In the 1989 film Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams’ character, a teacher named John Keating, told his students to daringly refer to him as “O Captain, My Captain.” It was a term of endearment (from a poem by Walt Whitman) acknowledging Mr. Keating as their fearless leader, and it was a moniker they quickly adapted; they truly saw him as an intellectual leader.
Well, call me David.
I’ve read the Bible cover-to-cover, and although I acknowledge Jesus as the paramount individual in scripture, I hold a significant amount of reference for David. The Bible features several phases of David: the boy who killed Goliath (1 Samuel 17), the soldier who “killed his ten-thousands” (1 Samuel 18), and the fearless king of Israel (2 Samuel 2); but the phase of David I appreciate most is David the liar, adulterer, and murderer (2 Samuel 11).
I don’t appreciate David for how he acted, I appreciate David for how he reacted, which is plainly seen in Psalm 51.
David is my favorite character from the Bible because I can deeply relate to they way he not only struggled with sin, but also with the way he was so deeply repentant. David is definitely my favorite character in the Bible.
Granted, that’s not to say that I like David more than Jesus — Jesus isn’t a mere Biblical character, He is in his own category.
It’s like this: Guns N’ Roses would certainly qualify as my favorite band. However, that’s not to say that I like Guns N’ Roses more than The Beatles — The Beatles are in their own category. Same concept with David and Jesus. Make sense?
Anyway, I relate to David on a deep emotional, not only because he sinned as I sinned (adultery, obviously), but also in the way he relented so deeply, as written in Psalm 51.
So, just to be clear, David, a “man after God’s own heart,” was a murderer and an adulterer — his sins were both sexual and violent.
Christians love him — Christians loathe me.
Was my sin worse than David’s? In the eyes of God (and according to Scripture): NO; In the eyes of men: YES.
For the record: I’ve never killed anyone, ever. Just thought I’d get that out there.
I suppose my point is this: Toxic Christians hate me because Toxic Christians hate Grace.
(NOTE: When I say “Toxic Christians,” I am referring to those who profess a belief in Jesus Christ, yet display few-to-none of his principals, such as forgiveness, repentance, charity, and grace.)
Essentially, Toxic Christians love the vengeance and judgement of the Old Testament, but disregard and ignore the loving liberalism of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Two of Jesus’ most loyal followers were Matthew and Mary Magdalen, a tax collector and a prostitute (or, as we would call them today, a scam artist and a whore).
And yet, for the Toxic Christians, my sins are unforgivable.
Toxic Christians are mad at grace. Toxic Christians hate grace; they hate it because the paramount manner in which they value their own lives is to demean and “look down upon” the lives of others, specifically those whom they view as less worthy than them. It bothers Toxic Christians that anyone can receive God’s grace, Christ’s forgiveness, and the Holy Spirit’s comfort — Anyone!
They hate that. They judge others based on the scripture they selectively choose to employ as their standards for living, but disregard their own sin as “less severe” based on their own skewed perspectives.
Toxic Christians are the reason Atheism is so popular. I wonder how many Atheists are Atheists, simply because they are put-off by Christians (specifically, Toxic Christians).
And who were the Toxic Christians of Jesus’ day? The Pharisees, of course — Caiaphas, not Nicodemus.
Toxic Christians seem to think they don’t need grace since they feel they live lives above reproach. Either that, or they view the specific sins with which they struggle as quirks of their personalities rather than sins of their hearts.
I wonder if David struggled with these people. The only person who ever called-out David about his adultery with Bathsheba was Nathan. And who was Nathan? He was God’s prophet.
Hmm. There must be millions of prophets out there, calling-out the world for their sins. The problem is, while people are so quick to judge and condemn the sins of others, they conceal and/or ignore the sins of themselves. A true Christian points no fingers at the sins of another person, because a true Christian knows he/she could never be the one to cast the first stone.
Be a true Christian. Love a sinner through his sin and be a voice of grace and encouragement — don’t be a Toxic Christian who hates a sinner because of his sin, shouting words of condemnation and insult. You may fill a pew seat on Sundays, but what kind of Christian are you? Does it really matter that you’re in church?
When you inevitably meet God and ask Him to forgive your sin, will He have a long list of the sins of others you refused to forgive?
For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
I’m not asking anyone to forgive me for what I’ve done.
But ask yourself: Should you?
Either way, call me David.