I just finished watching an episode of "Larry King Live" where a pastor is debating with a person who says she is a Christian and yet unashamedly continues to live a life highlighted by sin. He lovingly says she needs to leave her life of sin in order to be called "Christian" or "saved". She says that everyone sins, even him, and therefore she is no different than him. Don't judge her, don't point the finger, and you can't use scriptures to conclude anything...just love, love , love and accept.
Because Larry hasn't called me yet to give my thoughts on the issue, and I burn with ideas that might clarify the pastor's point...blog. Not to say he didn't do a good job defending the truth and Jesus personality, he did, but I don't think Larry's ultimate question was answered. Larry wants to know why sinful Christians are better off than sinful non Christians and who says what a Christian is anyway? By Christians, I mean people who hold to the scriptures as authoritative and clear...not as a suggestion and a contemplation. Why won't we leave them alone and quit saying they need something or are doing anything wrong? Quit "judging' them and look at your own life.
Larry, if you have Chasing Sunbeams in your bookmarks, this is for you:
It's like a baby playing in the mud. Some love the mud, and have no intention of getting out and into the bath water. Some even agree that the mud is dirty and full of nasty critters that may hurt them. Others agree with the nature of the mud and have decided to get out because Dad is offering his hands to help him out and into the bath water. We look to the mud often, and daily stick our feet and hands in just for that little thrill it brings, but eventually, due to a different conscience, reach for Dad again. Dad doesn't hate us because of our momentary failings, his acceptance of us is based on the DESIRE in our hearts and the subsequent obedience to HIS standard.
The other baby, still happily playing in the mud, has no desire to get out and has buddies in other puddles who are doing the same. They babble and google back and forth, temporarily appeasing each others' guilt and celebrating their "freedom", but end up going to bed that night with annoying sand in their diaper and biting bugs in their hair. They are perplexed as to why Dad will not allow them in the family picture, with all that mud caking their face and even believe that he eventually will. He does want them in the picture, he just requires that they be cleaned off first...and only Dad can do that. The other baby isn't judging them, he just knows the refreshing experience of being bathed and how to get into the family picture. He longs for his brother to have the same and cannot stop encouraging him to get out of the mud, because of love.
So Larry, we Christians sometimes point fingers at people because we love them, but be assured, any true believer is dealing with the rest of the fingers being pointed back at himself as well. The problem is the attitude with which the person corrects the other, not the correction itself. Jesus has no tolerance for a judgemental attitude ("Speak the truth in love"), but He commands us to make righteous judgements (John 7). You would never catch Jesus sitting on a fence. The pastor uses the story of Jesus defending the adulterous woman in John chapter 8. He clearly protects, defends and loves her, but confronts her on her sinful lifestyle and commands her to "go and sin no more". He doesn't accept a freedom of choice to live any way she wants and still have a right relationship with Him. She experiences a change of heart because of the power of His love and as a result, her lifestyle changes too. If we refrain from ever correcting or confronting people about their sin (as defined by scripture), and act like it's no big deal, then we are being selfish. We place more value of our relationship with them then their spiritual health. They may reject your outreach, but Christ's love compels us.
I don't think that we, within the Christian church, will ever be able to reconcile differences of opinion on moral issues until we agree on the authority, inerrancy and CLARITY of scripture...so don't waste time, breath and energy on a discussion unless that is established. Just live, let live and pray.
There, got that off my mind. Now I can go teach how to find the area of a trapezoid, make bread, plant some flowers and swing in my hammock. Thanks for listening, Larry, and good luck with the show. I do find it very interesting...but have you considered getting a new style of eyeglasses?
I promise, the next blog will be more lighthearted.