Here’s the thing about murderers

I noticed something this week while reading the story of Moses in Exodus and Accidental Saints by Nadia Bolz-Weber. It’s something I started to pick up on while reading JS Park’s The Life of King David. It struck me again this morning while I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a picture of a church service that caters to the schedules of parolees. What I’ve noticed lately is this: God really likes murderers.

Like really likes them. He trusts them, too. He asks murderers to do things like start churches and be missionaries and lead people and set people free.

Moses murdered a guy and fled his hometown. Years later God asks him to go back and lead a revolution.

David set wheels in motion for his latest girlfriend’s husband to be killed in battle. He also wrote a crap load of Psalms and is referred to as a man after God’s own heart.

Paul was like, “Let’s kill all those Jesus people!” Then he was like, “To live is Christ, to die is gain.”

Somehow I’ve been missing it. Somehow I think a lot of us have been missing it. Somehow we have diluted the power of the gospel even while singing, “Our God is greater,” and “How great is our God.” Somehow we have been preaching and living a watered down version of the gospel that has us focusing on stuff like church attendance and swear words and what’s happening is that all of us church people are sitting in our churches doing our church people stuff while the murderers are out there getting stuff done for Jesus.

Somehow we have become the dogs returning to our vomit. Somehow we have forgotten that Jesus came and died on the cross and ROSE FROM THE DEAD so that our lives didn’t have to revolve around sin – ours or someone else’s. Somehow we have decided to crawl back under the yoke of slavery to sin and to do lists and shoulds and should nots. Somehow we have divided this whole big world up into “us” and “them,” using “those people over there” as examples of what not to do and patting ourselves on the back for going to church. Somehow all the times Jesus sticks it to the religious Pharisees completely soar right over our heads and we think we’re getting it.

One time someone suggested I cover up my tattoos at church because some people think tattoos determine my salvation. Shouldn’t church be the one place I can be exactly myself? Isn’t God’s love big enough for even me? If the murderers were welcome, then I am, too.

One time the Duck Dynasty family got uninvited to some Christian event because they bought a winery. Surely learning more about who God is from each other is more important than wine. Have you even read the Bible? Jesus’ first miracle? Water into wine? Anyone?

Do we not trust the Holy Spirit to do His job? Do we really not see that we are all the same? We are all the same mess. All of us. The murderers and the pastors. The missionaries and the lesbians. The single mothers and the prostitutes and the deaconesses and the drag queens. We are all the same mess loved by the same Savior. Isn’t His love big enough? Big enough to accept us in exactly as we are and big enough to get right to work on restoring us to who we were meant to be? Big enough to know what that looks like? Isn’t a God who employs murderers big enough for tattoos and swear words and cigarettes and beer? Isn’t He?

4 thoughts on “Here’s the thing about murderers

  1. Thanks for the shout-out. And great post. I think both Christian circles and mainstream-culture-of-the-day tend to draw lines pretty quick, all while declaring “We love everyone.” I think what they mean is, “We love everyone: until you do the one thing, and then you better pay for it before you’re welcome back round here.” Certainly there are some difficult things (like murder) that need recompense and repentance and proper justice. But I think calling someone outright irredeemable (or even unwelcome, like you said) is a really big deal and it’s easy to say that to someone until it comes down to “me.” I would hope no one actually thinks that a person is completely outside redemption and has to stay condemned for a lifetime. What a world that would be, and perhaps the one we’re making.

    1. I think the biggest thing I’ve learned from you is that we are all more than one quality or sin or talent or characteristic. We are not defined by one mistake, even if it’s a really big one, or one characteristic, even if it’s really obvious. We are defined by God. And like you said, there are consequences to sin, absolutely. But that consequence on this earth is never ultimate exclusion from God’s family.

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