I can tell you from experience, when I made choices that were outside of God’s best, He didn’t condemn me. Instead, He addressed my brokenness, my fears, my pain. I already knew I wasn’t perfect, but God went past my behavior and saw my heart. He uncovered lies in my life and demonstrated His truth about how He saw me. Then He invited me to surrender my ways to His ways – not to manipulate or control me, but to cause me to experience His best. God’s motive in reaching me was love-oriented, not rule-oriented.
God wants us to imitate Him and to reach others by focusing on His love and ability to restore us. If we try to raise a standard of behavior as a prerequisite to some kind of relationship or some sort of participation, we disregard the human condition and devalue the Father’s heart to heal and make whole. Those who are works-based reveal that they themselves do not fully know Father’s heart when they convey a message that a person is not worthy to come near to God until they reach His standard. The truth is, none of us are qualified to reach God’s standard. It’s by God’s grace that we can know Him. Rule-oriented Christians think they are doing good by telling others how they should behave, but they are often unaware how they are breaking the heart of our Father by keeping His children at a distance from Him and His church. Since God paid the high price of the blood of His Son, we should show honor to that gift and reach out with that same love.
If we think the presence of God will not manifest if we draw imperfect people into our churches, remember the glory on Jesus’ ministry. Who did Jesus attract? Who did Jesus seek after? – the lost, the hurting, the cheating tax collectors, the prostitutes, the adulterers, the “sinners.” God’s POWER will be in the house when His LOVE is in the house. We don’t have to protect His anointing FROM the hurting; we have to honor the anointing FOR the hurting. When God made me whole in some areas of my life, I followed God by relationship, not by rules. Performance-driven people could cause others to become just as opinionated and isolated as they are or drive them to be at a distance, even into the wide-open arms of an accepting unholy world. Because God multiplied His grace to me, I want our church to be a healing place for a hurting world. I want it to be a place where God is free to come close to us, and we are free to come near to Him.