I have a lot of friends who don't follow Jesus. Most have been SUPER hurt by the church and its congregants and would rather have nothing to do with organized religion. I love all those people. They have amazing skill sets, powerful insight and gentle hearts.
But I also have friends who faithfully follow Jesus. I'm careful not to associate too quickly with anyone who claims Jesus, because way too often His name gets used as a cover for hate and oppression. But knowing Jesus and keeping pace with Him means deeply connecting with others who love Him just as much.
Here's what I can feel in connection with the real Jesus and His people—He is unifying. He brings together diverse gifts and perspectives. He opens doors between seemingly irreconcilable strangers. He builds impossible bridges and heals diseased wounds. The real Jesus makes a way for love when there is only reason to fear.
Unsplash photo cred: Johannes Plenio