I’ll admit that this post is partially in response to a crazy thread I got dragged into yesterday on Facebook (which was then followed by a nasty private message that I couldn’t even respond to because the coward blocked me after he sent it), but I wanted to say it out loud, because enough is enough! (And I apologize now if it’s too preachy for a Friday morning.)
One thing that I can’t get behind that many that claim to follow Jesus do is telling fellow believers that they need to stop doing *that*. I get the intent – to help them mature into Christ-likeness. However, in doing so, all that really ends up happening is heaping guilt and shame onto them. I’m not sure who appointed you judge and jury on the lives of others, but it is not necessary for you to do what Jesus said was the work of the Holy Spirit.
You don’t know where these people have come from or what they’ve been through! What if someone had been addicted to drugs, but they’re clean now and you keep harping on them about smoking? How does that make them feel about themselves? They already know smoking is bad for their body, but now you are condemning them for not walking on the moon when they are concentrating on taking baby steps here on earth.
Jesus did talk about this behavior (self-righteousness, not smoking), and He was completely against it. That was one of His biggest problems with the Pharisees – hypocrisy. He even said you are not the sons of God, but of the Devil. This used to stump me until I put that together with Satan (literally “enemy”) is the accuser of the brethren (believers).
If that’s you, condemning the world of the sins you don’t commit, while the whole time hiding your private sin (trust me, it’s there – if nothing else it’s pride), YOU are the one that needs to repent (literally “change your mind”) and be a support to your brothers and sisters. We are called to be a family, to build each other up, to support and serve each other in love. It is not love to be a constant nagging reminder that someone else is not as perfect as you are.
I was reminded yesterday by one such “accuser” that Jesus said, “Go and sin no more.” Yes, that’s true. However, He didn’t throw a stone first or threaten to throw one if she did. Please trust that Jesus will be the one to tell me when it is time to move on from this or that. I’ve read the bible a little bit and I’ve never seen Jesus commission His disciples to purge the world of sin.
It’s one thing if someone is a member of your church, or a close friend that you know is hurting themselves or someone that loves them, to go to them privately and discuss it one-on-one, but to tell everyone on Facebook that they are headed for Hell because they said a bad word or had a beer… Dude! For real?
Ridding our lives of sin is an on-going walk. It takes work. Paul even said that we are to “work out our salvation” – meaning that salvation is already in you, but you need to do the work of bringing it to the surface. God gives strength to those that sincerely desire to do this. I’m sorry if this is too real for the morality militia out there, but it is scriptural.
Yes, you may interpret scripture to say that we shouldn’t do this or that… It might even be there, but it doesn’t say that we are to police the words and actions of our brothers and sisters.
Grace never gives up; Love never ends. Go and do likewise.