Posted By Nan
The third instance of hatred and harm to the vulnerable was seen in a large number of people who have spoken to me about losing their family, support networks and friends because the decided they couldn’t follow the unreasonable and onerous legalism of the fundamentalist churches they had been raised in. Additionally, these vulnerable people were also told they wouldn’t go to heaven because they left the church. They didn’t stop believing in God and wanting to follow Jesus, they just couldn’t cope with the legalistic minefield of extreme church doctrine.
Vulnerable young people, who have been raised in such a cloistered environment they don’t actually know how to cope with the outside world, are just cast adrift with no support. Such a terrible thing to do. Such an unloving thing to do.
People attend churches with carefully curated music programs, a slick band with a high-quality sound system and a carefully constructed crescendo to mimic the anointing of the Spirit. 
People are never taught that the anointing of the Spirit can come at any time. They don’t actually know how to experience it because they are never taught to have a personal relationship with God. Instead they have to attend church at least once a week and get the pseudo buzz generated by the mass energy of a group of people enjoying the carefully constructed music. That buzz, that they believe is evidence of God moving amongst them, is what keeps them coming back week after week.
In the meantime there are harsh and unloving rules to live by. Rules that exclude others who are also loved by God. Rules that harm the vulnerable. These rules are keeping people from love. Love for God. Love for self. Love for others. Love for the vulnerable.
In all these instances I have seen people who claim to love God demonstrating anything but love.
I have seen these people show those stumbling in darkness a harsh and punitive God who judges but does not love.
But that is not God.
It is so frustrating to see people who won’t consider faith in God because they see the harsh, uncaring, judgemental fundamentalists as the face of God.
If you are not like that, please have the courage to speak out your faith. Show those stumbling in darkness God’s love. Be Jesus’ hands of love. Be Jesus’ words of love. Be Jesus’ acceptance and love of all. We all fail to be perfect. We all are sinners. That is why Jesus needed to die for us on the cross. 
Forget about what other people are doing. Show them God’s love and let God change them if He wants them to change. 
Here is a wonderful exercise I was taught to do. Below is 1 Corinthians 13 from The Message. Read it out as though you are talking about yourself. When you get to the lines about Love put your name instead of love. Read this out loud daily, mean it and never forget to love extravagantly.
1 Corinthians 13:
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be cancelled.
When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. (The Message)
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