Tired of Christians? or Just the Judgment?
News days like this last week have
caused me pause.
I tend to stay out of the political discussions because I don’t usually feel led to go there…
Today I do.
And today, I am simply loving the fact that Christ said this:
And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.”
…and I love it simply because He sounds completely exasperated. That one sentence lets me know that He fully understands, once again, everything.
Last week, our President decided he was actually in favor of same-sex marriage. North Carolina, on the other hand, decided marriage was only between a man and a woman. Covering a completely different topic, the cover of Time Magazine showed a boy who looked like he was about 4, maybe even 5, blatantly nursing, and the cover question was, “Are You Mom Enough?” (I later found out he was just 3 years old). Regardless of one’s thoughts about breast-feeding, the cover seemed very “in your face.” I haven’t read the Time article yet, but after reading the slew of arguing going back and forth between Democrats, Republicans, Christians, and non-Christians on the same-sex marriage issue, I just don’t even want to know any more about it. I don’t even want to know.
One ray of hope shone through in the way Lisa Belkin at “Huffington Post” responded: “No, I am not ‘mom enough’. I am not Mom enough to take the bait. To accept TIME’s deliberate provocation and either get mad at this woman for what I think I know about her from this photo, or to feel inferior, or superior, or defensive, or guilty — or anything at all, if it means I am comparing myself to other mothers. I am not Mom enough to think that the debate over how to feed our youngest children — an important and nuanced conversation about nutrition, and workplace policy, and government responsibility, and gender relationships — can be boiled down to a simplistic, unrepresentative, staged photograph.”
That was a breath of fresh air, but I’m still somewhat exhausted and exasperated with our culture.
And not for the reason you might think.
I’m tired of judgment being leveled every time I turn around, and most tired of it being leveled by Christians, in the name of Christianity.
I expect non-believers to not know the truth and behave
rudely to one another. It makes me sad when those of us who claim Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior pay little, if any, attention to how our communication deeply injures others – AND, as a result, turns people away from the church.
What I want is loving dialogue by people who truly “love the sinner” – and stop disowning members of their own families over choices they make, and spewing mean, judgmental words at each other. I watched a viral video on Youtube this week about a pastor, whose words were about as injurious as they could be. How he was perceived probably wasn’t how he meant to be, but unfortunately, he chose to rant and blame – on camera. And I understand fully what it is to say and do the wrong thing, but some of us make a habit of speaking about things when we are emotionally charged instead of having the rule of NOT speaking when emotional – and then we do tons of damage.
How does the love of Christ, who spoke gently, lovingly to sinners, escape us?
I wonder if it’s not pride. We’re too busy judging others.
I’m tired of Christians pointing fingers and accusing others of sin, meanwhile breaking all the rules in Matthew 18 about how to resolve conflict (go to the person who has sinned against you), gossiping, spreading dissention, and stirring up others, when they haven’t even been sinned against personally… I’m tired of people throwing around accusations and expecting others to be perfect, and when they aren’t, getting out their axes, like the witch hunts of days gone by.
I’m also tired of thin-skinned people who are too sensitive to other’s communications and take statements too personally, thinking everything is about them. The pop-psychology of “I feel bad, therefore, someone (other than me) is responsible,” (and insert, “must pay”) is too prevalent. We need to toughen up. How on earth can we connect with people who aren’t perfectly pretty and put together (like most people, yes most people) if we are appalled by ugliness? This life is messy. We need to be okay with trudging around in the slop of it. We aren’t any cleaner. Our hearts are just as much of a mess, but we buy the lies of the culture that we’re somehow better than others, when all we really have is blessed hope and an assurance that we should be sharing.
Sin is ugly, all the time. Whether it comes in a “pretty person package” or not, it’s still sin. My nasty cutting remark to my husband due to a lack of patience is as ugly as the drug addict’s last fix, or the thief’s last job, or the glutton’s last binge. I’m no better than anyone else (and neither are you) just because I walk through a church door on Sunday morning.
Where’s the torch?
I’m also tired of Christians who spend most of their time going around and “rebuking” one another, usually with judgmental and hurtful language. And before someone starts slinging mean words at me, too, yes, I have been taught and have read in the Bible that homosexuality is a sin. But I have also done a little research. I’ve learned a few things that have led me to the same conclusion with couples in marriage, the same problem that we face as a culture, the same starter and non-starter of dialogue that damages: judgment. Too many of these folks claim that homosexuals aren’t Christian at all. How can they judge this? Who am I to determine one sin is more heinous than another? Last time I checked, sin was sin in God’s eyes… and I would think the ultimate act of judgment comes from condemning someone to hell for a particular sin. There’s only one “unforgivable sin” and that is blaspheming the Holy Spirit – given that there’s a ton of debate on what that even is, I’d hesitate to level judgment about someone else’s salvation when they experience God in similar ways as we heterosexuals claim to… Unfortunately, this particular sin bothers some of us so much that we deem these folks as completely unworthy of any kind of contribution. We forget that God loves them just as much as He loves us, and that Christ’s blood purifies them before God just like It does for us and the little white lies, laziness, gluttony, etc. (the list is long)… Good is good, regardless of who demonstrates the goodness – our young adults can see this, and the blinding judgment they see within us “older” is sending them out the church doors in droves.
