This is a shocking idea and one that will make you realize that God’s job is above your pay scale. I picked up the idea last week in a news comment online. If you ever want to read putrid hate from people, read the online comments to any news article.
Here is the scenario: 1) A man has given his life to Jesus and has followed the guidelines for eternal salvation. 2) Same man has sexual issues (you pick it – there are plenty). 3) Same man rapes a woman. 3) Woman has no relationship with God. Has never given her life to Jesus. She doesn’t forgive the man who raped her. Hates him for the rest of her life. 4) Both man and woman die on the same day and stand at judgment together. They recognize each other. Man asks for forgiveness for what he has done. Woman refuses to forgive and spats hatred at him for what he did.
God walks up to the judgment stand. 1) The man has clearly sinned but he has confessed and repented and has given his life to Jesus. 2) The woman has not confessed or repented to anything and has not given her life to Jesus. She clearly has not forgiven the man for what he did.
Looking at this scenario strictly from Biblical outlines, the man will walk into heaven and the woman will walk into hell. True or false? If you don’t like this scenario, pick another – How about the guards in the concentration camps during WW2? How about the settlers and the Native Americans?
My pay scale of administering justice is very far from even imagining this. How about you?
You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.
We are currently in battles over bathrooms, gay weddings and a host of liberal issues. Some would call these 1st world problems. Since our country is wealthy and at peace we can take the time to argue over such trivial things. If we were at war or dealing with a natural disaster or famine we would never bother to spend time on such stupid subjects.
The point is, if we were fighting for our survival we wouldn’t worry about who was married or what bathroom they used. In a catastrophic world, we would be lucky to have any kind of bathroom. We probably wouldn’t have the luxury of having traditional weddings with cakes and photographers. Survival. That’s all we would be focused on.
What may be a sin in a 1st world may not be anything in survival mode. What may be disgusting in normal settings may be celebrated under extreme conditions. Eating a rat is repulsive to me but if I was starving, a rat may look pretty good. You get the point?
Now you may say sin is sin. True. But many rules go out the window when survival is at hand. I think Grace moves to a new level and Mercy definitely has new status. You just can’t condemn someone who is trying to survive. I don’t support looters but someone stealing a loaf of bread to feed their family . . . well….
You may think that you are living in 1st world reality with no real problems but we’re not. We are at war. People all around us are suffering and trying to survive. Sin is sin but don’t forget about Grace and Mercy. And while you’re at it, throw in a little Love. We’re not in Kansas anymore.
6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
Do you feel worse when you sin on Good Friday, Easter, Christmas or even on a normal Sunday?
Do you restrain on “sinful” behavior or feel more guilty on certain days?
How about some examples: Do you go to “R” rated movies on Saturday and avoid them on Sunday? Would you go to that same movie on Good Friday or Easter? How about right after church?
That book that you are reading – would you take it on a church retreat? Sell it at the Church’s yard sale or mission fundraiser?
Would you party on a normal Friday but not on Good Friday? How would you feel about getting drunk at Easter dinner?
Does any of that matter? Is sin a sin whether it is on a Sunday or Saturday or on Good Friday instead of Black Friday? Why do we feel more guilty sinning in church than at home? Why do people apologize for swearing in front of a pastor or priest?
Is God keeping score and making penalties higher on certain days? On the other hand, if you feel guilty about watching a “dirty” movie on Sunday maybe you shouldn’t be watching it on Saturday either.
1 John 1:8-9 (NIV)
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
You messed up. Bad.
You need to confess to your loved ones. You need to confess to God.
Will they forgive you?
Will you forgive yourself?
Will you stand again and move on?
How long will you beat yourself up?
If God says your forgiven, aren’t you?
Let it go and move. (and give yourself a break)
46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
A guest speaker approached a pulpit to speak. No one in the congregation had ever met him. He was slightly overweight – not obese, but definitely could have lost a few pounds.
He started off saying, “Good Morning, how do I look?” There was nervous laughter. He said, “You’re probably thinking that I need to lose 50 pounds and I then I would look great. C’mon, be honest. Except none of you know what I looked like before. You only see me standing here as I am today. You don’t know if I gained 50 pounds this year or lost 50 pounds. You are only judging me on what you see NOW. So what do you think, am I gaining or losing? You can’t tell can you?”
He let that sink in for a minute. “The truth is – is that I WAS 300 pounds overweight. I finally took hold of my life and through diet and exercise I have lost 250 pounds over the past several years.” The crowd roared with cheers and clapping.
When you see someone on the street, you don’t know if they are coming or going. Are they improving or are they falling? Is their life better or worse than a year ago? No one stays stagnant for long. Are they becoming a sinner or are they transforming into Jesus’ likeness?
