The following is an excerpt from: Let the Children Come
Although our intentions were to share the love and grace of Christ with others, I believe the church has actually been guilty of doing the exact opposite. Simply put, with our words and our actions, we have oftentimes preached the gospel backwards, and in doing so, we have shared hate and judgment.
To share Christ with others, we often start with what is sometimes called the doctrine of original sin. Now, don’t get me wrong. I believe that all people are born into this world as sinners. I just don’t believe that is where we should begin the conversation or the sermon.
Our sermon usually has three points: 1) All people are sinners; 2) God sent Jesus to die for us; 3) If we believe this, then God will forgive us and love us as God’s children forever.
I think we should preach the same sermon, only flip-flop it and proclaim it the other way around.
I believe we should always begin with God’s love for all people. We should make our number one point that God loves us as God’s children and wants nothing more than to love us forever. The second point should be that God came through Jesus and loved us so radically, showered us with grace so extravagantly, so offensively, that people, most of them religious, nailed him to a tree. And we should make our third and final point that God did this while we were yet sinners.
Do you see the difference? Instead of preaching that all people are born on the outside of the love of God until they do something, say something, or pray something to earn forgiveness, we should preach that all people are actually born inside the love of God without doing, saying or praying a thing to earn it. Our words and actions only help them to believe this and to accept it.
Jesus put it this way: 1) For God so loved the world; 2) God gave God’s only son; 3) So that all whosoever believes may not perish by their sins but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
If we keep teaching this, continue preaching this with our words and deeds, if we keep making the church a place of extravagant grace and radical love, then, before you know it, we will start seeing the entire world differently. We will start seeing people differently. Instead of seeing people first as sinners who deserve hell, fire, and eternal damnation, we will begin to see all people first as God sees them: God’s beloved children.