Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Why is it Important?

I've been having an interesting dialog/debate recently about how we as Christians are to react to people (especially other Christians), who are living in sin. Actually, the discussion began earlier than that...and we could not reach common ground to agree on whether certain "lifestyle choices" are sin or not.

He brought up some good points about there being so many rules and laws in the Old Testament that we do not practice today, and how over the years the Christians seem to have picked out the ones that they want to continue to observe, but disregarded others as archaic. This made me think...and that is always a good thing.

So moving past that issue, what are we to do about sin in the lives of believers?

Do we welcome all people into our church family, regardless of past and present behaviors?

Do we not only preach God's love and grace, but be Jesus with flesh on and show them love and grace?

Do we love them so much that we tell them the truth about what they are it is damaging them and hurting God's heart?

Are we all accountable not only to God, but to each other as well?

Is that judging? Maybe it is. But we have a whole book of God's standards to follow. Why would they have been given if not for us to learn, live, teach and obey?

Do we have a sin problem in the church? You betcha. God calls us to be a sanctified people...most of us have a long way to go. But I believe that one of the duties of the church (and I'm speaking of the church body...not the church organization) is to encourage each other in holiness.

The dialog/discussion left me feeling a little frustrated and I'm afraid it left the other person feeling a little sad and disheartened. It's easy to want to say let's just forget about the whole subject and talk about something else. But it is too important to do that.

I think that we are in the last days and as time goes by it will get easier and easier for folks to be deceived. We have to know what we believe and why we believe it...and have the courage to speak up...even to other believers.

Lives are at stake. Souls are at stake. Eternity is at stake.

I would love to know your thoughts. Please leave a comment.


D said...

I deal with this situation a lot in my own life. Most of the people who I'm in contact with who are choosing a lifestyle not pleasing to God have been terribly hurt by a church or someone at church. All they see about church is a group of negative people who want to point fingers, send everyone to hell, and are totally hypocritical. They know the truth because they've been taught it, and they can absolutely quote you the scripture. I have other people in my life who were not hurt by a church but are just flat out in sin. They also have been taught the truth and can tell you all about it. Those who vaguely know about the truth are just defensive enough to let you know that they know they are wrong.

So after a lot of prayer I've come to the realization that it's not my responsibility to save them. It's God's. This is a hard pill to swallow when I love these people so much and I know that they are only hurting themselves. But God is big enough to heal whatever hurts they have and to reveal the truth without my help. If He chooses to use me- then I'm good with that. I'll say whatever He leads me to say. But when I try to do it in my own power and strength it comes out insincere, unauthentic, self-righteous and down-right preachy. And once again they and I feel rejected.

So little by little I'm building relationship, loving on them, listening- and most of all just trying to live my faith out loud. With actions, and with fewer words. It doesn't seem like they are paying attention- but I'm constantly amazed that they are, and they aren't attributing my actions to me but to God. Too often I've thought that prayer was the least I could do for them, when in reality it's the best. God says things in a way that I never could.

This may not be exactly on target with what you were asking- I know you were talking about within a church setting, but this issue has been on my heart for a while now and so it feels good to share what I know God is teaching me.

~Deidra~ said...

Thank you for your comment Danielle. There is a lot of wisdom there. Everything that we do must be done under the leadership of the Holy are right...otherwise we do come across as preachy and rigid. When we look at Jesus' example, He was relational and chose to hang out with the sinners, much to the chagrin of the religious folks.

Deanna said...

I believe we are to love the sinner but not the sin. I have a friend who lives an alternative lifestyle. I love him, support him and try to be a light to him in every way possible. I draw the line at doing anything that would support his lifestyle. The church is not for the healthy, but for the sick. Unfortunately, it has become a place where it is not safe to be sick. People are literally dying under our noses because it has become the most judgemental place on earth. Maybe that is why Jesus' ministry was done in the streets and not in the church?

Anonymous said...

Hi Deidre! About the first bit concerning the OT laws, We just concluded a study of Exodus-Joshua and there is solid theology concerning which laws we as Christians do and do not follow. Many of the ceremonial laws are not followed even by the Jews because there is no Temple. Those same laws are now obsolete for Christians because Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice and is now the High Priest. The Clean/Unclean laws (menstration, childbirth, lepresy ect.) were lifted with Christ's death as well. The dietary laws were lifted when Peter declared it in Acts. The moral law is the ones we still follow and were the only ones taught by Jesus.

As far as the other bit. I'm so in need of undertstanding and discernment in this area. I'm positive that I've alienated many people and possible lost many friends with my hard line and harsh tongue.

Josh said...

God is love.