Acceptance of another person is acceptance of the other as he is, without entailing any demands that he change in any empirical way. This boy is an addict, and while I would rejoice if he were freed from this affliction, that would not change or increase my acceptance of him as a person. And though I am not an addict, that makes me no better nor worse than he. I am not his judge. I am just his friend.William Stringfellow, A Private and Public Faith
Many years ago, I was in a pastor's office. The pastor was someone about whom I cared very much. While I was there, the pastor was distracted because a person had come to the church and asked for help to buy gas for the automobile, and to help pay a utility bill. The pastor was griping quite loudly that the person who had done this was driving a brand new Cadillac. I was also told that "of course" the church wouldn't help them.
I was so angry, I did something I rarely do. I yelled and I lectured.
At some point, the churches have to stop thinking that practicing "tough love" is some kind of virtue. At some point, the churches have to stop caring whether or not they're being "played" by people who are "using" them. At some point, the churches are going to have to decide that "being" the Body of Christ kind of means, you know, being the Body of Christ.
Who died on a cross.
After he was beaten, and spat upon, and mocked.
After he asked not to have to go through it all.
I'd guess he got played. He didn't call out, "Thank you, Father, for this opportunity to offer myself for the world," now did he. "Father, why have you forsaken me?" are the words recorded in one of the Gospels. I'd call that getting played. I'd say that's the very essence of getting rolled. In fact, Jesus is the ultimate doormat.
And we, the churches, are called to be the Body of the doormat.
So suck it up. Stop bitching about people who might steal from you, lie to you, use you, laugh at you behind your back. Remove your cranium from your rectum, smile, and do the one and only thing that matters: love the world, without end, without condition, without price, without caveat.
God does not ask us to change. God does not demand that we change. God doesn't care if we change. God just loves us. Jesus didn't wait for Peter to get it before happily turning himself in to the authorities, welcoming each blow of the whip and hammer blow upon the nails through his feet.
Either we are the Body of Christ or we're a club that meets a couple times a week, has voluntary dues, feels good about doing stuff for all those poor people, and argue about what it all means. See, if we're the Body of Christ, then we're losers and doormats. We're suckers, naive about the way the world "really is".
Sometimes, I wonder if we even hear ourselves talk about ourselves.