I struggled with writing this post because this is hard to write about without coming across offensive. But, my heart is heavy with the way we as Christian’s treat people outside of the safe circle of our religion. The ones that we don’t see as fitting the standards of holy and righteous. The people whose faith develops differently or isn’t as far down the “holy road” as our own. We are so scared of the downfall of sin that we become soldiers against sin instead of being products of grace.
So many people focus on what’s a sin and what’s not that the gospel becomes drowned out in the chaos of the debates. Christians are given a reputation of being judgmental and hypocritical. In all honesty, if you take a step back and look from the outside, the opinions of us are spot on. We shout the sins from a rooftop so of course we look like hypocrites. We are sinners and are just as flawed as the rest of God’s people. So for us to run around pointing out flaws creates a separation between us and them. This growing separation is what makes more and more people turn their backs to the church.
We seem to believe that it is our purpose to declare the sins and show our intolerance of them. We pick sides and celebrate our brave stance of standing up against the worldly desires. We create unnecessary condemnation of sinners because we don’t want to support the sin. If the gospel is our foundation then sin is defeated. Sin has been paid for with the blood of our Savior. The only defeat of the badness and pain on Earth is Jesus and He has already claimed victory.
The accountability of others is something that takes place within a relationship. You are not qualified to understand the needs of your brother if you do not truly know them. When you are standing from the sidelines you are only making assumptions. We need more quality, real time spent with people before we can ever begin to help them. Not a self-righteous, do gooder type invested but a genuine heart for people. Opportunities for healthy conversations about struggles in life will become available in a respectful manner. The majority already know the do’s and dont’s of the Christian faith so there isn’t a need to constantly tell them. It’s not acceptance of the sin, it’s acknowledging a bigger power than our own. God doesn’t need us, we need Him. God will not condemn you for showing love to someone living in sin. After all, if we are to live like Him, then showing love to someone no matter their circumstances is the true calling of Christianity.
The sins exists and always will. When you omit one from your life you discover another. It’s a never ending cycle because it is our nature to sin. Instead of debating what is a sin or not start creating a focus on the love and grace of Jesus so that one will find hope. With Jesus and the hope he brings, hearts are softened and a relationship with Christ forms. The Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts is the only form of battle against sin that is successful. If you truly love your neighbor then get off the finger pointing sin wagon and allow God’s grace to work in God’s timing. You can debate theology all day long but the ultimate change comes from Christ and Him alone. You are actually hindering His work by bringing attention to issues that don’t matter and cannot be resolved through human interpretation. Even if you are right, it’s faith, you can’t prove it. Your tone, actions, and treatment of others is all that is visible of Christ to unbelievers. So make it worthy and glorifying to God. Let compassion, understanding, grace and love be the forefront of your relationships with everyone. Even those who are sinning according to your personal standards. Jesus never attacked those that needed Him most, He actually attacked the ones doing the finger pointing.
The more we force unrealistic, radical change on people the more defeated they become. Change is a process. Faith is forever growing. For us to expect people to turn away from sin because we say so is cray-cray. No one just wakes up different. People are starting to change in a way that excludes religion due to the impossible standards being set by us. Let’s try showing more grace and see people realize they too are worthy of God’s love.
God sees you as righteous through your faith in Him, not your omission of sin. Find strength in that faith to defeat whatever battle you are facing. Ignore the finger pointers, they have there own battle to deal with.
**side note: If someone’s sin is causing harm or negatively effecting your life you should separate yourself from the repercussions of the situation. There is no need to just sit back and allow someone to be rude, abuse, or destroy your own. But also no need to stick around to constantly remind them either. Just do what you see is necessary and then step back. Not all people are meant to (mesh well) live in community together.**