Accepting that truth doesn't justify or make excuses for the wrongs we commit. It does, however, realize the fact that we are all human and given a certain sequence of events along with our own weaknesses, none of us are excluded from the possibility of committing something that normally would make us wince, perhaps even ignite feelings of frustration, anger or even hatred if seen committed by someone else.
I have a real uneasy time when I'm among a group of believers that seem to focus on one or two "moral sins" to ponder, reflecting on how those who commit them are going to hell. I'm not going to get in a conversation about hell. I believe our God is a God of love and grace, and I believe He wants us to manifest His Kingdom here on earth right now...the ever after He will take care of, and I trust that all who follow the pathways of love and compassion will be taken care of...
What bothers me most about these conversations is that they consist mostly of judging others, rather than focusing on empathy, compassion and love-all traits Christ exemplified. Again and again the Bible says that through the process of sanctification our characters should reflect that of Christ's more and more as we journey down our spiritual paths. It's almost like some of us like to gloat at the moral depravity of others rather than seek ways in which we can lift those people people up-in prayer and with spiritual and material blessings that will help them move towards freedom from that which holds them captive.
There's a rather popular story in the eighth chapter of the book of John that shows what happens when a woman caught in adultery is brought before Jesus. The crowds are already feverishly looking for stones in which to throw at her. The punishment for such a crime in those days (and in many places still today) was capital punishment. The Pharisees ask Jesus what should be done, knowing the law already and wanting to see what Jesus will do. Jesus draws a line in the sand, while the crowd raises their voices for the woman's blood to be shed, and answers the Pharisees with this simple statement: “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Well, Jesus sure knew how to break up a party, one by one those in the crowd, feeling humbled, dropped their stones and left.
Sometimes I think many of us fall into the belief that our sins are a lot less than other people's and that that gives us a leg to stand on in judging them, much like those in the crowd that were crying out for the woman's blood. But it really doesn't. Romans 3:23 tells us, "For we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God." We all fall short. I fall just as short as anybody else and if I just stand there gloating at my own illusion of self grandeur while having Christ in my heart and watching another suffering from the bonds of slavery, whether it be addiction, poverty, or anything else, that just means that God might just have even more work to do in my heart than he who I am witnessing sinning. Instead of judging, I need to reach out in love and compassion, like Jesus did.
There's a great song that reminds me of what this post is all about. It has some profanity and might not be for everyone to listen to. I like it because it's real...I don't mind when things are gritty when they ring out with the truth. It's all about people in circumstances that others oftentimes feel easy to judge. We just haven't a clue, especially at first glance, what brings people to the places where they find themselves right now. Perhaps it's not even important, what is important is the right now. The post will end with the song, I hope you enjoy it, please don't be offended by the language! I believe it is artistically put into the song and gives it an authentic tone.
God tells us in the book of Isaiah what those who are called into the Body of Christ are to do, and this is how I believe we are to respond to those who we don't understand, to those who might even repulse us by the choices they have made. Not to judge them, but to love them. To bind their broken hearts, not to break them even more. After all, I don't know about you, but I'm in no position to throw the first stone! Let's drop our stones and shine our lights so that God's glory will be radiantly displayed in the hearts of his people.
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners
What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear them! Please share in the Comments section.