Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Forcing sinners to act like saints

Too often in America we would sure like those outside the Church to act like saints.  We even want to make laws about it!  Prayer in school, the 10 Commandments in courthouses.  "In God We Trust" on our currency.  Well, you get the idea.  But lets be honest.  Those things have been part of America since it was founded, and it doesn't appear to have helped a whole lot.

Now don't misunderstand.  I wish people did all pray to God, in and out of school.  I wish that those who walked into the courthouses would be convicted for the ways they've broken the commandments of God.  And I wish we did indeed trust God.  Unfortunately, that is the reality we live in.  

So what are we to do?  If you ask many Christians in America, the answer is to make these things laws.  Make prayer happen in school.  Pass legislation to force people who don't believe in God to act like they do.    But they aren't.  And these aren't the types of things which will convince them to follow God.  

If we would remember our history, the history of our nation, we would recognize that the thing which brought us over here in the first place was religious freedom.  Shouldn't we allow people in our own country the same rights our ancestors fought and died for?  

Most Christians have the line down "love the sinner, hate the sin."  The problem is that we will love the sinner as long as he gives up his sin, but otherwise, we are going to have to spend most of our time around him pointing out how bad he is.  

So what should we do?  Do we ignore sin?  Or do we just pay attention to certain sins?  (Interestingly enough, there are a lot of Christians who want to make drunkenness against the law, but not so many who want us to make laws about obesity, though the Bible is clear on that one too.)  What is the balance between speaking out against false teaching, but still loving those who are trapped by the deceit of Satan?  

I think the Biblical approach is also the approach of Christ.  Jesus readily identified the sins of the people around him, even going so far as to tell the woman caught in adultery to "go and sin no more."  He corrected false teaching, called out the hypocrites, and cleaned up the temple.  The message of Jesus started with those who called themselves believers, and extended to those who made no such claim.  Jesus didn't only condemn the religious, nor did He only condemn the sinners.  Jesus was an impartial judge of truth.

This should be what we do as well.  The difference, though, is in the goal of our actions.  What are we actually trying to accomplish?  If it is conformity to our way of thinking, than we are not acting like Jesus.  If it is confession and repentance, than we are acting like Jesus.  Loving the sinner and hating the sin will happen when we acknowledge wrong behavior not to get the person to conform, but to confess.  Not to get people to change their ways, but to allow God to change their hearts.  


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed this Pastor Miller. Keep doing what you do.