Last week, as the Chick-fil-A debacle unfolded, I read a blog by Pastor Perry Noble where he said:
…for too long the church has seemed to be obsessed with the sins that we do not struggle with; after all, if I am pointing out the sins of others I don’t have to deal with my own.
The rest of the week, I couldn’t stop thinking about why Christians are so hung up on homosexuality. Why are we so focused on controlling the rights of these individuals? Why this sin?
So, I brought it up to a friend, and he argued that Christians should be fighting for what is Biblical, not necessarily what is politically correct. As a believer, I agree with that.
But here is my problem: What about porn? Where are all of the Christians fighting to stop the pornography industry? Where are all of the Christians who want to see laws in place that don’t allow sexually explicit material on the internet, where it is so easily accessible to anyone? Where are the Christians arguing that the government put regulations on what types of sexual content is shown in advertisements, films, and on public television?
Where are the Christians fighting to make premarital sex illegal? What about affairs and sexual impurity? God speaks clearly on these sexual issues, but I don’t see very many Christians working hard to control these sins that have destroyed countless marriages, relationships, families, and friendships.
As Christians, let’s not be so focused on the sins we don’t struggle with, that we fail to see and correct the sin in our own lives.
This week I was challenged by a blog about gossip, and it left me feeling convicted about my conversations with others. But while sharing this with my husband the other evening, I asked him if it was still gossip if you don’t mention the name of the person it’s about, and this is how he replied:
Even if you don’t mention the person’s name, the motive is still the same: you are trying to uplift yourself by sharing something negative about others.
Immediately I knew he was right, and I was amazed by my level of lameness. I was trying to get around the destructiveness of “gossip” by redefining it. But I was reminded that it’s not about what you call the sin in your life, it’s about the intentions of your heart. Sin is still sin, no matter what type of fancy definition you give it.
Ephesians 4: 29 says,
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it might benefit those who listen.
Last week, I was on the cusp of making a really stupid decision in anger, when I remembered something I heard a pastor say recently,
When God is not part of the decision-making process, you’ll always do the wrong thing.
So I stopped. I realized I hadn’t even considered what God might want me to do; I was too blinded by my anger. I opened my Bible, not knowing where to turn, and flipped to 1 Timothy. I began to read about the Lord’s grace toward Paul. At first, it didn’t seem like the direction I was seeking. But read 1 Timothy 1: 14, 16 with me:
The grace of our Lord was poured on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus…. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him.
I didn’t hear Jesus’ audible voice telling me exactly what to do. I didn’t receive a sign, or see words written in the sky. But I opened my Bible, and God directed me to exactly what I needed to hear in that moment. I was reminded that what I was about to do was act out in anger and frustration because I felt justified to do so. But after reading 1 Timothy, God spoke to me through those passages. He told me that he showed me mercy first, even while I was the worst of sinners. He showed me grace in my rebellion and sin so that he could be lifted up in my life. He showed me unlimited patience. Unlimited!
So I chose to show grace the way that Jesus shows it to me. I didn’t act out in anger. I didn’t send the text that would’ve made me feel powerful and in control. I didn’t let Satan win this battle; instead, I offered forgiveness and mercy.
And it felt awesome.