If you read the title, you might have associated it with Golgotha, the place where Jesus died. Instead, I’m referring to myself and the hills I will “die on”. Jesus died on the hill, and he died for us. But now I am dying on my own hill for what I will not compromise.
Jesus came to redeem us and ultimately died on a hill so that we could have the fullness of life. Ephesians 3:16-19 states, “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
To have the fullness of God means to live a meaningful and purposeful life, which is more than a worldly life focusing on money and power. If we have the fullness of God, we are burdened to share it and that is the gospel: sharing the love, fullness, grace, and acceptance that God has given us.
There are no exceptions to sharing it. There are no disclaimers or exempt clauses in the gospel. The gospel is for everyone. We believe that, don’t we?
Unfortunately, our behavior and our church culture often communicate otherwise. If the gospel is for the broken, can the broken come through our church doors and feel loved? If Jesus accepts the broken, do we accept the broken as well? Do we actively create safe spaces for the broken to find Jesus?
The church was designed to be a hospital for the sick – but we can’t just care for people’s broken faith. We are interconnected creatures, and the mind, soul, and body are all essential in order to be completely whole. The church is a hospital and should be a place for healing all types of pain: spiritual, emotional, physical and more. Yet the church cannot fulfill this role if the ones needing healing are not accepted and ultimately, marginalized and cast aside. If they are not loved for who they are without expectations, they will find a different place to find healing.
Too many times I have observed Christians who profess the name of Jesus but who mock or ridicule people who are different from them. They expect people to change to look exactly as they do once they walk through the doors of their church, yet it never works that way. Jesus convicts and changes hearts. We are only tasked with sharing the gospel and giving love and being their neighbor.
Jesus died on that hill to bring redemption for all. But do we really show that with our actions and words? Do we accept the least, last, and lost of our communities and welcome them in to be cared for? That is what Jesus did. The tax collector. The prostitute. The diseased. The poor. The adulterer. The thief. They all needed the love of God, and there were no exceptions to God’s acceptance. The beauty of these gospel stories is that these beloved children of God did not have to meet a list of terms and conditions in order to be loved. Jesus says to all of us “come as you are”. If we want to be more like Jesus then that is what we have to say as well. Come as you are and be loved in this place with no exceptions.
Jessica Carlson, Coach