At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then he called a little child over to sit among the disciples, and said, “I assure you that if you don’t turn your lives around and become like this little child, you will definitely not enter the kingdom of heaven. Those who humble themselves like this little child will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. “As for whoever causes these little ones who believe in me to trip and fall into sin, it would be better for them to have a huge stone hung around their necks and be drowned in the bottom of the lake. How terrible it is for the world because of the things that cause people to trip and fall into sin! Such things have to happen, but how terrible it is for the person who causes those things to happen! If your hand or your foot causes you to fall into sin, chop it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter into life crippled or lame than to be thrown into the eternal fire with two hands or two feet. If your eye causes you to fall into sin, tear it out and throw it away. It’s better to enter into life with one eye than to be cast into a burning hell with two eyes. “Be careful that you don’t look down on one of these little ones. I say to you that their angels in heaven are always looking into the face of my Father who is in heaven. What do you think? If someone had one hundred sheep and one of them wandered off, wouldn’t he leave the ninety-nine on the hillsides and go in search for the one that wandered off? If he finds it, I assure you that he is happier about having that one sheep than about the ninety-nine who didn’t wander off. In the same way, my Father who is in heaven doesn’t want to lose one of these little ones. (Matthew 18:1-14, CEB)
Why is it some people want to take some parts of the Bible literally but other parts are allegory? I mean I have never met someone who has cut off their hand or foot because it caused them to sin, but Jesus clearly says that is what we should do here. Also, I have never seen anyone with one eye because they took one out because it caused them to sin. We seem to think we can pick and choose what we want to be literal and what we want to be allegory. But it doesn’t work that way.
And it is interesting the part before all the mutilation. Whoever welcomes a child, welcomes me, and whoever causes one of these little ones who believes in me to fall into sin should tie a millstone around their necks and throw themselves into the sea. How many evangelicals cause those who are not like them or fit their mold for who is a follower to be hating on themselves and doubting God loves them? And in my book that is a sin. To cause people to think that God doesn’t love them is like saying Jesus didn’t die for all. God loves everyone and no one is worthy of that love but all of us get it and if anyone says that someone is not loved because they don’t fit the mold, then they are wrong and are causing others to sin.
We all need to accept everyone as they are because God loves us as we are. It isn’t about becoming perfect and then joining in. It is about knowing you are loved as you are and being welcomed.
Everyone is welcome.
And we all need to love like God loves us, unconditionally and prodigiously!
Love Out Loud.
Loving People. Loving God.