Misplaced Focus

5440993508_ea9b4a5044_zA friend was telling me about a new friend they had made in their college class. He had liked a lot of her religious posts, most of them being from our church. It turns out, he’s gay.

“Great, invite him to come. He appears to be receptive, and this is a good church for him to try.”

We’re diverse, with many races and cultures, along with ministries for people in recovery, single moms, older people, a lot of kid’s ministries, families, grieving people, people going through a divorce, homeless people, and on and on.

We also don’t hammer people with the so-called “clobber passages” on homosexuality. My church loves people to Jesus. We know sinners are going to sin, yet we will hold Christ-followers accountable for unrepentant sin.

People make a mistake when they focus on one particular sin and forget the rest. Generally, they focus on the more visible ones.

C.S Lewis wrote at the end of chapter five and the start of chapter eight in Mere Christianity about how we focus on the visible sins and ignore the inner ones.

“Finally, though I have had to speak at some length about sex, I want to make it as cs lewisclear as I possibly can that the center of Christian morality is not here. If anyone thinks that Christians regard unchastity as the supreme vice, he is quite wrong. The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins. All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronising and spoiling sport, and back-biting, the pleasures of power, of hatred. For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become. They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self. The Diabolical self is the worst of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But, of course, it is better to be neither.” pg. 88-89

“You may remember, when I was talking about sexual morality, I warned you that the center of Christian morals did not lie there. Well, now, we have come to the center. According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkeness, and all that are mere flea bites in comparison: it was through pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.” pg. 103

He has a point. In Romans 1:18-32, Paul has a list of a lot of sins. I’m going to bold every sin mentioned. Every one of them that I have committed myself will be in blue.

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

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.”

There is quite a bit of blue on that list. It’s not the only list in the New Testament, either.

Call sin what it is—sin. However, don’t do it as judge, jury, and executioner. Instead, do it as someone who has been pardoned and had your record wiped clean.

That’s what every Christian is because Jesus-who didn’t have to save you-died for you. Show the same grace that he showed the adulterous woman.

download“At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.

John 8:2-11

He didn’t condemn her. He forgave her because he was going to take on her condemnation. Then he told her to sin no more: grace and accountability.

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