I realize I may have just turned a number of you off… suggesting that homosexuals actually could be worth learning something from… I’m probably not worth listening to, either, as I’m as big a sinner as they come, thankful for God’s saving grace, thankful for relationship with the Savior Himself, but imperfect as the next guy.
But meanwhile, what are the homosexual Christians doing? They’re choosing to disagree even with each other, but in a fully loving way. When is the last time you disagreed over something that was as important to you as your sexual identity in the profoundly kind way these folks are discussing different beliefs? If you are in the camp that negates their faith completely, you might want to read this guy’s thoughts. They’re articulate, compelling, and non-judgmental. Even if you don’t agree with the position, we have to fully respect the way in which they carry the conversation.
What if that hymn, “They will know we are Christians by our love,” is represented here? Or are we only supposed to behave lovingly towards certain types of people?
I don’t know about you, but the moment I think I know better than someone else and have the perfect answer for their life, particularly their salvation, well, that’s also sin: PRIDE.
One of my sons, the other day, made a rather profound statement – he said, “Christians could learn a lot about grace from the gay community – I’ve never seen anyone demonstrate so much grace and acceptance of others…well, other than Jesus.” Sometimes I get emails from concerned people who don’t even know me who follow him on Twitter or Facebook – they let me know about some “character” he’s “friends” with… Given that both of my boys want to reach the lost and actively choose to be in relationship with them, yes, they are going to have some “questionable characters” on their friends lists. One person even went so far as to suggest that I should be concerned about my reputation because of them and who they associate with.
Last time I checked, Christ hung out primarily with the disciples, yes, but also tons of sinners.
Church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.
Know the hypocrites. They are us.
And we wonder why we’re losing our youth from the faith? More on that here. They’re not buying the pious pride performance. They want something authentic and real. They know we’re all a bunch of sinners saved by grace. They’re tired of the parade of perfection.
And they’re tired of judgment.
Even Christ didn’t come to judge the world, but came rather that we might have life and have it abundantly.
The bottom line for me is simple. Whether we are in a marriage relationship, parenting, dealing with a friend, one of your children’s friends, or just the people in our culture, know this: We can’t do the job of the Holy Spirit. We need to stay out of His way. Love and pray for the people who are on the journey with us, but be careful about choosing confrontation. We need to put more energy into our own relationship with Christ, and know Him so well, that when someone asks us a question (because they are in relationship with us and trust us) we’ll know if the Holy Spirit wants to use us… and we need to remember He might not – but if He does, it’s likely He’s encouraging us to take our friend to the Word.
Dare you to not be judgmental today. Dare you to remember that is also a sin, and creates distance between people, and destroys any opportunity for witnessing. Double dog dare you actually check a few of the links above and choose to see people in a different way.
***Note added 5/22/12 – please see the comment below. Here’s the link of the original event, not sure how long it will be up as it was last weekend: http://deeperliving.info/
Thankful for the journey.
Love to you,
I’m not sure how and when society decided that if you are a Christian you must be perfect. Good grief people. We are ALL sinners. Just because we believe that Jesus is God’s son and died for our sins, does not mean we don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t sin!!! Wow. The human mind and it’s simpleness blows me away. Grow up.
After writing this, literally the SAME WEEK, I was invited to Erin Campbell’s Deeper Living conference, and this is from her web page. The testimony says everything I would have liked to have said in a much better way. It illustrates my point, which rather than debate homosexuality, was simply to suggest that we behave lovingly in our communication with all people…
“You’ve stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes.”
Song of Solomon 4:9
Living in this world of chaos, confusion, and corruption, we often lose our focus, making us vulnerable and afraid. We ALL do it… it is the human condition. When the future looks bleak, some cling to faith, others flee in fear, but most admit they have no idea what true intimacy IN Jesus Christ feels like. No matter where you are right now, whether by His side, or on the run, Christ beckons you to Him, without judgment or ridicule.
IN Christ, you are safe…
IN Christ, you are accepted…
IN Christ, you are given a fresh start and a NEW purpose.
Nothing is wasted, not even your past!
God is NOT put off by our raw humanity,
just our determined effort to hide it!
TRUE STORY: Kelly lived a lifestyle of homosexuality throughout her entire adult life. She met Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior, but sadly remained in her private bondage for years. She was saved, but not free. For nearly a decade, Kelly kept this secret carefully tucked within her soul as she walked through the church doors, for fear that if the church found out, they would reject her. She was completely unaware that she could be free from her pain, her sexual tendencies, AND the shame of her past. Then one day, EVERYTHING changed! Kelly came to ECM to share her sincere desire to be free. She learned that not only was she NOT rejected, she was RESPECTED for her honesty, authenticity, and sincerity! And through prayer, God instantly delivered her. Today, Kelly is completely free and happily married! Kelly will share her complete story of faith at this upcoming event.
