After Rosie O’Donnell announced that she was “coming out of the closet,” I watched with interest as Bill O’Reilly interviewed her on his TV program, The O’Reilly Factor, during a feature that he affectionately dubs “The No Spin Zone.” He asked if she felt threatened by religious leaders who spoke out against the gay movement. “No,” she replied, because she knew that Jesus taught love, kindness, compassion and understanding. When O’Reilly asked Rosie if she thought God would judge her for her lifestyle, she calmly said no, because after all she had endured while growing up, Jesus would smile on the fact that she could love at all.
As I listened I thought, Wow, Jesus is being spun big time right here in the “no spin zone”!
But spinning Jesus is big sport these days. Not only do people twist Him to fit their agendas, but movie producers and authors reduce Him to a mere mortal, spinning Him in affairs with a prostitute and a marriage to Mary Magdalene. Muslims, while denying His deity, claim Him as one of their prophets. Politicians evoke His name when it might get them a few votes. And religious liberals defrock Him of His divine credentials, His miracle-working power, and His role as righteous Judge. Which relegates Him to the role of history’s leading Mr. Nice Guy. And He is nice, but if that’s all you have, then you don’t have Jesus. At least not the One who walked our planet 2,000 years ago.
When spin doctors go to work on Jesus, left on the editing room floor are facts like His judgment of the living and the dead, and that He will say things like, “Depart from me, you who are cursed” (Matthew 25:41).
Rosie is a classic example. She’s on the money when it comes to Jesus preaching love and compassion. Matthew 5:44 says, “Love your enemies.” If you have one of those cool Bibles with the red ink that shows the words of Christ, you could skim through the New Testament and find over a dozen places where Jesus instructed us to love both friends and enemies.
But Jesus is also the ultimate spiritual referee, as noted in John 5:27, where the text tells us that God has given Christ the authority to judge. For Jesus to fit into Rosie’s mold, He would have to deny 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, which says, “Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral . . . nor homosexual offenders . . . will inherit the kingdom of God.” And it’s not just sexual sin, but it’s all the ways that we fall short of God’s holy standards that leave us in jeopardy before Jesus as Judge and King.
So, beware of any attempts to dish out Jesus as something less then He really is. Hebrews 13:8-9 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings.” A spin doctor’s clever quip about Jesus can’t change who He has always been and always will be. It would be a bad day to have lived as though there were no accountability for sin, only to find out too late that Jesus is the Judge!
But here’s the really good news. It’s also true that the Judge came to our planet to pay our penalty for sin and to become our Savior and friend (John 3:16-21). That’s something I’d like to tell Rosie—or anyone else for that matter!
- Why do people want to put their own spin on Jesus? Have you ever done this, even if it has only been in your own mind?
- This week, look for opportunities to keep Christ out of the “spin zone” by getting the truth out there. Post it on your blog; take out an ad in the newspaper; rent a billboard if you have to!
- Memorize Colossians 1:15-20. When you are uncertain about what the world says about Christ, measure it against God’s Word.
- Find a Bible that shows Jesus’ words in red letters. Take some time to read Jesus’ recorded words. In your journal, write down what His words reveal about the true Christ.