For some reason, we think we can pick and choose what parts of the Bible we will follow and we ignore other parts. I’m not just talking about those religions or denominations that say that parts of the Bible are not relevant anymore or that do not encourage reading the Bible for one’s self. And I’m not talking about the law in the Old Testament that many nonbelievers think we are choosing to ignore (the old covenant law was replaced when Jesus came!) I’m saying that we, Christians, as individuals, decide to believe what we like and ignore what we don’t like in the Bible, including the New Testament. We’re hurting ourselves, and others are watching.
The Bible tells us about A LOT of sins. I think we tend to think about the sins that we don’t struggle with as being worse than the ones that we do struggle with. Not always. Sometimes we are aware of the mistakes we are making, but sometimes we think “well, at least I’m not sinning as bad as that guy.” We tell little lies and think it’s not a big deal, since there are people out there murdering people. The wages of sin are death (Romans 6:23)! Some sins may be worse than others. They may have more consequences, hurt more people, and lead to more sins, but any sin leads to death and destruction. All sin is wrong and all sin put Jesus on the cross. We should hate all sins! It’s easy for me to hate the sinful act of murder or homosexual relations because I don’t struggle in those areas. It’s harder for me to hate gossip and selfishness, since I commit those sins.
I know Christian women who tell me that they will struggle with or just won’t submit to a man when they get married. I know Christians who lie and gossip and are not willing to help others. These people know what the Bible says about these sins, but they don’t think that it’s a big deal. I know plenty of Christians who have been divorced. God tells us that He hates divorce! It is a sin to get a divorce (except in the case of sexual immorality). But if you asked the same people what they think about homosexuality, they would tell you that it’s disgusting and wrong because the Bible tells us that it is a sin (Leviticus 8:23 as well as other verses).We pick and choose what we want to be true rather than looking to God’s word for the absolute truth. We see what we want to see and we judge how we want to judge, rather than leaving the judging to God. You might want divorce to be acceptable because you might not be happy without getting one, so you justify it in your head. People who struggle with their sexual orientation don’t want to be unhappy either! They want to think that their sin is OK the same way that you want to think that yours is OK. But in reality, none of it is OK and we need to look to God to find a way out of it.
We are all going to slip up and make mistakes, but we should be looking at our own sins before judging others on their sins. We don’t want to have to deal with our own sin and we don’t want to work at repenting from them. We tell ourselves that the sins are not a big deal, but they are. They all are. I think this is where a lot of hate and hypocrisy that people see in Christians comes from. We judge non-Christians (which we are not even supposed to do; we are supposed to judge other Christians only) for stealing, while we’re keeping our money to ourselves instead of helping the poor or tithing. We tell people that they shouldn’t be getting addicted to substances or alcohol or whatever it is, while we’re idolizing whatever it is in our own lives that we put before God. We can’t show the love of Christ if we are judging nonbelievers, especially when they are seeing all the mistakes that you’re making! And we can’t help our fellow Christian out of their struggle with sin while we’ve got our own sins pulling us down. Matthew 7:3-5 addresses this: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Stop hating people for their sins and love them like Christ did. Hate the sin that causes them pain and suffering, the sin that they might not recognize as wrong. Teach them without judgement. Love on them while they are learning. Work on yourself and the mistakes you are making. Push yourself to have a better relationship with God and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal your sins to you. Read your Bible and remember that it all applies to you. You are not exempt. That sin you committed was wrong and you can’t ignore it. (Maybe this post is mostly a reminder to myself, but maybe it’ll help you too).
Featured photo from howng.com.