Are you getting a little tired of people pulling out scripture to entrap you, tell you how wrong you are, and tell you to change? I am! I’m tired of people doing it to me, and I’m tired of them doing it to you.
Jesus is tired of it too, and I’ll tell you why.
- Only two parties used scripture as “correction”: the religious leaders and satan. Did you catch that? Only religious leaders and satan used scripture to correct others. I’m not sure why we haven’t paid much more attention to this, because that is earth-shattering. Sounds like using scripture to correct others is a misuse of scripture.
- To use scripture as “correction” is to use it as a weapon. Or, entrapment. Satan tried to trick Jesus to depend on himself instead of on God. Religious leaders tried to entrap Jesus into excluding or correcting people, or taking sides in their factions. Sounds again like a misuse of scripture; Jesus didn’t fall for it, and with Jesus’ empowerment, we need not fall for it either.
- Jesus never used scripture this way. That is a stunning realization! Jesus never threw scripture at people to tell them how wrong they were and/or to get them to change their ways. Anyone whose heart is in the right place should find that sufficient reason to cease and desist… IF their heart is in the right place. Current religious leaders who use scripture — from the pulpit, airwaves or internet — to denigrate LGBTQ people, pregnant teens, divorcees, are doing it wrong.
- Jesus answered back with scripture only those who used it as a weapon. He did not use it to correct broken, wounded, hurt, stumbling, seeking, gentle, willing souls. (Even those in clear sin.) He offered a relationship with himself. He offered life. All the difference in the world.
- You don’t have to be hurt by scripture, any more than Jesus was. You don’t have to be afraid of what someone will dig out of there to entrap you — because they are doing it wrong. They have no permission to use scripture as a weapon, and clear instruction not to. You can rest and trust in a God who loves the world so much that whosoever believes in him will have life!
- Religious leaders did not take kindly to Jesus when he corrected their misuse of scripture and of their authority. In the end, they killed him. Please don’t feel obligated to answer back scripture verses! Good chance those using them against you do not want to listen to your answers, and it will leave YOU extremely frustrated, angry and sad. Unless God specifically leads you, it is better to back out of a scriptural debate, and instead, offer parents/pastors/others resources that answer more fully and cleanly than you may be able to. This saves you from unnecessary turmoil, and it weeds out those who will really seek out more guidance from those who are just looking to entrap you.
- If you want to understand the “clobber passages” for your own sanity, there are great resources for it. But don’t worry about what you don’t yet understand; instead, trust the Holy Spirit to lead you in all truth.
- Rest in the verses that show you how much God loves you! How God will guide you! How you are the apple of God’s eye! God put those in the Bible multiple times for good reason, because we totally need to hear them, and we are totally told the opposite way too many times. The loving passages are a great place to park. 🙂
Paul tells Timothy scripture is useful to teach us what is true and wrong in our lives — but God uses it to prepare and equip his people (v. 17) — we are not to use against each other. In the end, the law (the rules) are to lead us to Christ. Once we’re there, we no longer need the rules. Shocking but true!
Go in peace, my friend. Love God and love others. And beware of flying scripture. 🙂
[To read more from Susan Cottrell, visit www.FreedHearts.org]
SUSAN COTTRELL is a national speaker, teacher, and counselor with years of Biblical study and discipleship experience. Her books include: Mom, I’m Gay – Loving Your LGBTQ Child Without Sacrificing Your Faith, as well as How Not to Lose Your Teen and The Marriage Renovation. Through her nonprofit organization – FreedHearts.org – Susan champions the LGBTQ community and families with her characteristic tender-heartedness, and she zealously challenges Christians who reject them with her wise insistence that “loving God and loving others” are the foundation of the rest of the scripture, just as Jesus said.
She is the Vice-President of PFLAG Austin, and her “Mom, I’m Gay” book has been endorsed by The Human Rights Campaign and others. Sharon Groves, PhD, HRC’s Religion & Faith Program Director says, “I often get asked by parents for resources that can address the struggles of raising LGBT sons and daughters without having to leave faith behind. Susan Cottrell’s book, Mom, I’m Gay, does just that. This is the kind of book that parents will love.”
She and her husband have been married more than 25 years and have five children – one of whom is in the LGBTQ community. She lives in Austin, Texas, and blogs at FreedHearts.org and here in IMPACT Magazine’s FreedHearts and Jesus Blog columns.