If we are honest, we will admit that we all suffer pain from something, whether it’s an embarrassing habit, an addiction, eating disorder, anger, control issues, or even self-righteousness… no matter what the bondage… freedom is available for EVERYONE! The question is, do we WANT to be free?
The simple truth is, what we won’t give God will hold us back…
•Learn the 6 keys to spiritual success and discipline
•Understand the difference between “living FOR Christ” vs. ” living IN Christ”
•Discover how to break the bondage of old habits, embarrassing behaviors, and addictions.
We will never change the darkness that mocks us, taunts us, and tempts us, but IN Christ, we are given the humble confidence and power to succeed in the midst of it! “Let your light shine before all men!” – Matthew 5:16
Awesome, Nina. Is there a link or more info on the 6 keys? I’m guessing it has to do with building our relationship with Jesus by being in God’s Word and through prayer and praise/ worship. OK, I looked it up and see it’s part of the conference…. Thanks for allowing the Lord to shine through you, Nina!!
Thanks, Nina, for this post. I have always been a bit conflicted with the subject of judgment in the Bible since on one hand, we are told not to judge, lest we be judged – yet it’s impossible not to have an opinion about sin– so I’ve always seen it as “hate the sin, love the sinner.” However, your post prompted me to really research this topic and find an online concordance since there are more specific definitions for each reference of “judging” in the Bible. I also found a great link which shows many scriptures which seem to show how we ARE called to judge, but with righteous judgment John 7:24 (not with hypocritcial judgment where you don’t judge yourself first… referencing judge not lest you be judged, where it goes on to say to take the plank out of your own eye first before looking at the speck in someone else’s eye. Matt 7:4-5) Anyway, I thought you might be interested: http://www.biblebelievers.com/jmelton/Judging.html
I think your main intention with this post, however, was to point out how so many Christians seem to forget to do everything they do with LOVE. I agree how we need to make clear just as you did how we ALL have sinned and fallen short, and how we are only wanting to speak the truth in love. And as you say, let the Holy Spirit lead. I think many people get confrontational without having prayed about it first and without having that prompting by the Holy Spirit to help their brother or sister in Christ. Blessings to you, Nina!
I apologize in advance fror this being not well articulated 🙂 I have so enjoyed your thoughts on respecting husbands. It has helped me tremendously…and I agree with treating all unsaved people and our brothers and sisters in Christ with God’s love and not name calling. I think most spirit-filled Christians would agree. But not sure if sending all of your readers to a false teacher (specifically second link) who believes that homosexuality is not sin has relevance regardless of his polite tone. You stated he is resisting the temptation but he states he is only waiting for sex til he marries a man (regardless of whether the gov’t recognizes it). He does not seem repentant and only justifies his choices by twisting scripture. My experience with gays has not been as “full of grace” as your son’s experience. Several that are on my FB friends list openly mock Christians and put up extremely derogatory caricatures of Jesus Christ and often write out very perverted status updates. I am personally praying for their salvation and/or revival.They will never repent if they never hear the truth spoken in love, as directed by the Spirit. That’s why I tolerate some of that stuff–trying to be patient while God works on their heart. I know even when they get victory, they will always struggle with their feelings toward the same sex in the same ways I struggle with my own sinful weaknesses. Proverbs says, ‘by Mercy AND Truth iniquity is purged’. Christ gave truth and exercised mercy. We should too. Some Christians are all truth and no mercy, others are all mercy and no truth. Before we share the truth with them, we are supposed to examine our own selves and repent where God shows us we’ve done wrong (removing the beam from our own eye). I’m also thankful for 1 Cor 6:11 that proves many in the church in Paul’s day were ex-gays among other things but now they are “washed”. They would be in no need of washing if it wasn’t a sin. Thankful that I can witness and offer people hope through Christ’s blood. But that’s not what these people in your link seem to be doing. They seem to say they have no need of “washing”. Maybe, if you do believe that homosexuality is a sin, a better website to send people to is http://www.parentsandfriends.20m.com/testimony/testimony.htm and check out some of those who are compassionately helping homosexuals to be free. Only the Truth (Jesus Christ) sets free! Thanks for the opportunity to respond.
Thank YOU for the way in which you responded – I LOVE the website you gave us! 🙂 Although, obviously, some here might disagree that his ministry should exist… at any rate, if I understand you correctly, you may be suggesting that I shouldn’t intentionally expose folks to opposing viewpoints, and the one I shared just may not the best example. I can totally respect that. I typically don’t delve into this area for good reason – it’s too volitile, and has little to do with marriage, sort of. In looking back at the dialogue over the last days, I don’t think I did a good job of explaining that the “Side B” folks believe that they are to abstain from any physical activity at all, as it is sinful, and I’m thinking I should have been more clear that the “Side B” was explained via the link on that page. If someone didn’t take the time to look at the link, they probably think at the very least that I’m supporting something I’m not. So thank you for helping me see how my communication could be a bit confusing! 🙂 I also appreciate the way in which you dialogue – if everyone could just ask a question, or make a gentle statement, it would facilitate discussion that clarifies, instead of further divides people. 🙂 Thank you so much for taking the time to respond and comment, bringing a nice closure to this discussion. 🙂 And you are right, I DO believe homosexuality is a sin, and I was wanting to talk about something without creating an environment where people would argue it, rather instead point out that the dialogue between the disagreeing sides (the one you refered to above and the “Side B” guy) could actually be part of the same organization.
