I would like to have a peaceful, respectful conversation with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I would welcome any comments and insights, because I am listening for His voice and I would love to know what He is whispering to you.
I, as many of you, have seen fellow believers in Christ post things (particularly on social media) that sound hateful and do not reflect the heart of Christ effectively regarding people of other religions or regarding the recent ruling on homosexual marriage. Though I would agree some of the posts have been out of line and angry, it is clear to see that they are motivated out of fear for our country and the road that we seem to have chosen.
I have also heard (purportedly peaceful) comments from other faithful believers. Things like, “I am afraid of the Christians.” Or things like, “Would you welcome them to your table—the gays, the poor, another race…?” Basically, ”have you walked a mile in their shoes?” There is a call to empathy. Though these comments are judgmental in their attempt to convict fellow believers of the same sin of judgmentalism, they are motivated out of love for others.
I agree that we should be thoughtful, empathetic, loving, and kind. We should be willing to assess and deal with our own sin, the log in our own eye. There is no place for discrimination based on race or any other divisive issue, when it comes to loving. Likewise, I also agree that we must stand for Biblical truth in the way we live our lives, raise our families, and communicate the gospel of Christ.
On both sides of this coin, our brothers and sisters in Christ are posting statements that are either hateful or celebrating blatant sin—but the numbers are few. It isn’t most of us. Most Christians are still trying to gain our bearings, as well as, discern how best to navigate an extremely immoral culture.
I have spent the better part of 20 years working with young people and teens. The main issue facing the people I have had the privilege of serving is sex outside of marriage. Sex outside of marriage is a sin based on the Word of God as the standard. It is harmful to families, it is harmful to the young people acting on it and it is harmful to the children who are a product of it. Not only physically harmful, but is heartbreaking—to parents and teens. I can empathize completely with the way they feel, because I have quite literally walked in their shoes. The parents who are often times seeking our help are motivated out of complete love for their teen, not hate or judgment.
Not only would I theoretically invite them to sit at my table for dinner—I have done it, literally, hundreds of times over the past 20 years. I live life with them and have watched many, many of them marry and have beautiful families of their own. They absolutely knew all along the way that I loved them and was committed to them, but never for a moment did they think I was either standing on the fence regarding a sinful lifestyle of sex outside of marriage or that I somehow celebrated their blatant rebellion and disregard for the Word of the Lord. Though I do not address these young people with a hateful degrading barrage of scripture, I also don’t throw rose petals on their bed in celebration of their sin. Sin that will harm them, physically, emotionally, and spiritually—not based on my Christian judgment, but based on the Word of the Lord.
For our few fellow Christ followers who are bombarding social media using hate and anger to display your disgust for a nation that is moving further and further away from Biblical truth and lives surrendered to Christ, you are not more disgusted and concerned about it than those of us who aren’t using that manner of communication. For those few fellow believers who are celebrating blatant sinful lifestyles and claiming to do so out of love and beauty, you don’t love people more than those of us who aren’t marching in the street with you or posting celebratory comments on Facebook.
My prayer is that as believers we would stop turning on one another and start turning our focus back to Christ who should be the center of all of this any way. The Word is clear on the way to deal with issues that are contrary to Christ and are sinful. Stop apologizing for that and simply stand on His Word. He is comfortable with what He said and how He said it. We should be too. The Word is also clear that we are to love people and that their interaction with us as believers should move them closer to Christ and not push them further away from Him.
“Hate the sin, love the sinner” doesn’t cut it. “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your mind and with all of your strength.” (Mark 12:3) If we as believers will do that—love HIM first, then we will gain a love for His truth and His Word and stand on it, at the same time, loving all people as we love ourselves.
Spewing accusations at non-believers, and believers alike, does not make us righteous, it makes us mean.
Celebrating sinful lifestyles does not make us loving, it makes us irrelevant.
Loving the Lord with all that we are and loving our neighbors as ourselves makes us the Body of Christ and capable of changing the world for His Glory.