I heard a story yesterday on WAY-FM about Lauren Daigle appearing on Ellen. The segment was good – Lauren was great as a performer, Wally, the host, did a great job interviewing her, and the conversation was meaningful and insightful. The part that surprised me was the reaction the segment got.

If your life is too hectic to read or listen to it, long story short: Lauren Daigle (a Christian music artist) performed on the Ellen Show, and the Wally Show (a Christian Radio morning show) invited Lauren on to talk about her experience with Ellen. And invited listeners to watch the segment online. Lots of listeners got really angry about some things that Wally deeply disagreed with, so he wrote about it.

Got it? Let’s move on…

Before we get started it’s important to know a few things:

  1. I’m a Christian, too. Baptized when I was 8. Worship leader for many years. This post is not meant to attack the Church. I am the Church. Anything I say about Christians, applies to me, too.
  2. The conversations and statements below are not happening in Christian spaces only. The world is watching and hearing these statements, making their own judgments about we are and how we love.
  3. All of this applies to me, too. I know I already wrote that, but I want to be sure it’s emphasized. I heard echoes of my own heart in all of the statements Wally’s listeners made – my struggles are just with a different group of people.

Now that we have that straight, three things our reactions to the Wally Show teach us about ourselves:

1. We often think we’re the moral police instead of being subversive cheerleaders.

The Evangelical culture has long been involved in trying to create a nation full of moral behavior through legislation, force, and coercion. We have focused so much of our energies on transforming behavior without trying to transform hearts through sacrificial love and generosity. We have become a culture full of Pharisees, condemning anyone that does not meet the standards of behavior we’ve created on our own.

We have it backwards. When we look to Jesus we see an entirely different method of transforming the world. Jesus loved without strings. Yes, he told people to repent and sin no more, but that was after he had already invested himself in their well-being. He demonstrated his love for them by eating with them, healing them, and living amongst them. Then, after they knew he saw them, understood them, and loved them, he would tell them to repent. He didn’t tell them to repent out of anger or disappointment or fear, he told them because he loved them.

Too often, we Christians tell people to repent because they are making us uncomfortable or because they are making us angry or because of some other insidiously selfish reason. As Lauren said, “It’s not up to me to choose who I’m supposed to love.” First we love, then we love some more and let Jesus do his work.

2. We like to point out the sins of others, especially when we do not struggle with them.

In the Aftercast about this, Zach mentioned how Wally often brings up Ryan Seacrest, who lives with his girlfriend, yet they haven’t had any phone calls from angry listeners about him. It could be that most WAY-FM listeners believe Seacrest is a morally upstanding man, but I would guess it’s more likely that we find Seacrest’s sin less icky.

The Church is full of sexual and marital sin. Our rates of pornography addiction, divorce, and cohabitation are nearly as high as it is for people who do not attend church. I have not heard many speeches, protests, or angry phone calls about how Christian radio is promoting those same issues when they talk about Seacrest, Oprah, or Donald Trump.

Perhaps the world would find us more respectable and trust us more if we concerned ourselves with our own sins and shortcomings rather than focusing on one or two sins that most of us do not struggle with. I imagine this is why Jesus told us to focus on the plank in our own eye, rather than the speck of dust in our neighbor’s.

3. We think we’re being attacked by the world, but really we’re the ones invading it.

One of the most common statements I hear in regards to homosexuality is that “they are pushing their agenda on us.” The truth of this statement does not really matter. Maybe there is some secret, organized strategy from the LGBTQ+ community to transform our society. Maybe there’s not. It does not really matter because the entire premise is based on a misunderstanding of our call to be in the world.

In John 17, Jesus mentioned that we are not from this world, but that he is sending us into it. We have shortened his prayer to the saying that we are “in the world, but not of it.” Somehow, we have transformed Jesus’s belief that we would be a people that transforms the world through love, into a command that we are stuck in this world but we should quarantine ourselves from it so we can remain pure. We have changed it to mean the exact opposite thing.

The world is not trying to overtake us or overthrow us. They are already the dominate force around us. We are the ones trying to transform their world. We are the invading force, fighting for their liberation from sin and death. If we fear the ones we are meant to love and redeem, then we cannot accomplish our true mission of finalizing the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.

Christians are an invading force, trying to liberate the world from sin and death Click To Tweet

Bonus Lesson Learned:

There are a lot, possibly even a majority, of Christians that already know this. Just read through the comments on the post from the Wally Show. It’s full of people applauding Wally’s response, disagreeing with the callers, and showing their support for an inclusive love, without overlooking the ways in which we all need to grow.

It’s important to remember that we are all prone to hate, fear, or disregard the people we vehemently disagree with. I struggle everyday with having patience and love for my “Christian” neighbor that speaks from a place of fear and hatred. As soon as I give into that hate, however, I become the very thing I am fighting against.

So, while it’s easy to point fingers at judgmental people, we must remember that our God calls us to love our enemy and to seek their redemption, not their destruction. Those same three lessons above apply to me as much as to anyone else, I just aim my judgement at different groups.

God loves the people I hate, and I pray that we can grow in love together for everyone.

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John Osburn

John Osburn

John tries to do as his momma taught him and leave things better than he found them - including the world. He's a father, husband, student, and disciple.
John Osburn

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Dave
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Dave

Hi John. Greetings from northeast Scotland.

You have made a very clear statement which I am in agreement with. When I read about the reaction to Lauren’s appearence on Ellen’s show I was not that surprised. Yes, we know that certain lifestyles etc are not God’s best for us but the thought that I had was, ‘Who is our neighbour? Everybody else but me.’

Yours in Christ.
Dave.

