Screenshot courtesy of Twitter

What do you see? How do you feel when you read this? What is your initial response? Is it anger? Is it indifference? Do you see just another lost soul that refused to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior?

I thought I’d share with you what I see. I see a tragically missed opportunity.

And I’m not referring to Lil Nas X’s missed opportunity. I’m referring to the “ya’ll” he references in this tweet. I’m referring to the church folks who had an opportunity to show him the love and grace of Jesus Christ and they missed it. The opportunity to provide a young person with a feeling of, at the core, being worthy of God’s love despite their current struggle and they missed it. The opportunity to be real, transparent, and relatable and not address the young person’s sins before first showing their own scars so that they could see Jesus can work with anything…and they missed it. Jesus came not to condemn but to save. We have to stop pushing a narrative that Jesus is for the perfect and whole instead of the flawed and broken (Matt 9:12-13).

I wonder what would happen if we spent less time focusing on telling people the consequences of their sins and spent more time telling them about the power of their Advocate. We have turned “repentance” into this dirty word that’s for dirty people, leading many to feel too ashamed to even talk to God about their struggles with sin. I pray we change that narrative because not only is it outdated but it is unbiblical.

In 1 John 2:1, it says that if we sin, Jesus Christ will be our advocate and will plead our case before the Father. Jesus is our advocate, not our persecutor. Therefore, when we go to Him with our sins it’s to confide in Him and trust that He wants to support us not shame us. It doesn’t say repent so Jesus can condemn us for our sins. He wants to advocate for us because He understands that as human beings, we will all fall short of His glory (Romans 3:23)…but we will never fall short of His love (Romans 8:38).

So, again, what do I see when I read this tweet? I see another example of how far too many Christians continue to ignore the greatest of all commandments – love (1 Corinth 13:13). We can hate the sin but we cannot afford to hate the person. 1 Corinthians 13:4 says that love is kind and love is patient. I believe if Lil Nas X had been showered with kindness and patience, maybe (just maybe), there would be no video, no “satan shoes,” and no angry spirit and hardened heart bruised by the church sharing this tweet.

No, I do not blame the church entirely but I do recognize we (the universal church) had a part to play in this. Oftentimes the pastor will ask, can the church say, “amen.” But can the church also say, “accountability?” We have to hold ourselves accountable for when we misrepresent Jesus Christ through our actions and the way we treat people, and the impact it can have.

Our role and commandment is to love (2 John 1:6). The Holy Spirit’s role is to convict (John 16:8). Let’s try to stay in our lane, respectfully.

I pray we stop placing human limitations on God’s grace – which is free and undeserved (Romans 11:6).

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