What Would Jesus Not Do?

I am a Christian. But I have very little tolerance for “Christians.” Granted, I’ve met some true and great Christians, but for the most part, people who call themselves “Christians” are more despicable, more cowardly, and more hypocritical than any Muslim or Athiest I’ve ever met.

As I learned in my high school youth group back in the 90s, the theme of the Bible is “The Redemption of Mankind.” Makes perfect sense, considering the foundation of Christian salvation is repentance for sins and God’s forgiveness. However, the Bible specifically states that, in order to get forgiveness from God, people must first forgive others:

Matthew 5:14-15

14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. (NLT)

Or how about this version:

14-15 “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.” (MSG)

Pretty straightforward verbiage from the mouth of Jesus Christ himself. There isn’t much room for interpretation or skewing of the meaning. Forgive others. Period.

So why are “Christians” so mean-spirited and cruel?

Here’s a good example. A guy with whom I spent time in prison is now living in Georgia. Daniel is a good guy who made bad choices and is doing his best to live a better life, just like me. I’ve known him for several years now, and he has more integrity than 99% of the “Christians” with whom I regularly interact. And yet, “Christians” are the ones who hate him. With his permission, I am posting a letter written to him by an anonymous (and cowardly) neighbor:

HaterLetterPart1HaterLetterPart2

Amazing. Is this the way “Christians” accept one another? Is this what Jesus was talking about? Because apparently, this woman was refusing to forgive Daniel for something he did years ago, which had nothing to do with her. I mean, put aside the hatred and ignorance of this letter, and focus simply on the P.S. — “hope you find Jesus & get help.” Seriously? I know Daniel personally, and although he has made some bad choices in his past, I have met few stronger Christians than him.

Daniel has written a book about his experience in prison, and he included this letter at the end, which I feel was a very brave and bold act on his part because it illustrates the hate, paranoia, and fear which sex offenders face on a regular basis.

DID YOU KNOW:

  • According to the United States Bureau of Justice Statistics, 95% of sex crimes are committed by someone who is not a registered sex offender.
  • According to the United States Bureau of Justice Statistics, 95% of registered sex offenders never commit another sex crime again, ever.
  • On the television show “To Catch a Predator,” authorities involved in the filming arrested a total of 229 people who sought to meet an underage person online. Of those 229, only four were registered sex offenders.
  • The recidivism rate of sex crimes ranges from 3.5% to 4.3%. Registered sex offenders have the lowest recidivism rates when compared to assault, DUI, robbery, theft, drug offenses, battery, and domestic violence. Those crimes have recidivism rates ranging anywhere between 40% and 70%. The only crime with a lower recidivism rate is murder.
  • Less than half of sex crimes in the United States are against someone under the age of twelve.

Be careful, “Christians.” Don’t let these pesky facts get in the way of your Jesus-driven fear and judgment. Because in all honesty, it seems that living next to a convicted sex offender is a relatively safe place to live. Sex offenders don’t want to go back to prison, unlike many of the people Daniel and I encountered, who were in-and-out of prison with alarming frequency. With very very few exceptions, sex offenders do not re-offend.

Honestly, “Christians” like Daniel’s neighbor are the reason there are so many Atheists. I have not had the kind of experience with my neighbors that Daniel and his family had to endure. Honestly, I don’t even know if my neighbors are aware of my status because every neighbor with whom I have interacted has been very kind and friendly. However, my hope would be, if any of my neighbors were bothered by my status or my past, that they would have the integrity to knock on my door and ask me about it.

In fact, TO MY NEIGHBORS: Please feel free to ask me anything about my past, about my present, and about my future. I guarantee that a five-minute conversation with me will prove that I am absolutely no risk to anyone. Granted, I doubt any of my neighbors have ever visited my website, but on the off-chance that they have (or will), let it be known that I welcome an open and honest dialogue about me, my family, my crime, and anything else they may want to know.

I suppose it’s just upsetting to me that Daniel’s neighbor decided to bring Jesus into her hate mail. Daniel has found Jesus, and is a very devout Christian, regardless of his past.

Here, let me remind “Christians” about the sins of just a few of their most beloved Biblical characters:

  • DAVID: Murderer, Adulterer, Liar, Deceiver.
  • PAUL (Formerly “Saul”): Murderer, Persecutor, Liar
  • PETER: Liar, Denier of Jesus, Violent Assault
  • RAHAB: Adulterer, Prostitute
  • MARY MAGDALENE: Adulterer, Prostitute
  • NOAH: Drunk
  • ABRAHAM: Adulterer
  • SAMSON: Committed Suicide
  • SOLOMON: Adulterer (1,000+ times)

And, none of that even addresses the issue of men in the Bible with multiple wives, or who married girls as young as 12. And yet, an entire faith structure is based partly on these men and women, but “Christians” seem to ignore their sins or consider them anecdotal. So why is that Daniel and I are held to a higher standard than the people in the Bible? Why do “Christians” insist on casting their own judgments upon us based on a bygone past? Anyone who actually knows me knows I’m no threat to anyone, just like Daniel is no threat to anyone either. But since our pictures are on a website, all of a sudden, we are incurable, sick, evil, predatory people? Yeah, right. Here’s a statistical fact: While you were watching the five registered sex offenders in your neighborhood with fear and diligence, 95 people who are not on the sex offender registry committed a sexually motivated crime behind your back.

My past is gone. Daniel’s past is gone. There are numerous sex offenders who live in our nice suburban neighborhood, and none of them have caused any problems. During his ministry, Jesus specifically sought out people who society hated. Read the New Testament. And yet, if Jesus lived in contemporary America, he would be cursed as a liberal apologist for not hating people whom society has deemed to be undesirable.

Remember the “What Would Jesus Do?” trend from the 90s? Remember the bracelets and t-shirts? Well, allow me to answer a slightly different question:

What would Jesus not do?
He certainly would not be a “Christian.”

 


 

Please check out Daniel’s book, Doing the Minimum: A Prison Memoir

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