A couple walks into the church – not married but living together raising a child from another man who does not know the child. Have they just come to the Lord or are they falling from a Godly upbringing? Are they trying to build a new foundation or are they still living on a crumbling one?
Are you gaining or losing? Improving or failing? Falling into sin or being transformed?
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NIV)
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory,are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
My last post was titled “Sin is Sin” – sins are equal in God’s eyes although we humans feel differently. We humans definitely have a sliding scale of what is a terrible sin and a little sin. The funny thing is that this scale shifts between generations and cultures. What is worthy of death to one may be a slight slap on the hand to another.
Regardless of what sin we are discussing, sin usually attracts more sin. Gossips attract more gossips and haters attract more haters. Once we fall into sin we also attract other sins that compliment what evil we are already doing – i.e. stealing and lying.
When I was a child, divorce and re-marriage wasn’t accepted in the church. They began a slide to acceptance in the 1960’s and they continue to this day. Right or wrong – it has been on the sliding scale. We opened the doors for divorced people in love but that acceptance fueled everyone’s attitude and acceptance to the point that it is okay for anyone to divorce without question.
One of the arguments that I recently heard about homosexuality was “I would be more willing to address homosexuality as a sin if the church would tackle the other areas of sexual sin – adultery, fornication, abortion, incest, pedophiles, molestation, rape, etc. If the church is not willing to admit these sins, it shouldn’t be against homosexuality. They are all sins and they are all equally wrong. Thirty Eight million people registered on an infidelity website, but don’t forget it’s the gays ruining the “sanctity” of marriage. Many of those people are sitting in our pews”.
Okay – so I’m permitted to steal because others in the church are cheating on their taxes? I can murder because there is gossip and malice in our sacred halls?
If you want to use that logic, you could stretch the idea that molesting or infidelity are permitted if we accept homosexuality. . . right?
Love everybody but don’t be blind. Sin is sin and it attracts more sin.
Romans 6:1-3 (NIV)
6 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
John was driving on the highway doing 70 in a 55 zone. Several cars passed him doing 75 or more. A state patrol pulled John over and gave him a ticket for speeding. John was outraged. He spoke up to the officer, “I know I was going over the speed limit but many others were going faster than me! Why didn’t you pull them over?” The officer looked at John and said, “You were the one that set off the radar gun. You were speeding. Does the fact that others are doing worse than you make your actions better?” The officer gave John the ticket and said, “please obey the speed limit and don’t justify your driving by someone who is driving worse than you. Have a nice day.”
Who’s sin is greater? Yours or theirs? Does it matter? Sin is sin.
Romans 3:22-24 (NIV)
22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Matthew 7:2-4 (NIV)
2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
Our janitor was cleaning the office the other day. He said “Steve eats a lot of candy”. “Why do you say that?” I responded. “His trash can is full of candy wrappers. Snickers, Milkyway, Hershey. His can is full of them.”
You can tell a lot about a person by going through their trash. That’s why criminals are looking there for identity theft. Our trash can tell a lot. It can be embarrassing. It can reveal hidden secrets.
It’s too bad we can’t shred our sins. Oh wait. We can.
What’s in your trash?
“Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.”
If we accept sin, at what point will we stop? None of us are without sin. We are not to judge. But we are to hold each other accountable and there are guidelines spelled out for our leaders.
If we change the rules and accept behavior that is contrary to scripture then we are on an open free fall to accept anything.
Acceptance to alcohol has changed numerous times over generations and cultures while it has always been a given that murder is sin. As a culture unravels sin and opens doors to new acceptance levels new issues will be examined. Not all of these issues will be sin of course and may be a cultural or religious bias.
Here is a plain example. In the early 1900’s it was unaccepted (sin) for women to display ankles in public. That accepted dress level rose through the century until almost everything was exposed! At what point was exposure sin – It depends on who you ask.
We are a sinful bunch and we will continue to push the limits. We need to pray and seek wisdom over how we deal with issues in the body. Are we being judgmental or are we following God’s direction? Are we being prudish and self righteous or are we demanding Godly behavior? Are we demanding too much from leaders or are we holding them accountable? If we open the doors to what has been considered sin by previous generations are we opening doors for more sin?
Finally – are we divided about allowing believers to buy insurance, drive cars, watch movies, drink, smoke and swear; or are we going to allow leaders to be murders and idolaters?
It’s not a fun subject but we need to ask.
If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
No matter how much the world pushes me to accept “new” views; No matter how much pressure we are under to alter our beliefs; no matter what new idea comes along; this passage continues to well up inside me. I will continue to love all those that God created. I will continue to admit my sin and short comings. But where do we stand on the last verse of chapter 1? Where?
Romans 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.