We have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the Word of God deceitfully.
~2 Corinthians 4:2~
Alright. I’ve been wrestling with some issues lately. As a relatively new Christian (one who has only recently begun to understand some of the larger concepts like “love they neighbor”), I have to admit that there are still many areas where I am still going around the mountain. Having been a sinner of what I would consider massive proportions, I know that I certainly have no place to say anything about what is wrong with the people I know and love. I don’t even have justification in saying what I believe is wrong with those whom I don’t love. The problem is, I’m just so darned good at it.
I’m not trying to sound like a jerk, I’m just admitting that one of the things I used to be quite adept at was insulting people or cutting them to the quick with a well-timed criticism. Even worse, I often complained about people and their annoying habits when those people weren’t even present to defend themselves. Generally, I wouldn’t say anything about a person behind their back that I wouldn’t say to their face, but the point is that I grew up being very critical of others and often had no real reason to be other than some desparate need to police all things stupid. I had to be the authority on correcting the ways of the ignorant. Of course, this was because I know soooo much. Sure.
I’m finding this attitude to be a hindrance as I attempt to become a better, more loving, more accepting Christian woman. Joyce Meyer regularly testifies on her television show about having been a selfish woman. More to the point, a “selfish, Christian, preacher woman.” When she talks about how she used to be, I can see a perfect representation of a person who I am currently struggling not to be. I really do love people, yet I can’t stand it if they can’t conform to my personal idea of what is right. Unfortunately, the more I get into the Word, the more I have to ask God to help me not be plagued by a false sense of self-righteousness. I am loving and finally understanding what I read in the Bible and yet, I’m troubled by the way my mind is processing it all. I’m not sure what is going on, but I do know that the stronger we get in Christ, the more present Satan will be in trying to get us to misunderstand or misconstrue certain parts or all of what we are learning as we walk with Christ. I have no answers for how to deal with this and so, I turn to God.
His word tells me that in order to be a good Christian, I need to love others. Even more than I need to let them know what they are doing wrong; I need to love them. I need to genuinely feel compassion and understanding without judging them as people. I may judge sin, but I must not judge the person. That duty is reserved for God and I have no business playing judge, jury and executioner whenever I see what I recognize as sin. This is tough for me because there is a very fine line between what I consider to be tolerance and what I consider to be condoning certain behaviors. There are things with which I do not agree; some because they are against what God says in the Bible and some because I am still judging myself for my past transgressions and don’t see why anyone else should feel good about being as bad as I once was. I never said I was being reasonable. But the good thing here is that before I came back to Christ, I didn’t care that I was unreasonable. At least now, it bothers me and I want to be better. I can only attribute this to God’s healing and mercy. So now when I see something on Facebook or hear something on the radio that troubles me, at least I have the power to call on God for understanding and patience and I no longer feel the pressure to condemn that I once felt. That’s got to be good for something.
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
~1 Timothy 1:15 (New International Version, ©2010)~