As I write this, I realize that some will be offended by my views. That is OK. What God has placed on my heart is not a comfortable thing to share, but it’s where he has me today, so share, I will.
I am increasingly dismayed at what appears to me to be an inconsistency in the way we, the Christian community, respond to our brothers and sisters who find themselves “caught in a sin” or even experiencing tragedy or misfortune in their lives.
Back in April the the media brought us the news of the suicide of Rick and Kay Warren’s son, Matthew. However you view our brother’s theology, he is a brother. I was stunned at the stones that were thrown their way not only by opponents of Christianity, who always are waiting in the wings to assault, but I was appalled at the rocks hurled from within the Christian community. The “I told you so’s.” The blaming. The revelry in their loss. It still turns my stomach. It matters not what you think of their ministry, this was, and still is a suffering man and wife, grieving the loss of their son . . . Then, this week the news came forth of comments made years ago by Paula Deen. Please don’t misunderstand me. There is NO excuse for racial slurs of any kind, any time. Period. But hear this . . . There is no excuse for ANY sin, any time. Period. If it were not for the love and grace of Jesus Christ, we would all be bound for hell. Why? Please tell me, why do we have to attack anyone, especially our own? I’ve always said that if the church ever falls, it will fall from within, not from the enemy without. May it not be prophetic.
While we are to stand for what’s right, and yes, to even judge sin by God’s standards, we are not to stand in condemnation of anyone. Instead, we are to point out the truth. “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:15-16) What has taken place in these situations the last few months has done more tearing down than building up.
As we confront sin, we must be just as adamant about offering the remedy for sin and its ramifications. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) Jesus, only, has paid for our sins on the cross, and upon our confessing them and seeking forgiveness, He alone, can cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
I wonder if these believers with stones in hand, winding up to hurl their fistful at the easy target of well-known grieving parents, and a repentant woman who’s sought forgiveness for something done years ago, are even aware of what took place in the supreme court today. While you turn your toxic self-righteousness towards the grieving and repentant, the Supreme Court dealt a blow to the Defense of Marriage Act today. I won’t get into all the legal jargon etc. of the decisions in the CA case, but the more sweeping decision came in relation to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which the court said was unconstitutional and effectively gutted by ruling against a provision that denied benefits to legally married gay couples. Again, another disclaimer. I am not homophobic . I believe in gay marriage. I just believe it should be between a man and a woman. Seriously, I simply believe God made man and He made woman, each for their intended purpose. I believe marriage was created and ordained by God to be between a man and a woman, as scripture declares. I know I have friends and family who disagree, and that is their prerogative. You have a right to make any choice you like. And it doesn’t change my love for you. Yes, I obviously believe homosexuality is a sin. That is why it offends me that the government of this nation, that was founded on Christian principles, is so bent on legalizing willful, habitual sin, while believers are busy throwing stones at wounded and repentant sinners.
I have no stone to throw. . . at repentant sinners or at willful, habitual, sinners. Your sin is no greater than my own. Sin is sin. There are no “degrees” of sin. We all just sin differently. We all have a choice to continue in that sin or to repent and receive the forgiveness, and all that Christ has for us.
Believers, I think it’s time to lay down our stones, and get on our knees. There are a lot bigger battles to be won. And they won’t be won with stones. The only way we’ll win them is with hand to hand combat, putting our hands together and unleashing the power of prayer. Pray for the grieving brother. Pray for the repentant sinner. Pray for the unrepentant sinner and the one who sins differently than you. Lay down your stones and pray for the nation that’s losing it’s way . . . May we all, one day, be able to sing together,
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, Was blind, but now I see.
I can’t wait ‘til that’s the view from here . . .