I am not special in that I have no clarity on how God will truly judge any of us and so with that, whether I agree or disagree on any of your points is mute. I am however, as a Christian, humbled by many of these points and I hope many others will be inspired to thought about their own walk. It is brave to profess with such honesty and I believe bravery is a gift given by God so kudos for this writing. To bring so many out to respond proves you are stirring the inner hearts of many. I believe to LOVE your neighbor as yourself is the main point of the walk of Jesus. If I am to be like Him I must always being looking back at myself and checking myself rather than spending so much time judging or deciding the fate of others. I ultimately believe I must spend my time in this temporary home forgiving loving admitting my own sins and repenting. I believe God handles everything else. God inspires writers and the gifts of all of us as His servants. Surely God had inspired you. ~ Blessings Always
Thank you for your kind response, Kathy. Sometimes I wish everything was perfectly black and white, but it isn’t. I find it hard to level judgment for one abomination and not others, well, actually at all, being as Christ didn’t come to judge the world, so how could I do that, when it is God’s to do? Speaking Truth, IMHO is another separate topic, and also to be done, but some can’t separate them, I guess. And if we look at Proverbs 6:16-19, I know I’ve been proud, I know I’ve lied. And I know God destests it. I think you totally get the heart of what I attempted to communicate. And I’ve had a few learnings during the last few days. 🙂 Blessings to you, and thank you for your gentle and kind response. For what it is worth, I concur with your main point. One of the neatest things about open and respectful dialogue is that points like yours can be made – I’m glad you said it. 🙂 Sometimes, when I blog, I end up seeing that I was simply there to begin a conversation, one that He wishes to direct via the participants. I love that. 🙂
I seen an error in my typing…it was meant to say up-lifting instead of un-lifting….One more comment about your sons thoughts…If he said what you have said he said and it was said under your teachings (home schooling) them he needs put into a public school…you are warping his mind with YOUR PC. Poor child !
Nina…You are sooooooo PC…You jumped right over what I asked you to close your eyes and picture in you mind. Way to go…say the right things…don’t answer any question that would take you from your PC thinking! You are not trying to get christians to be better christians …you are trying to be PC and change christians thinking toward homosexuality. It is so PC to make them less strange…I am going to us a word that is not meant in any means, as a street form of the word…but the word queer comes to mind…meaning un-usually strange…Your PC thinking wants to take the queer out of them and your PC wants to make them just every day, run of the mill…sinners ! I’ll ask you again…can you see Jesus sitting , talking to 5000 strange, queer acting …queer dressing and queer thinking people.? Men who have had breast implants put in…or surgery to remove parts of their bodies that they were born with…men acting …sitting like, talking like women… Men who have turned from the natural attraction for women to the un-natural lust for men. Cross dressers in full drag….men sitting as a married couple and women sitting the same. Women dressing like and acting like men ? Sitting with Jesus as in a picture of the sermon on the mount. Can you see Christ breaking bread with them and dividing the fishes….I’m not being very PC, am I ? I’ll say it again…shame on you for your thinking…You are not only degrading Christianity …you are degrading JESUS ! And you are un-lifting the homosexuals! The issue about homosexuality is a very black and white issue…Either you are on one side or the other. Which side are you on ? There are new homosexual churches being formed all over the globe , would you want one next door to your home? Do not bypass my questions, please answer them.
James, I apologize for not responding to your visualization suggestion – I honestly thought it was rhetorical. I don’t know if you read my other interactions with other responders, but I think it’s pretty clear from those (and the other posts on this blog) that I DO view homosexuality as a sin, men should be men, and women should be women.
The only point I was trying to make was that we should be able to engage in dialogue in a way that is not mean-spirited or hateful, as that judgment is what causes us issues in marriage. I would like Christians to be able to engage in the culture in a way that draws people to Christianity, to Christ within us, versus turning people away from it. If we cannot engage in difficult conversations (or even what should be easy ones) this way, He isn’t clearly at work in our lives, and we look just like the culture…
Emotionally heated debate generally turns people away from other ideas, instead of drawing them to them. Research shows that we lose credibility as communicators when we are emotionally charged in interactions. Just to clarify, I’m not suggesting we embrace the homosexual culture, nor promote their agenda. I’m just suggesting we are not nasty and mean to them. That they are precious to God, because He created them also. For what it is worth, there are many Christian leaders who also espouse what I suggested.
