I had a friend passionately tell me that we need to tell others when they’re doing wrong. ‘It is our job to point out their sin in hopes of them repenting.’ I used to ride that band wagon, but have since walked away from it. You’ve probably heard me refer to myself as a ‘recovering Pharisee’ and boy does the recovery take some time. I’ve had to unlearn and re-evaluate so much of the doctrine that framed my life. I’m thankful for the things I’ve discovered in the Bible and the journey that God has me on now. It’s different, but it’s so beautiful.
I read this recently and it gripped my heart:
Sometimes in an effort to remind people of the cost of the cross, we withhold grace until we are sure they understand their sin. But it is in giving of our grace that we remind people that they need to go to Jesus to find their own. People understand their sin without our help. It’s grace they need help in understanding. Shawn Zimmerman
It makes me think of Romans 5:
6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
If the Father loved us so deeply as to send His son to die for us while we were still sinners, why do we feel so compelled to change people and to ‘clean them up?’ Wasn’t Jesus dying for sinners an example of the fact that we can love sinners completely before they ever stop sinning?
Prison changes people because it controls their outward behavior, but that doesn’t change a heart. I spent a lot of years trying to teach people how to be good. But now the only thing I want to do is show them what it’s like to walk in a relationship with the Father that loves them so deeply. To teach them to be good is a little like putting up walls around them. It’s confining.
Freedom comes when we meet the One who loves us right where we are and leads us in our heart on a journey built on love, acceptance and relationship. No, not embracing sin…but letting our lives be an example of what happens when the prison doors are opened.
I no longer feel the need to ‘fix’ people or tell them how to live, instead I want to introduce them to someone I know.
Of course if someone is living a life that continues to bring them harm and they ask what I think, I would share my opinion and what I believe God’s word says. I don’t deny truth or just sit back and ignore the fact that sin destroys lives, I just don’t feel the need to address the sin as the main issue. Sin is a symptom, not the cause. The real issue is our hearts and for whatever reason, sometimes we chose not to lean on and trust the Father so we look to other things to fill or numb us. I’m not fully there yet either, I’m learning more about trusting Him every day of my life.
Read the quote again and think about it. Have you ever withheld grace because you felt like you might be excusing their sin? I have. I pray I can live more like Jesus and live to boldly show His grace and leave the fixing to Him.