Why I do what I do
I attended the six-year sobriety celebration for a sweet friend. As she shared her story with the group, she said, "In all of the bad times, when I was at my worst, like when I was coming to church high, God never left me." This is the heart of the Gospel. God humbling himself to walk in our pain. To fellowship with us in suffering. Jesus took himself the sins of all, to replace it with a righteousness we cannot attain on our own.
This is why I pastor, not to accuse people of sin, but to point them to the Savior. It is easy to become self-righteous when we hear stories like my friend's. Look at the way of Jesus to love and forgive, notice how he only called out the religious leaders who refused to offer the grace of God. He kept his kindness words for the repentant and the questioning.
I love Eugene Peterson's Bible paraphrase, "God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again" (The Message, John 3:17). To put things to right is the work of the Holy Spirit, our work as pastors and leaders is to see where we can partner with God. To continue to lift Jesus up, so he will draw people to himself (John 12:32).
Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash