The Difference Between the Destination and the Journey

by baldilocks

(Re-edited.)

Last week’s Mozilla-Brendan Eich saga has spawned many conversations. I have been involved in more than one of these, and they have produced a good amount of frustration in me. This frustration is borne of the fact that many people in this allegedly Judeo-Christian nation are functionally illiterate as to what they don’t believe, and as to what they do.

When Jesus Christ died and rose again, His work was finished, as He proclaimed. However, both believer and non-believer alike seem to think that the work of the individual Christian is finished when he/she accepts Jesus. (This is not to say that a Christian must do many things to be saved; he/she needs only to do one thing. My Catholic friends differ about this, but that is a separate topic.)

We Christians do sin–mostly in spiritual pride, but also in other areas, and that is to be expected. However, all too many of us think that Christians have arrived at some point of imaginary perfection. As a result, conversations about individual sins—like homosexuality—spur accusations from both Christian and non-Christian alike.

“What about your divorce?”

“Have you ever fornicated?”

“Have you ever lied?”

“Have you ever killed someone or thought about it?”

“What about the Westboro Baptist Church?

“What about Steven Anderson in Arizona?”

“If you’ve sinned, then who are you to call homosexuality a sin or oppose same-sex marriage?”

And on and on. This sort of thing speaks to an idea that Christians are members of some sort of club which no one can join unless they become “sinless.” It also betrays the fact that few really read the source material, including alleged pastors.

Here on earth, Christianity is a journey–a walk in faith–to the Destination; it is not the Destination itself. We pick the Destination–Heaven–when we accept Jesus the Christ as our Lord and our Savior. (Many Christians ignore that first part.)

Paul called the purpose of that walk a “perfecting of the saints.” “Perfecting” is, perhaps, an unfortunate translation of the Greek word used. In my opinion, he means that saints (all Christians) are to be shaped and molded in the manner that a potter shapes and molds clay toward an end vessel, one that is of the potter’s desire. And, as we choose to be saved, we also choose the journey—the shaping and the molding.

During each individual’s journey, the Potter shows that person his/her sins; some of which that person may not have previously thought of as wrong. Then, through reading the Word, prayer, fasting, giving—through obedience and trust of the Potter—that person can be purged of his/her sin(s). But, again, this is a journey.

The Potter will spin you, shape you, mold you and cut off things He can’t use. And, often, these actions will not feel so good at first. But, your mission as the clay—should you choose to accept it—is to remain on the wheel.

(Side Note: in one of the conversions, I asked this question as a thought experiment: why hasn’t God destroyed San Francisco? The assumption was that if God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for the celebration of homosexuality, then He should deal thusly with any other municipality for the same reason. Answer: since the finished work of Jesus the Christ, we live in the Dispensation—the Age—of Grace.)

One of the participants in the conversation suggested that if homosexuals did not struggle with the thoughts of homosexual acts, that he/she should not be labeled a homosexual. Conversely, this person said, that if a person still struggled with these thoughts, he/she wasn’t really saved.  I disagree, because, I used to struggle with wishing harm on those who have wronged me, but this wasn’t always so. I had to ask God to be free of those types of thoughts. And, I had to walk to that destination, that freedom (which, of course, does not mean that there aren’t other struggles with other sins in my life). And here’s another reason.

Therefore, I submit that, when discussing the sins of homosexual thoughts and acts, we Christians should cease labeling the individual who is trying to walk in the faith of Jesus the Christ, but who struggles to be free of these things–as ‘homosexuals.’

We should, instead, label them as all Christians are labeled: as sinners saved by Grace. And we should, of course, pray for them and ask them to pray for us. And we all should remember that His mercy endures forever.

(Thanks to Mike C.)

baldilocks

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!