I don’t recall Jesus calling people names or hurling insults at them, unless they are Pharisees or merchandizing in the Temple, but perhaps you see me as pharisitical and politically correct because I profess to teach others from the Word. I would have enjoyed a respectful dialogue with you, sir, and think we could have accomplished much for clarity’s sake. And perhaps we can just agree to disagree about whether or not we should be kind to homosexuals.
At any rate, I’m glad you are on the journey. I don’t know everything, very little, in fact. I’d suggest that you not follow my blog, although I probably will not take on this topic again for a while.
I can absolutely envision Jesus speaking to a crowd such as you described, James. Not only speaking to them, but showing them love and respect, AND telling them to go and sin no more. He would never, ever be hateful, belittling, or condescending. He only EVER spoke the truth IN LOVE. Hatred is a black hole, a vacuum. Love is a light that obliterates that blackness. James, you don’t have to like everyone, but as a Christian, you are absolutely *obligated* to show them love — God’s love, the same love that paid your way out of hell. Keep in mind, love is an action, not an emotion.
By the way, you are laboring under some very stilted, outdated stereotypes of the gay community. I hope you aren’t under the impression, for example, that ALL gay men dress as women or act overtly effeminate. (Cross-dressing men are often not even gay!) They are not even all promiscuous; many are in long-term, monogamous relationships. I’m not saying I consider such to be the same as traditional marriage as God designed it, I’m only saying that, on an average day, you probably interact with at least one gay person and never even know it. They are not all the caricatures you described in your suggested vision. You would benefit from opening your eyes a bit wider and closing your mouth more often.
And I say that in Christian love. 🙂
I find the “love the sinners” statement as offensive as all the other ones that you were critical of.
Being a sinner myself, I find the “love the sinners” rather refreshing. I have not committed homosexuality, but I have loads of other sins God has graciously forgiven.
Rebecca, you’re offended by the suggestion that we “love the sinners”? Why? I have heard my whole Christian life to “hate the sin, love the sinner.” Jesus loves us sinners — ALL sinners, and God is no respector of persons. In other words, He plays no favorites. So if God doesn’t qualify our sins, and if Jesus Christ loves sinners, AND if being a Christian means to imitate Christ (and I think it does), then it seems pretty logical that we should imitate His love of sinners. I mean, why NOT love sinners? Do you think hating them or ignoring them will ever win them to salvation? I’m thinking, um, no. But if I somehow misunderstood your post, I apologize. Perhaps you could clarify.
I am so sorry…that was sicking to me…Nina in your article about being tired, I to am so very tired also. I am not going to go into a long rebuttal with you…It would not change you mind…not one little bit…I just ask one tiny favor …Close you eyes and picture JESUS sitting on a grassy knoll and 5000 people where there in front of HIM…listening to him…Have you saw a picture like that, maybe hanging in a church somewhere? Now while your eyes are closed…Picture JESUS today, doing the same thing with a camera pulling in for a tight shot on HIS face…then the camera pans out toward the crowd…there in front of JESUS is 5000 strong…homosexuals, transvestites, cross dressers and two men paired up …all over the grassy meadow and women also hugged up and/or holding hands… Men wearing dresses…lipstick and rouge…wigs and fake breast…or having been fixed up with implants and hormones…I can’t see JESUS doing that…I just can’t…You might be able to…in fact, I’m sure you can see HIM doing that. I’m sick of people like you saying things like you said your son said…If my son had said that, he would have been jerked out of the school and crowd that he was running with…I’d have home schooled him and put him in a christian school… You are proud of him…I would not have been…I’m tired of people like you …you have already stated that you are tired of people who are like me. Homosexuality is an abomination to GOD…you water what they do down to an acceptable level and put them as being better than “some” christians…Shame on you…Shame on YOU!
James, welcome. I’m sorry I’ve struck a chord – the bottom line of my blog wasn’t meant to debate sin, but rather to encourage us Christians to behave a little better than we have of late in the judgment department, as it’s the thing that causes strife in marriages – slinging hateful and meanspirited words at others – maybe you have personally witnessed many come to personal relationship with Christ through that method, but I haven’t ever seen it, not even once. Most come through attraction of His grace, a gentle and quiet spirit, rather than accusation of sin. Truth must be shared, especially when asked, and always when led by the Holy Spirit, but if that’s the starting point in a dialogue with no relationship, well that usually ends in conflict and missed opportunity, at least it has that I’ve seen. But maybe your experience is different? I’m interested if it is.
I did some research in Bible.org’s net Bible and while you might know this already, I was surprised to find there were actually a number of sins that are referred to as abominations, things that the Lord detests. Just fyi, I do homeschool, and my son goes to a very conservative college prep Christian tutoring program, and while the blog post is not about him, my husband and I want our kids to know what they believe, as well as know what other thoughts are out there, but be so fully grounded in what they believe and why they believe it, that they can engage in the culture, and not be influenced by it, nor wander from their faith. Homosexuality doesn’t frighten us, neither does pornography – which is also an adultery, if one looks at the Word. I read a statistic not too long ago that had staggering information about how many of faith struggle in this area.
