To condemn or condone

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Remember Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy? Well, these are some of mine. Don’t ask me where it’s coming from. I have no idea. Yesterday I got a pedicure; maybe all that scrubbing and scraping got my neurons firing, who knows. But this is my blog and I can opine if I want to. (Insert smiley face here so people won’t think you’re a jerk.)

We all think differently, we all believe differently. And none of us have it right across the board. We can’t simply adopt someone’s total viewpoint and make it our own, nor can we be so opinionated that we close ourselves off and won’t hear someone else’s heart.

So how do we think like Christians? How do we get it right? Do we just ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?”

Well, here goes the opine part: “What would Jesus do?” is a dumb question.

Come again?

In my opinion, the whole WWJD thing is flawed because people vary so immensely on what they think Jesus would actually do. And we are smart enough to argue our viewpoint that Jesus meant this, or Jesus meant that. Heck, we can find it ten ways in ten different translations.

Personally, I think fancy bible words make Jesus seem more meek and mild than He actually was. Remember, He did call the Pharisees a brood of vipers (Matthew 12:34), and He did overturn the money changers’ tables (Matthew 21:12). What’s the difference in that and walking into a store at the mall and calling all the people in there snakes, and kicking over the mannequins and dumping all the neatly folded shirts in the floor? Nothing, really. But bible language somehow softens the blow.

I think Jesus was tough when He had to be, gentle when it was appropriate, and called a spade a spade when it was necessary. He turned the question back to the accusers in John 8 when the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him the adulterous woman. He drew in the dirt while they contemplated His question, until finally they all went away and He told the woman, Go and sin no more (John 8:11). We know He didn’t condemn her life, but we also know that He didn’t condone her life.

How can we not condemn but also not condone? How can we find that balance of not bowing to sin, but not alienating the sinner?

I know that question has been asked a million times, and I’m sure that many, many ministers and Pastors struggle with it because they want people to come to their church, but they don’t want to be soft on sin. And let’s face it, when you preach Hell, fire, and damnation, people don’t really come flocking to your church.

I don’t believe you can be Switzerland either, because there is an absolute right and an absolute wrong. You can’t tell me that sin isn’t sin. Nor can you defect to Oprah-land and say that whatever is right to you, is right. I don’t believe that cuts it either, especially in terms of our salvation. There are NOT unlimited ways to Heaven. No one comes to the Father, but by me (John 14:6). That’s pretty black and white. Jesus is the way in.

So how do I figure out what side to be on?

To me, the side I want to be on is the side that lines up with the Word of God. The side I want to be on is the side that hates sin, but loves the sinner. The side I want to be on is the one that chooses to love people, and pray for them, and bless them, and forgive them, like I want to be loved, and prayed for, and blessed, and forgiven.

I know there is a way to love people, embrace people, learn from people, and be a blessing to people, but not compromise my heart or my convictions.

It’s a tightrope, for sure, but I am willing to walk it. Jesus died for people. People are worth it.

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