Jimmy Kimmel introduces his video clip Jesus Quotes the Candidates with these words: “God is a very important part of this primary election. Most all of the candidates go out of their way to talk about the Bible and their faith, so we thought it would be interesting to take real quotes from the primary candidates… and we want to get an idea of what they would sound like from the mouth of Jesus.”
As soon as I watched the clip, I knew two things;
- Some people would be really offended by this.
- Jimmy Kimmel is pointing out a truth that sounds a lot like 1 John 2:6 “Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived.” (The Message).
Regardless of our political persuasion, if we call ourselves a Christian, we need to reflect Christ’s heart on social matters.
That means we will wrestle. We will need to pray often, asking him to reveal his wisdom. We will sometimes get it wrong. And sometimes what he tells us won’t fall neatly into one political platform or the other.
But these risks are all worth it to hear his voice and live out his love. Because people who aren’t sure yet what they think about God are watching us. And they will respect us – even if we fail to get every position right – as long as we are humbly seeking to approach things as Jesus would. As Jesus does.
Watching this video reminded me of what first made me so uncomfortable with the typical Christian response to unplanned pregnancy and abortion 10 years ago – the types of comments that started me on the journey to framing a ProGrace Approach.
Here are some things I heard from Christians. I don’t have a snazzy video like Jimmy, but see if you can hear what these quotes might sound like from the mouth of Jesus:
“Women have abortions simply because they are selfish.”
“I’m uncomfortable when I see you celebrating women and their accomplishments after an unplanned pregnancy. I think you should really celebrate those young women who didn’t have sex before they were married.”
“Wait, isn’t a little bit of shame good for women who get pregnant outside of marriage? We don’t want to send the message that this kind of behavior is ok.”
“My friend’s daughter got pregnant at 19 and it’s too bad. She was such a bright young woman.”
“We don’t want to have a baby shower at our church for women who aren’t married.”
Yes, I uphold God’s standard for sexual purity and the sacredness of marriage. At the same time, I also understand that none of us can live up to God’s holy standard on our own. If lust is the same as adultery in God’s eyes (Matt. 5:28), then we have all fallen short, and none of us can cast a stone at a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy.
Jesus came to bring grace. He came to be the perfect sacrifice, satisfying God’s standard. And he came to freely give us the Holy Spirit, making us more like himself. So before we ask others around us to become like him, we need to make sure we are living a lifestyle that models his. Since none of us us can possibly act like Jesus all the time, this keeps us aware of our constant need for forgiveness. And being aware of our need for grace is the first step in being able to extend radical grace to others.