Just to clarify, I didn’t mean to imply that anyone is any better than anyone else, either. I can see how you could easily take that from my post. Thank you for the opportunity to clarify that. You are right, and Paul was pretty clear when he said that there was no one righteous, not even one. I know that includes me, the homosexuals, and Christians, even in the abomination/detestable sins department, as of the seven, there’s a few I can check off… (at least the 7 in Proverbs 6:16-19 🙂 ) But for the blood of Jesus Christ… I’m just so thankful.
Blessings to you, and interested in the dialogue… 🙂
I can see Jesus with a crowd of homosexuals… Just as he was with the adulterous woman, the tax collector, and the rest of the SINNERS. Just like me and you. He would not ignore them or be rude or hateful to them. He would LOVE them, just as He has loved the rest of us. Even while dying on the cross for ALL of our sins, He still loved us! I don’t see Jesus turning away from any sinners because their unrepented sin is “worse” than my sin. I am a woman who was in an adulterous relationship for over a year. THANK YOU JESUS for not leaving me while I was in my sin and thank you Jesus for forgiving me when I repented from my sin.
Nina, I felt prodded to respond when I know your heart was in the right place. I understand what you are saying. Judgement is so ugly and is very unlikely to turn people from their sin but more likely to push them further into their sin. I know. I have been on the receiving end of judgement for my sin. I sank further into sin because it helped to numb the pain I was already feeling. Thank you, Nina, for “loving them like Jesus” or more for loving ME like Jesus.
I think our kids are swayed by the media far younger, and more deeply than any generation so far – primarily because that’s what we allow shows designed to appeal to melodramatic tweens to put standards of behavior that are unacceptable into our kids heads. Whether it’s the standard Teen Disney message, that it’s not whether you’re right or wrong, but whether you’re good looking and well liked then no wonder we loose our kids to easier ‘feel good’ paths. In the push button society we live in, we have to ask whether it’s the CHURCH kids are leaving, or whether we have a systematic process of embracing, elevating and then demonizing and rejecting authority and our kids are emulating it. It’s the American Idol mentality. You get one season to shine, then we tear you down because you became ‘the man’. We elect a man to serve, only to come to the polls the next election with a laundry list of complaints and to vote *against* – We’re teaching this. No wonder they later turn their hands to rejecting the rules and morality of their families, schools and other rule making bodies in their lives. Our lessons are being drowned out by the media. Kids see things in the light of the underdog because they are still preparing to start the climb to their lives – from the bottom, just like every person before them. Kids identify with the underdog. Of course the people on the road ahead of them must have cheated in order to get there. They must be the bad guy. I don’t think we can let traditional teen/twenty something angst and growing pains set the curve for what societal norms should be. According to one link, teen feel bad for gay friends who feel bad because and are advocating for them, but how many teens know someone who lost a parent to war and are advocating equally? So as kids cut their teeth on us before going out to chew on the world, when we waver they question our validity even more strongly. Mom and dad don’t know why this is wrong. They have been able to defend curfew with air tight consequences. Stealing, lying – non issues. Why is this issue any different? PEER PRESSURE.
Yes – AND 5 year olds being taught “My Two Daddies” in kindergarten, with parents unaware.
Well, Jesus said it best (doesn’t He always?) in John 7:24: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
I so love the simplicity that is in Christ!
Oh, and for those who have the judging problem (myself included) – here’s a way to get the log out of your eye so you can remove the splinter in your brother’s eye – “I (Paul) wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the coveteous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of this world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with any brother who is a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or and extortioner – not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those who also are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves that wicked person.” – 1Corinthians 5:9-13).
Our problem – we forget who is in Christ and who isn’t. God only disciplines those who are His – and we do well to stop blurring the lines and blurring His Word. Either we take Him at face value or we don’t. When we take Him at face value – our “Yes” is “Yes” and our “No” is “No.”
Love you Nina!
I like a lot of what you had to say. I do think, however, we need to remember the difference between recognizing sin as sin and doing everything within our power (and the rest in the Spirit’s power) to turn away from it versus continuing stubbornly down the wrong path. As you said, sin is sin is sin, but refusing to turn from it (now that we have Christ) is much more the error than the sin itself, and that’s where so much of the conversation gets twisted. Speaking with someone who is ensnared in sin and desperate to be free from it is quite different from speaking with someone who is insisting that they aren’t struggling with sin at all, you know? There is never an excuse for rudeness, I agree wholeheartedly. But there is a time for difficult conversations in order to share truth. Jesus is often portrayed in the light you shared (loving, gentle), and when we see the cross there is indeed nothing more loving than that. His earthly life was not always gentle, though. He confronted when he needed to, and he told people things they didn’t want to hear. Not because he didn’t love them, but because he did, and reconciling them to his Father was far more important than lacing his words with honey. The reality is that the world will not always like what we have to say, and we will not always be popular – Scripture tells us that. We absolutely need to operate in love, but God’s love (focused on Him), not love as the world has defined it (focused on the individual). I hope this makes sense. Thank you for sharing your heart on this!
