Forget about deciding what's right for each other. Here's what you need to be concerned about: that you don't get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is. 14 I'm convinced — Jesus convinced me! — that everything as it is in itself is holy. We, of course, by the way we treat it or talk about it, can contaminate it.
Romans 14:13 from the Message Bible
Why are so many Christians angry? Why is it that when we are given the opportunity to demonstrate the love of Jesus in public forums, we exchange the privilege with regretful injections of poisonous barbs?
On Youtube this past week, a video of a worship service where a small boy, probably 5-6 years old, was singing a song "Ain't no homo gonna make it into heaven". The interesting thing is not whether I can find Biblical support for homosexuality as a sin (Romans 1 for example) but why the focus of a worship service is not God, but the denouncing of others. According to scripture, "Ain't no sex-outside-of-marriage, greedy people, people who put themselves before God, liars, people who have stolen something, people who drink too much and dishonest business people gonna make it into heaven" (I Corinthians 6:9-11). The context of that scripture was not the condemnation of all of those groups of people, as we would all be condemned. That scripture speaks to the fact that the redeeming work of Jesus removes us from the life of being defined by our sins, and into the family of God. The scripture points graciously to the fact that we are all on such a list!
Its time that Christians appropriate the gospel for themselves afresh. Its by grace, the undeserved gift from God, that we have any privileges in the family of God; any forgiveness of our own offensiveness towards God; any presence of God's spirit within us. Jesus did not simply die for Christians, but died for the world. This loving act of dying for a broken world is not only Jesus' mission, but the Christian's mission as well (Christian means Christ-like, and how can we be Christ-like and not do what Christ did?).
The scripture that began this blog from Romans asks us to focus on getting our own relationships with God right and not to harm another's spiritual formation. Its interesting, because that the same charge that Jesus levels against the pharisees of his day (Luke 11:46).
This does not mean that Christians should be quiet regarding things described in scripture as immoral, or unhealthy, but that we speak in love. It is more important to point out to a person involved in questionable behaviors, the way to life as opposed to condemnation of death. That is not because we take sin lightly, but because we all have our own stories of how God took our own sin, idolatry, greed, immorality, and self-destructiveness and made it part of our victory and testimony. The overarching revelation of God is not conviction to condemnation, but conviction to liberation and completeness. This is more demonstrated than defended. It is something we show in our lives as a credible witness to the transforming power of the love of God through Jesus.
Evangelical Christians have been shown by many studies (of Evangelicals themselves) to divorce as much as the general population, to be involved in the spectrum of sexual immorality as much as the general population, and to be less generous in supporting charity than the general population. Yet, in all of this, we become preoccupied in vilifying others with the proverbial plank in our own eyes (Mt 7:3). All the while, proclaiming grace, but never extending any.
I want to encourage you to preach the gospel to yourself and to be a light and encouragement for the world as opposed to hypocritically standing in judgement. Allow the grace and love of God flow through you as God continues to redeem the world.
May God bless you,
Pastor M Traylor