Lady Gaga, a singer who was recently named the most powerful celebrity in the world by Forbes magazine, calls her followers/fans “little monsters.” Pastor Miles read out some of the lyrics to one of her songs, simply to show that her beliefs differ greatly from the teachings of the Bible. However, today’s message is not to criticize Lady Gaga or her little monsters, but to teach us what God says of our hearts when we do criticize them. As Christians, we are called to love people, regardless of their attitudes or behavior. Love is Jesus’ greatest commandment – to love God with all your heart, mind, and soul and to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:35-39).
As Christians, we are called to love people, regardless of their attitudes or behavior.
Let’s take a look at what Jesus has to say about judging others:
"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." Matthew 7:1-5
Jesus warns us that when we judge things to be wrong about other people, we will be judged in the same measure. Some of us talk about others without knowing all the facts or knowing or loving the person; it is wrong to judge others and justify our criticism with the Bible. Because of this, there are many people who oppose the faith; they feel judged and unloved. But this is not what our Savior wanted. Our job is not to condone people’s behavior or condemn it, but simply to love the person (John 13:35).
Here are three things that we can do to be more loving toward “little monsters” (people who believe that there is no absolute truth and that any actions are okay because God made us just as we are).
1. Acknowledge God’s image in all people. Genesis 1:26
Agree that God made everybody – even the person with whom you disagree. We are all made in His image. Think of the creativity he has given us (and Lady Gag is incredibly creative!) This is a direct reflection of the image of God, as no other creature on earth was made to create as humans were.
Yes, aspects of God’s image in us can be perverted and used for evil, but His image is present nonetheless, and He does love us, each and every one.
2. Build meaningful relationships. John 1:14
Imagine a type of person of whom you have been critical. Before you criticize that person again, get to know a person like that. Seek to understand before you seek to be understood. You will see that your love, behavior, and words will change. You will begin to realize that you did not know the whole story and that your judgment was based on limited knowledge. Maybe something terrible happened in that person’s life, and his actions are an outpouring of the pain he carries. You will begin to build compassion in your heart as you realize that everyone has a desire for purpose and a need for God.
Jesus instructs us to love our enemies (people who don’t like us, who hurt our feelings, who talk behind our backs). Remember that Christ loved us even when we were not walking with Him. He was so patient, so loving, and so encouraging, trying to gently woo us to repentance with His kindness.
Pastor Miles encouraged each of us to find somebody that’s different from us – just strike up a conversation and get to know that person.
3. Model servant leadership. Mark 10:45
Be willing to talk to a person and accept what s/he has to say. Be willing to serve him/her, right here, right now. Pray for people! Ask them if they know how much God loves them.
We will always have differences with other people, but we can still focus on what we all agree on—that God made all of us in His image, He does love us, and He will accept all of us just as we are (though this doesn’t mean we stay that way). In order to build relationships and work together, He calls us, His children, to represent His love.
So start investigating your heart: how can you be more loving toward people who don’t think like you or live as you believe we should live?