Oh, I so agree – I love especially the group (side B from the link above) who is gay who has chosen to resist the temptation of sin, and be a support to others who also struggle – AND be in dialogue with those who disagree with their position, who are also Christians. Life change can take place – I was thinking this morning that there needs to be a group like this for those of us Christians who are “communication confused” or struggle for life with the sin of contentiousness… (that was my attempt at humor – I’m not very funny, so I’ll point it out… 🙂 )
You are RIGHT – there IS a time for difficult conversations, and preferably at His direction, not our own desire to change others or point out their sin to them – many of them already know.
I am personally so very thankful for the wise and beautiful women who walked along side me as I struggled with respect as God directed wives in the Bible! They answered my questions without condemnation, without criticism, without judgment, and they asked me questions in turn. We learned about each other without fear – and I fully believe it was because they showed me His love and the Holy Spirit was freed up to teach me… I actually pursued information and teaching on the subject because they didn’t get in the way with judgment. I wondered last week when all this was going on if some of the rhetoric was getting in God’s way. He is sovereign, of course, but our desire to control gets in the way of so much! 🙂
Ever thankful for the dialogue, and I appreciate your thoughts. Glad you shared them! 🙂
I think we often place more value on sins we don’t typically have a struggle with. Some sins have greater consequences and impact on others here on earth yet the end result of all sin large or small still equals separation from God.
We come into this world already exposed to having a nature of sin. I think every one of us has a attraction, desire, craving, need or perhaps better said as predisposition to fall into certain areas of sin. What my inner self is drawn to or acts out differs from others.
There is nothing that God will not forgive. For us, well perhaps forgiveness is one of the areas we struggle with. Lucky for us God judges and not man. I am so thankful His love and patience and grace are so much greater than we can comprehend.
Nina, I know you well enough to know this was written with much prayer and searching. Thank you for your courage and commitment to our Lord, I know many will be greatly blessed and challenged by your words. Praying that the message is received with the intention with which it was written and inspired. Love to you and yours!
You asked on FB why do we think Christians judge so often. I think that is a wonderful question and one each of us need to try and answer and understand better.
I have judged others, I still fall into it sometimes and I have been judged to many times to count. In my opinion I have found it comes down to a few reasons why we judge or are judged from Christians.
First I find it to be fear or ignorance. I don’t mean the word ignorance to be harsh but simply to imply that so often people fear anything different and then often remain in a state where no effort is applied to learn and educate ourselves on the differences.
I also think many Christians are not well grounded in understanding the bible and the knowledge they have is often the views from those leading them. Those views might be 100 percent correct or sometimes skewed to the persons own perspective. Now when we encounter a different person, view point, or religion the fear is often raised so we react instead instead of interact. Often our own personal lack of knowledge in understanding what we really believe and what the bible states leaves us struggling to be the light and love to the world. So instead we point out other shortcomings so the reality of ours is not exposed.
Last we still might be struggling to really understand what Grace is and how unworthy and undeserving we really are. As a Christ Follower if we still hold on to the notion that we can accomplish or overcome challenges, a secret sin or simply living life in our individual power and will, then we are still missing the big picture of our own need of Grace and our true weakness.
Thank you for taking the time to write this. 🙂
I am chewing on the “fear” element you spoke of… it’s what separates us from Him, is a master-tool of “that other guy” and keeps us from forming relationships with people that God loves dearly, even though they believe differently than we do… and then a decade or two later, someone loves them well, and the Muslim becomes a Christ-follower.
I’m becoming more confident in His Truth, and am finding this coming primarily through the trust of His ways, and embracing my shortcomings boldly, rather than trying to hide them. I’m frequently told by women who take Daughters of Sarah that it’s my mistakes that have encouraged them the most! I love/hate that… the prideous part of me wishes it were not true, but He within me delights and loves it, and it all makes me smile.
Oh Lord, give us all Your grace… we all need it so desperately.
i had a heart to heart a few weeks ago with my 18 yr old niece, who was upset by grandma, who was “bashing” gays- and one of my niece’s good friends is gay… I had to explain to her that yes, same sex sex is wrong… but so is premarital sex… so is lying, cheating, stealing, gossiping…. and to God sin is sin…. we, as Christians, need to remember that… Thanks.
YES. Amen. sin is sin is sin is sin… and yes, daily, we are doing the wrong things. Hence the need for The Savior. 🙂
I get what you are saying, but i think you are at least partially missing the point. The definition of “judgment” and “tolerance” in our culture is skewed. Its considered “judgemental” to be opposed to gay marriage. It is not. Well, perhaps on the very basic level of “making a judgement call” but don’t we do that constantly, and for good reason?? I think its hard to see that many Christians ARE being loving by not accepting this lifestyle that God calls an abomination as perfectly fine. If you do NOT accept this lifestyle as perfectly fine, then our culture considers you intolerant and judgmental. Its not very loving to love a friend right to hell because we don’t want to be judgemental. NOW- should we be nasty, mean, and bully others? of course not! but that’s a whole other issue.
