Monday, May 4, 2015

Don't judge me




How many of us are perfect?

How many of us can say that we do things well every single day?

I would venture to say that no one can answer that positively.

Of course we know that we are not perfect.

As a Christ follower, I believe that I have a great need for Jesus because when I come to God on my own, I cannot please Him. 

 I am sinful.

I am flawed.

I cannot stand as righteous before Him.


But, when I accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on my behalf,
I am named a child of the King.

And, while I am forgiven of my sin,
I cannot ignore and gloss over sin.

Repentance includes a turn from wrong.

It indicates a pursuit of what is right.




As our Pastor said recently, "you cannot pursue Jesus and pursue sin at the same time."


Why is it that "modern Christians" don't want to live that out?

We want  Jesus to have our back, but do not want to live the sacrificial life that comes with declaring Christ to be the Lord of our lives.

The Boss.

The One who calls the shots.

The One who is allowed to point out sin in our lives.


When you take the time to study God's Word, you 
 find a system of church leadership in the Bible.

We are to submit to "biblical leaders" who have authority over us.

We look to them for guidance...for encouragement...for accountability.

And yet I notice an interesting trend in the modern church world.


People are not interested in being guided.

If you confront anyone on sin in their life you will receive a fascinating response...

"You are a sinner, so you can't judge me."


So, let me get this straight?

Me telling you the good news about Jesus...God in human form, who has taken
 the penalty of our sins on himself when we repent (turn) from our sins is "judging you?"

He invites you to repent and leave your life of sin...not me.

If I am telling you that a sin is harmful and should be eradicated from your life,
 I am judging you?

If I am warning you that following in that path will lead to a life of pain, I am judging you?

Please forgive me...I was trying to help.


I, as a believer in the inspired Word of God believe that 
when we are told to flee from sin, it's kind of important.

It almost gets comical at times.


It's like the man that just murdered someone is looking at a child who just stole a cookie from the cookie jar, and says, "You are a sinner too, so don't tell me what I just did was wrong."

Was the child stealing from the cookie jar wrong?

Of course!

It was a sin, and if that child knows it to be a sin, they should make it right.

But does that mean, he can't look at a murderer and say to that person,
 "Murder is a sin, and you shouldn't do it?"

Of course not!

That would be insanity in it's purest form.


Would you agree that some counterfeit Christians have messed up the system?

Have some hypocrites given us pause when it comes to true accountability?

Of course.



Christianity, lived out in the way it was created to be lived out brings healing, restoration, community, and wholeness.



It involves wiser Christians who have gone before us, 
mentoring those of us who are young in the faith.

It involves a loving rebuke of sin.

It is characterized by carefulness.

It is life to the lifeless.

Hope to those in despair.

Rescue to those who are in trouble.

Freedom for those who are in bondage.


Because the wages of sin is DEATH.

Because the extra pain that comes from a sinful life can be avoided.

We will have trouble in this world because it is a fallen world.


But, why would you want more pain than necessary?

God has given us a road map in His Word.


Is it restrictive?

YES.

Are there rules?

Boundaries?

Yes.

The fences keep us safe.


Why would we rebel against safety that comes from the God of Heaven and of Earth?

He created us.

He knitted us together in our Mother's wombs.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made.

And God, who made us, knows the things that will harm us.

He has given warnings in His "love letter" to us.

He wants to free us from the power of:

Deceitfulness
Pride
Anger
Lack of Self-control
Sexual Sin


This small list of sins that tempts us everyday will destroy our peace, our joy, and the fulfilling life that God wants to give us.


As loving parents we want to shield our children from things that harm them.  
We have an ideal plan for helping our children flourish in the best way possible.

Can we not see that God (the ultimate Father) has done that for us?

He has given us a choice.

We can pursue sin.

We can live a life that leads to destruction.

But, He calls us without condemnation, and welcomes us into His loving embrace.



To my friends who are followers of The Way,
keep focused on what is important.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind,
and your neighbor as yourself. (from Matthew 22)

But, in loving your neighbor as yourself...

Call sin what it is...
Sin.

Whether it is found in your life, or in the life of your neighbor.

Don't be afraid to call it sin.


And, look to Jesus...The author and finisher of our faith.

I know He can rescue someone from the pursuit of sin, because He rescued me.

I don't say that to brag on my own feeble attempts at perfection.

I testify to the fact that Christ has placed within me 
His power, His strength, and His perfect love.

Because of that change in my life, I see sin for what it truly is.

Disgusting.
Sick.
Filthy.

And, quite frankly something I want nothing to do with.

I am not perfect.

Rather, by God's grace, I am being perfected.

One moment at a time.


When I fall, I fall forward towards the Son of God who rescued me.

I refuse to pursue a life of sin.

And, I declare that all sin is harmful.



 I will no longer be afraid to speak out about
 what is considered "acceptable sin," 
just because a fallen world tells me I cannot.

I don't care what sin we choose to partake in...

All of it will bring us pain.


May we seek healing from the One who is waiting for us.

The Healer.

The Redeemer.

The Savior of the World.


And allow Him to create in us a clean heart...to bend our will to the curve of His own.

And rely on His strength to live out our faith in a faithless world.


Not in absolute perfection.

Not with performance-based religion.

But armed with prayer, steadied by peace, and confident in purpose,
may we live a courageous life.


Unafraid to call sin what it is, and denounce it's power in our lives.

A possibility only through the Spirit of the living God.