CHRISTIANITY IS NOT ABOUT SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS
Are you using God like a shield so you can point fingers of blame? Do you look at the problems of the world and shake your head, tsk and think, “If they had Jesus they would not act like this.” Then my next words will make you feel uncomfortable. Being a Christian does not make you perfect. When God looks at you he sees his Son and not you. Christ is standing in as your mediator. A mediator is a go-between.
I Timothy 2:5 – For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man, Christ Jesus.
Thank God for that, because if it were up to us, we would never be able to work our way into God’s favor. When God considers all sin to be on the same level, from the little white lie to murder, we would be doomed if our salvation was on us to win. Even if we were given a mulligan each day, by lunchtime or earlier, we would have said or thought something that doomed us to God’s punishment.
Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God – not of works, lest any man should boast.
REMOVE JUDGEMENT FROM YOUR SPEECH
Since there is nothing we did or could have done to physically earn or buy our way into God’s redemption or grace, we have nothing to hold over another. Yet, when a Christian shakes her head at human suffering and conflict and thinks, “If these people just had Jesus then these problems would disappear,” it removes her from the responsibility for the problems that she sees. When a Christian’s answer to solving conflict in schools is to put the Ten Commandments on the walls, this too removes the person from feeling any personal responsibility for the problems he sees. These actions are lazy and not the response Christ taught.
Matthew 7:5 Thou hypocrite, first cast the beam out of thine eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of they brother’s eye.
DON’T SPEAK. LISTEN AND HEAR THE WORDS
Just putting a sign on a wall is not going to fix the problem. Just assigning blame to others is not going to fix the problem.
Mark 2:21-22 – No man sews a piece of new cloth on an old garment, else the new piece that filled it up takes away from the old, and the tear is made worse. And no man puts new win into an old wineskin [leather canteen], the new wine doth burst the wineskin, and the wine is spilled, and the wineskin is marred; but new wine must be put into new wineskins.
A problem is rarely created by a single event. It is the visual effect of a cluster of small events and actions. To fix problems requires restructuring the entire environment. It means admitting that the previous solutions were not a good fit. It’s admitting fault. It’s humbling the heart so that the mind opens up to listening to others and hearing their words. Not cutting ourselves off from those words by using God as shield and pointing blame at the ones talking.
Mark 4:24 – Take heed what you hear: with what measure you measure, it shall be measured to you; and to you that hear shall more be given.
RESIST THE INSTINCT TO COMPARE AND JUDGE
Why are we so quick to condemn others based on who they are and what they do under a religious justification of law and believe that God endorses our actions when we do this? Because this is our human nature. We like to compare and contrast. We like to divide and conqueror. But in reality God doesn’t take sides. He offers us grace. It’s our choice if we accept it or not. He does not force it upon us, so neither should Christians force it on others. Follow the example Christ gave us by stepping off the pedestal of judgement and coming into the crowds. Roll up your sleeves; listen to the voices of others; hold and support those who are hurting and scared; and work together to bring healing and hope back into our world through actively showing God’s love and grace to others.
Matthew 9:37-38 The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Pray ye, therefore, that the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth more laborers into his harvest.
The work of a Christian is not meant to be easy. It is the work of blood, sweat, and tears. Christ’s blood and our sweat, as we reach out to soothe the world’s tears.