For Which of These Do You Stone Me?
True to Lecrae’s swag, the Houston-born CHH artist calls out the religious elite for being indecisive on whether or not they truly support him.
In an epic Twitter thread, Lecrae says “When I first started, evangelicals loved me. I championed their pastors and authors. When I started reaching the hip hop community they said I was worldly. Meanwhile the biggest names in rap were doing bible studies with me.
I guess Evangelicals forgot to keep hating me.”
Big ups to Lecrae for putting it out there. I see in this new year we are blessed with team #notholdingback or mincing words. But it doesn’t end there.
The “Zombie” rapper goes on to detail that the “evangelicals” sometimes loved him, but sometimes had negative things to say about him when he spoke out about social injustice and again when he acquired certain levels of success.
So, here’s the thing…
How many of us know exactly the kinds of “Christian” Lecrae is referencing in his posts? You know the ones? They love you and let you know how much Jesus loves you too when you are singing in the choir, making donations, or catching the Holy Ghost. (Sidenote: The Spirit is not some virus that we catch, nor some entity that is running away from us that we have to chase down. But I digress)
But the moment you remind them you are a real person; in their eyes you have backslid or something much worse. It’s almost like they somehow forgot that they are a human just like you. Somewhere down the line, the super-religious trade their praise for prejudice and their grace for gumption.
Slowly, but surely, they focus less and less on what God has done in their hearts/lives and start focusing on what it looks like God isn’t doing in yours. Then, all the freedom that came with Jesus suddenly gets tamed again to fit into the box(es) of what a “good Christian” is supposed to say or do or think.
The expectations of man become the standard upon which we are all supposed to live by. For Lecrae, it was the expectation that he be a good boy and recruit for the kingdom with his music. But don’t he dare have an opinion or speak his mind about real life issues. Don’t he dare become profitable because blessings, a.k.a. money, are reserved for the worldly.
Popular bible study teacher Beth Moore faced a similar public hatred when she spoke out about Trumpism. Her point was that believers should remember that their trust is in Christ, not the leader of a country or a political party. She was ridiculed and cursed by the same people who couldn’t wait for her next video or bible study to release just months prior.
And let’s not forget about how Jesus himself was treated. The Messiah was labeled as demon-possessed, satanic, crazy, and everything but a child of God by the religious elite of his time when he roamed the earth.
In John 10, Jesus has a very interesting encounter with the Pharisees. They are, once again, questioning him and judging him for the things he has done. They ask him to tell them who he really is, and he responds, “I did tell you, but you do not believe.”
He goes on to say that the people who turn their back on him, judge him, and doubt he is who he says he is are the ones who don’t belong to him. Considering who Jesus is, those are fighting words. He is basically saying that those people who claim to love God and are devoted to God are actually fooling themselves because if they were, they wouldn’t be so judgmental or doubt who Jesus is.
“The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep,” said Jesus. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
Think about this for a second: God became flesh, dwelt among us, and lived life fully human and fully God just for us, and people still doubted who he was and criticized him. I used the term “people”, but the truth is it was the pre-crucifixion believers that were doing the criticizing. The Pharisees and Sadducees and religious scholars. In today’s world, it would be Christians and evangelicals and ministry leaders.
Can you believe the religious elite attempted to stone Jesus himself when he said this? Literally, picked up stones to kill the Savior. I told you they were fighting words. Apparently, the church leaders in the bible were savage. But Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
Think about this for a second: God became flesh, dwelt among us, and lived life fully human and fully God just for us, and people still doubted who he was and criticized him. I used the term “people”, but the truth is it was the pre-crucifixion believers that were doing the criticizing. The Pharisees and Sadducees and religious scholars. In today’s world, it would be Christians and evangelicals, and ministry leaders.
So, when I see or hear of someone doing God’s work of sharing the good news with others, keeping it real in the process, and getting hated on by the powers that be, I can’t help but think of the question Jesus posed to the authorities that day. I can’t help but think of how misguided and hypocritical those authorities are to not see the hand of God in those of us that choose to worship in spirit and in truth.
This judgmental spirit that overtakes the zealous is one of the reasons why so many people love God with all their hearts but refuse to step a foot inside a church building, feeling as though the place is filled with people who are faking it.
Maybe you are that recovering hypocrite. If so, I hope you take a moment to pause and question your motives the next time you are in a situation where you condemn another for not living up to your religious expectation.
If you are that outcast or person who fills judged by the church, I hope that you know you are not alone. There is a whole tribe of people just like you who love you unconditionally and seek the same genuine and authentic connection that you are seeking. And God is faithful to provide it.
Grace and peace to you.