What if We Treated Those Who Gossip Like We Treat… (insert favorite sin to condemn)
Devotional Thought of the Day:
28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. 32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too. Romans 1:28-32 (NLT)
10 Whoever breaks one commandment is guilty of breaking them all. James 2:10 (TEV)
800 This is the prayer of a soul who wanted to belong wholly to God, and, for his sake, to all mankind: “Lord, I beg you to work on this sinner, to rectify and purify my intentions, to pass them through the crucible.” (1)
In the church at large, there is a very unhealthy tension that I am noticing grows more and more each day. On one side of it, there is a tendency to overlook sin, to justify it, to claim that it cannot be overcome, that it is even natural. On the other side is the reaction to sin (espcially the sin of others) that wants to immediately condemn and execute the sinner, and purify our church and our communities of those who do “those” things. The first are like those in the days of Noah, or the churches in The Revelation who need to be called to face their sin, not to hear words of condemnation, but to know mercy, and the transformation and healing that God would bring to them. The second, well, like the men gathered around the adultress, with stones in their hands, our condemnaiton of others seems little more than hollow words.
In the former case, a treatment which would bring about healing is found in simply asking the question, where do we find the authority to overturn scripture here? Some will fight it, but again our efforts need to be, not to condemn, but to provide the way yo be free from condemnaiton, to know grace, to say – yeah that’s sin, I own it is as mine, and Lord, have mercy on me a sinner. Then having confessed it, to walk away rejoicing in its absolution. No more hiding, no more justifying, no more denying what we know to be true, and try to deceive ourselves. Quickly, let us confess our sins, confident that He will forgive them and cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.
I often frin the other case, more frequent. We would condemn others, for a sin, and for their lack of mercy towards our sin. A rule I often use in the latter case, when one sin is being singled out, is to ask whether gossips deserve the same treatment, the same attitude as those who repeat other sins. Most of us know gossips – some quite intimately, even perhaps caught a glimpse of them this morning, as we looked in a mirror to comb our hair. Do we want to treat the gossip like the murderer, the abortionist, the adulterer, those who have sex outside of marriage between husband and wife, those who hate based on race and ethnicity, those who lie, those who disrespect authorities, those who schedme to take what is others, those who commit very public sins, those who commit them very privately, etc etc,
Do we want the gossip to hear the same words as “those” people? Do we want to treat them the exact same way, with the same words?
The more I see people, entrapped by sin, enslaved to it, no matter the sin, the more I want us to hear the same words…
Your sins ARE forgiven, Go in peace, and sin no more….
That’s the Father’s desire. That is why Jesus came and lived and died, and was raised from the dead. It is the mission that God has given us, the church, for it is saving them, delivering them from sin and the fear of death, into the presence of God, our Creator, the One-in-Three who calls us, the beloved….
Lord have mercy on us, the sinners. AMEN.
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 2854-2856). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Posted on February 3, 2014, in Devotions and tagged absolution, blind eye, confession, forgiveness, gossip, grace, Jesus, judging, mercy, murder, sexual sin, sin, sinners. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.