Christian family life, homeschooling, humor, and articles for your encouragement and edification

Christian family life, homeschooling, humor, and articles for your encouragement and edification

Friday, May 6, 2016

Why Your Sin Hurts Me

Why do some Christians even care about the sinful choices of others? Is it really any of their business? Why can't they just live and let live? What is the big deal?
Conservative Christians, like myself, take the Bible literally. We believe it to be the actual Word of God and is to be obeyed. It is not our job to insult, abuse, or force anyone to follow God's doctrine. It is our job, however, to pray, inform, warn, and effect change through the legal, granted means we have been given. Those Christians who claim to be devout but behave in ways outside the parameters God has ordained for His people are heading for trouble. I love God and sincerely pray that "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done", and I seek to serve Him as an instrument to that end. But back to the questions above-

When a nation tolerates, indulges in, and legalizes sin, the Scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments warn that the entire nation will be polluted and turned over to judgment. So yes, Scripturally speaking, sin does hurt everyone, and the "freedoms" of a few will eventually turn everyone in that nation over to bondage.Timing of those consequences depends on God. In the Scriptures, judgment seems to begin with a great deception that sweeps over the people and multiplies the wickedness in its frequency and magnitude until their "iniquity is complete"; and then the nation is usually turned over to invading enemies. Romans 1:28 explains that because people did not want to retain God in their knowledge, they were "turned over" to a debased mind to do things that were unfitting - and then the long list of those unfitting things is given.
In addition to punishing those who participate in such sins, God (through Paul) mentions in verse 32 that He will also punish those who "approve of those who practice them". Those who are not renewing their minds regularly by reading the Word of God in faith for themselves, are in rebellion against God, and/or are enjoying the world far too much are more vulnerable to this deception - and of course so are nonbelievers. The Scriptures reveal that God cares about whether or not you are actually grieved about the sin around you. In the book of Ezekiel chapter 9, verse 4, God tells an angel to "Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it." 2 Peter 2:6 states that God used the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah as "an example to those who afterward would live ungodly"; but "delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)." Finally, in the book of Malachi, a comparison of the conversations of the ungodly and the godly are made. It is written in chapter 3, verses 16-18:

Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, 
And the Lord listened and heard them; 
So a book of remembrance was written before Him 
For those who fear the Lord 
And who meditate on His name. 
"They shall be Mine, says the Lord of hosts, 
On the day that I make them My jewels. 
And I will spare them 
As a man spares his own son who serves him. 
Then you shall again discern 
Between the righteous and the wicked, 
Between the one who serves God 
And one who does not serve Him."

What you think and feel about the sin around you matters to God. If you don't care - there are consequences.
It is a common criticism that the conservative Christian is unloving, but this criticism is based on prejudice and faulty reasoning. Imagine, if you will, that you and I are driving in a car. You are about to run a red light and I say,"No, don't do it! It is wrong." Would you then retort, "You hypocrite! You think you are so much better than me! Who do you think you are! What a Pharisee! If you loved me, you wouldn't say that!" ? So there I am, stuck in the car with you and you want to rebel. What you want to do is illegal and dangerous - but you want to keep doing it. Perhaps I am a more seasoned driver or even have a past checkered with piles of tickets and scars from a car wreck - but somewhere I learned my lesson, and now I am warning you to stop - for your sake and my own. Can you imagine my frustration if I was trapped in that car and you wouldn't stop? If we get hit and I get hurt or die - you are responsible. I know that according to God's Word there will eventually be a season where God wraps this thing up, reveals Himself and His kingdom reigns. I know from His Word that in the remaining years before His final coming it is going to get really, really bad. I also know that on the other side of all this mess awaits Paradise. In this knowledge is my hope and I rejoice - but it is still disconcerting to realize that of all the generations of Christians gone before you - you get to be in the one on the spiritual Titanic.

Like that car, I am sharing a country with you and you are disregarding laws made by the Creator Himself. You want to do what you feel like doing in spite of His written warnings -  and somewhere along the line, I may be a more seasoned Christian than you, I may even have a few scars to prove it. I am warning you to stop sinning for both our sakes, but you don't care. I'm trapped in a country with you and I can't get out  - and you won't stop. When I try to warn you - you insult me. When God turned over Israel to Babylon as captives for their sins, the beloved Daniel, as well the righteous Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had to go too. Yes, God was willing to let His righteous people suffer alongside the sinners to continue to reach out to them and to be His voice for Him. Just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said before being thrown into the fiery furnace - my God is able to deliver me - but He may choose not to - maybe for your sake, maybe for His glory - but my blood will be on your head.

You see, Godly love is not defined as indulgence or even tolerance. I dearly love my children, but that does not mean I allow them to do whatever they want. They are frequently told that what they are doing is NOT okay and must be stopped BECAUSE I love them and seek to protect them. Godly love is defined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Note Verse 6: Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the TRUTH. Jesus is the TRUTH, the Light, and the Way. Love tries desperately to rescue their loved ones from hell. Love does not tolerate false teachings about grace. Love tells the truth even when no one wants to hear it in hopes that someone will repent and be saved. Love is willing to suffer persecution and the misjudgments of others for the sake of their First Love: Jesus Christ.

Parents be warned: Mark 9:42 states that "whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea." Make sure your doctrine reflects the Scriptures accurately and not "what your heart tells you". Your heart isn't God. There are many "really nice" people who are going to hell. You don't go to heaven because you are a nice person. Everyone MUST be redeemed to go heaven. Believing in Jesus isn't even enough because the Scriptures say, "even the demons believe - and shudder!" (James 2:19) No, salvation is evidenced by a commitment to Christ and an obedience to His teachings. You aren't saved because you are so well-behaved. But when you are saved, you should be well-behaved because you are filled and led by the Spirit of God. You can be a very, very, nice unredeemed sinner - but the judgment is the same as a nasty one - hell.
Can one love the world and hate the world at the same time? Yes. John 3:16 states that God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son... and yet He warns us repeatedly to abstain from its wicked ways and false systems. God hates sin. I can dearly love sinners, even enjoy them and their company without participating in their sins or condoning and celebrating them - but that is tempered by the excruciating grief in knowing that if they don't repent - they will be lost forever. And most of all, if I TRULY love them, I will try to protect them by telling them the truth. 

But can I say two more things? I love God. I love Him. I want to please Him. I do not want to grieve Him. When He hurts, I hurt. Your sin also hurts me because you are hurting the One I love. When you rebel, you are hindering Him from doing what He was willing to die to do - save you

But the one your sin hurts the most, my friend, is you. And I care about you too.

Don't take my word for it - take His. There are so many Scriptures about this you can find for yourselves - but below are four I find especially fitting:
James 5:19-20 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
Ezekiel 39:23 - The Gentiles shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity (sin); because they were unfaithful to Me, therefore I hid my face from them. I gave them into the hand of their enemies, and they fell by the sword.
Hebrews 3:12-13 - Beware brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today", lest any of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
James 4:4 - Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.