This morning, Pastor Wingard preached on the text, "He shall save His people from their sins." He went through some of Jesus' genealogy, pointing out who "His people" were: Rahab the harlot, Ruth the Moabitess (the Moabites were descendants of Lot by way of an incestuous relationship with one of his daughters), Bathseheba the adulteress. He then had us go to the passage where Matthew (Levi) the tax collector was called to be His disciple. He pointed out that Jesus freely mingled with publicans and harlots, not because He condoned their sin, but because He loved them and had come to be their Savior. Pastor Wingard made the statement, "I wish that every sinner in this town would come to our church to hear the Gospel." His whole attitude is one of unconditional love.
Why did that strike a chord in my heart? I have been thinking about the issue of judging people. In fact, I had a conversation with Frank about that very topic. He made the comment that while I do post a lot of "religious" content on my blog, it does not seem to be aimed toward hurting people. I am thankful to hear that perception of what I write. I see a lot of Christians who lose sight of loving the sinner while hating the sin and end up turning people away from Christ because of their harsh and judgmental attitude toward the person.
As Pastor Wingard said, how dare I (a fallen and lost sinner just like the rest of humanity) think that anyone is too sinful to be worthy of salvation? I need to be more like Christ - communicating His love for the sinner without condoning the sin. I believe that I am responsible to judge insofar as that judgment means discernment between good and evil. I am NOT called to judge (condemn) anyone. John 3 says that the world is already condemned. Hey, I am part of that world, and it is only by the blood of Christ applied to my account that God counts me righteous. I am no better than the "worst" sinner on Earth. As that old saying goes, "But for the grace of God, there go I."
My philosophy of Christianity is that I am to demonstrate Christ's love toward everyone, regardless of their manner of life. That does not mean that I agree with everything or everyone, but it does mean that I am not to be hateful when expressing my disagreement. It is possible to disagree without being nasty about it! I know I often fall short, but my desire is to be a reflection of Christ's love for mankind. I am so grateful that the Lord has placed us in Calvary Baptist Church and wish that more Christians would return to expressing Christ's love in their treatment of sinners and each other. I believe more people would be attracted to Christ if they actually saw His love demonstrated in our lives.