John Osburn
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John Osburn

Hi Dave-

Thanks for reading, especially from Scotland!

I love the question and answer: “Who is my neighbor? Everyone else but me.” I have so much to learn and many areas to become more disciplined so I can more faithfully love all of my neighbors.

Thanks again for the encouragement!

Deo volente-
John

Ebl
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Ebl

I’ve given this a lot of thought. When her most popular song came on the Christian radio I thought wow what a voice and the words spoke to me as I have granddaughters who have low self images. Then I realized she never said God or Jesus until the end. I shrugged my shoulders and said oh what a shame but it didn’t go any further. Then I saw her on Ellen and wondered what she would sing. Let’s face it Christians we can love them all like Jesus and love them into the kingdom. They have the culture now… Read more »

Steve Bagaason
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Steve Bagaason

Always love your insights John! May your tribe increase!

Stephen Cypret
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Stephen Cypret

Jesus said to go into all the World and preach the Gospel…. Not stay in your comfort zones of the Church and it”s 4 walls and events.

Cathy Baggett
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Cathy Baggett

Thank you John for your words. I am a Christian and I love all people. My daughter is part of the LGBTQ community. I love her and I’m in no way ashamed of her, nor do I pass judgement on her. That’s not my job, only God’s. My job as her mom is to love her and to always be here for her and most importantly to pray for her. I am no one to pass judgement on anyone. Neither are you ( as you said ), or the Christian’s in the church not taking responsibility for their sins bc… Read more »

horatio
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horatio

Hi, First thing I would state is; I highly enjoy her songs. She has a great voice and her albums are normally littered with references to Christ. That being said; the song she sang had no mention of Christ, Jesus, God, or any other derivative thereof. In fact, the albums is quite light on the Christ and much more vague. You don’t really mean we shouldn’t legislate and JUDGE and can prove it with a couple of questions: Do you favor unmitigated murder, abortion, spousal abuse, 5 year olds having sex change operations, drag queen library experiences for your children… Read more »

Judy
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When the woman in the bible was caught in the act of adultery, Jesus did not condemn her. The same spirit(perverted spirit} is on a homosexual. Satan does not care who we have sex with,a child, an animal,anyone who is not our husband or wife, same sex or opposite sex it is a perverted spirit. And he laughs because we Christians are condemning the ones who are not just sinning like we do with the opposite sex. May God forgive us all!!!

Stephen Powell
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Stephen Powell

Not the author, but several key points worth emphasizing. Am I personally comfortable with the things that the world is produces? Am I in agreement with what the world thinks is correct? No, but as the original poster pointed out, we’re invaders in this world. That said, the attitude of any relationship or reaction we have with the world, must first be rooted in love. Ms Daigle put it quite succinctly when she said something along the lines of “when we start to put lines around those we can love, we loose the real meaning of the Gospel” Who did… Read more »

John Osburn
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John Osburn

Well said, Stephen.

Cissy
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Cissy

Loving people who choose a destructive lifestyle is what we are called to do. Being content to call their choice good and acceptable in the name of non judgment is wrong and not love at all. The friends I’ve had caught in the gay life, I have done my best to love. But I’ve seen the unhappiness that is inherent there and I want better for them.

Linda B.
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Linda B.

As difficult as it may seem, I believe that in loving we are NOT condoning but loving in spite of the sin. We are called NOT to approve but to love. That can be hard at times. After all we all sin in one way or another, but Christ loves us in spite of our weaknesses. I am reminded of this daily as I spend time in prayer and praise with our Lord. I see my past sins and current failures in the light of HIS love and have seen and experienced His mercies that are NEW every morning. I… Read more »

Joannah
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Joannah

Lauren did not get to pick her song. Ellen listened to the album and picked Still Rolling Stones for her to perform.

Leslie Pelley
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Leslie Pelley

Excellent I love this message! And that goes for how we treat people crossing the border of the US seeking asylum. Love on people wherever they are! Show the mercy and kindness that we have been shown by our savior! What Would Jesus Do? What has he told us to do?

CJHead
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CJHead

No, we are not to condemn or spew hatred or harm anyone by casting stones – physical or verbal… but we are to share the truth of the gospel and the truth is that Jesus died because of the sinful nature of man. If we are not to discern between right and wrong then there was no point to His death and John the Baptist would not have been calling all God’s children to repentance or been beheaded and suffered a martyr’s death …and the Apostle’s could have simply continued in their sin and everyone that Jesus healed would have… Read more »

Natasha Hendrix
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Natasha Hendrix

God over threw me… the puppy queen.

John Osburn
Member
John Osburn

Hi CJ- Thanks for reading and for your thoughtful response. First, I’d like to apologize for seeming insensitive. I understand how those gifs could be perceived as making fun of the people that disagreed with Wally and Lauren. That was not my intention, however. I was thinking of myself, and all Christians, when I put those up. The whole point of my article is that we are all guilty of judging others in unfair and un-Christlike ways. I find arrogance, judgement, and haughtiness in my heart nearly every day. I proclaim the love of Christ, then often turn around and… Read more »

CJHead
Guest
CJHead

I appreciate you taking the time to read the scriptural text I recommended… I agree with much of what you state especially re: Jesus came to fulfill God’s law and allow God’s truth to be written upon our hearts for His good purpose, but my disagreement with you, Wally, and Lauren, is that you all have distorted God’s truth to fit your own “judgement seat” of what you think is right and wrong… and those who disagree must have a heart of stone. I think we can also agree that even Jesus submitted to God’s will and His truth… through… Read more »

Hall
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Hall

Cool

Hall
Guest
Hall

Cool info. We need more

Hall
Guest
Hall

Really awesomeness of information and hope to see more real soon