And that’s really the heart of it, Rebecca – when we are in relationship with someone who is struggling, and the Holy Spirit encourages to interact, we should engage with them in a patient, kind, gentle, etc. (1 Cor 7:13) loving way… too many people running around casting stones – and we all know what Christ had to say about that! 🙂 It’s not my intent to try to change what the Bible says, and I do believe that God wants us to be in relationship with others, and let Him do His thing at His discretion, instead of our own decisions resulting in casting stones.
And I totally agree – the context of the words, “judgment” may be a little different. I’m not referring to “tolerance” either, but rather what “love” looks like.
I find it interesting in the Bible that when confronted with sexual sin, Christ reminded the accusers of their own sin. We need to be careful – and too many of us are condemning the entire person, instead of the sin. We condemn entire groups of people, without loving them at all.
I also stand condemned, as I can’t exist without sin – guess I’m in good company (wasn’t it Paul who said he still did what he didn’t want to, and didn’t do what he knew was right… none of us are righteous, not even one).
I think of a friend of mine whose daughter is bisexual and could just cry at some of the horrid things people have said to her and her daughter. Gluttony is also a sin, one that results in an overabundance of things or being overweight, but we’d never consider hurling condemning remarks to overweight folks, bullying them the same way we treat homosexuals. Just a thought.
Christians should love all people well and focus on their own relationship with Him, so they can pour that love out to others more easily. Loving someone whose sexual preferences are sinful shouldn’t scare us as much as it does! 🙂 Thanks for the dialogue.
I agree Rebecca. No matter how lovingly you try to tell someone that homosexuality is a sin, most will see only “judgment.” I have very unemotionally and carefully shared this with others and been attacked with enough venom to kill an elephant. Also, the theology that all sin is sin, is true but a bit misunderstood. All sin is separation but there are those that God calls an abomination which are sexual/murderous sins. 1 Cor 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. I agree that I must love and try to reach all people groups and strive to be in relationship with both the saved and unsaved, but I must never confuse being a “nice’ Christian with speaking truth. I don’t want to love anyone in to hell either.
Well Said, Jennifer! 🙂
One thing I find interesting, is that there are several national ministries that encourage those who have had abortions (what most Christians consider murder) and seek to turn others away from this, who are heralded and highly regarded amongst Christian cultures, but if someone tries to support the gay, it’s often (not always) a different story. Adulturous/murderous…but double standards within our “own” culture. Perhaps this is why there are a bazillion denominations… the tough thing to swallow for me is when others are looking at our inability to get along, our mean words towards others, and then they decide they don’t want any part of our judgmental God. He IS holy, there IS right and wrong, but if we aren’t so filled with the Spirit that we can be loving when we talk about it (and I don’t claim to be one who is, or even knows more than a handful of people who are really good at this…) we can get in the way more often than have an opportunity to share the gospel.
I love the idea of loving people out of any harmful lifestyle. I’m so thankful others did it for me when I was a young drug addict. I know well of being in the pit and being redeemed. I never want to look down on others but to encourage them into the loving arms of Jesus just as others encouraged me. There are some amazing ministries doing just that with both post abortion, hurting women, and the gay community. I desire that all should come to Christ. However if someone asks me what my beliefs are or I may post something on FB that suggests that there is another way besides these destrucive behaviours/lifestyles, I will always try to be gentle but firm in my response. Sometimes scripture is the best response and it very often is much more harsh to them than my own answer would be. God’s word does not return void and I always pray that eyes will be opened and the truth be found, no matter hwo they respond to me.
I love your response, Jennifer, and completely agree. Thank you for being brave here. It makes me sad that we pick and choose who we will be kind to. Sometimes I wonder about that, but “abomination” has many references and enough to name nearly all of us, if we do a little research.
The pivotal difference for me, between the murderer counseling others away from murder, and the question of tolerance, is that one seeks to turn others away from sin , one seeks to absolve an other persons sin through public opinion.
Well said, Mandi. Agreed 100%. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t use that word, the “tolerance” one…
What is also interesting, and something that I love, is that often God will use our failings as our testimony. Few people can reach someone with a drug addiction better than a reformed addict. And I am frequently told that my failings in my marriage are what others relate to. I wish it weren’t so… but He uses all of it for good… and there’s tons of material! 🙂
You are so right. Example: I have a son who claims to be a believer, who is in a relationship with a married woman who claims to be a believer. He wants her included in family get togethers. My mother and my grown children (all Christians) think it is ok to include her. Tolerance sure has creept into the church in the name of love. I told him I love him and he will always be welcome in my heart and my home, but as believers, they are without excuse and she is not welcome.
An extra thought… so what if the sin is murder? Is that forgiveable? Here’s a quick, powerful read that might impact your thoughts… http://www.familylifeeducation.org/gilliland/procgroup/CorrieTenBoom.htm
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