing season and even steals the very joy of playing.

You don’t have to be a pastor (like me) to see the effects that judgmental “Christians” have on The Church and world. I was overjoyed when I read an article about Jennifer Garner’s recent return to church after being cast in a new faith-based film about miracles. Then I began reading comments from “Christians” (that included everything from “her faith isn’t genuine” to “I only wish she had chosen a different church to attend” ) and I almost threw up in my mouth. I also had to repent after asking God to place some of His “players” on waivers.

Okay, instead of getting rid of some players, how can we help people win?

5 Ways To Help People Win

1. Lose Your Critical Lens

It’s interesting that Pharisees (judgmental religious leaders) were the only people Jesus was critical of. What about prostitutes? Nope. Tax collectors? Nope. Messy people? Nope. Why? That’s who He came for. He said, “I have come for those who know they are sinners — not those who think they are righteous.” He was not happy with those who spent their time pointing out the specks in the eyes of others while they had giant logs in their own.

Don’t be like the Pharisees who ignore their own sin while pointing out the sin of others.

Put on “Jesus goggles” and see sinners like Jesus does.

2. Expand Your Circle of Love

In Mark 12, Jesus was asked by—you guessed it—a Pharisee to identify the greatest commandment. His answer was classic.

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” —Mark 12:30-31 (NLT)

Notice that the second commandment is equally important. This means that loving our neighbor is just as important as loving God.

Ouch.

What if my neighbor isn’t a believer? Yep.
What if my neighbor is a counterfeit Christian? Yep.
What if my neighbor is voting for Hillary? Yep.
What if my neighbor is voting for Trump? Yep.
What if my neighbor is muslim? Yep.
What if my neighbor is a jerk? Yep.
What if my neighbor stinks? Yep.
What if my neighbor…? You get the idea.

And not only are we commanded to love our neighbor, we are called to love our teammates. It was Jesus who said the following in John 13:35 (NLT), Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” 

Love all people, period.

3. Hurt With Those Who Hurt

If one part (of Team Jesus) suffers, all the parts suffer with it… —1 Corinthians 12:26a (NLT)

When your teammate is going through a season of suffering or setback, sometimes they don’t need a sermon or your advice. They need your presence. Sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is to just sit with them.

Find someone to sit with.

Have coffee.

Listen.

Cry.

Hug.

Pray.

Repeat.

4. Rejoice With Those Who Rejoice

…and if one part (of Team Jesus) is honored, all the parts are glad. —1 Corinthians 12:26b (NLT)

Celebrate each other’s wins. Be genuinely happy when your teammate hits the winning basket. Make others the hero of your story.

5. Build Up Each Other

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. —1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT)

Some people need to be reminded that Paul didn’t say, “Tear each other down.” In fact, he says in 1 Corinthians 13 that it really doesn’t matter how gifted you are—if you’re a jerk, your contributions to Team Jesus are useless. Boom!

By the way, Jesus said in Luke 15:10 (NLT), “…there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.” Hmm, sounds very familiar to how the father responded when his prodigal son returned home, doesn’t it?

If the angels in heaven are throwing a party in Jennifer Garner’s honor…then we should join them!

After all, we’re on the same team.

Everybody dance!


 

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