Blogging about the Sweetest Things in Life

Reflections on the extraordinary moments of an ordinary Mother.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Encouraging Others in Sin?

Have you seen this meme?  It appeared on my newsfeed a few times and at first I found myself nodding in agreement.  A very large part of the Lutheran culture is rooted in the recognition that we are all sinners and that the bible is really clear that all sins are equally egregious to God. "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it."   James 2:10

Let me backtrack just a moment, using the term "sin" automatically implies a religious perspective.  If you are an atheist, then your probably not referencing something as a sin and this conversation will be a mute point for you.

The Apostle Paul discusses this in Romans Chapter 2  "You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things."  He goes on to point out that God is the only one that is Righteous enough to judge, because not one of us is perfect. 

Of course that's not the end of the story.  There was someone who WAS perfect, because he is God.  That would be Jesus, who was born into human flesh so he could live a sinless life in our place.  So that he could take the punishment we earned, in our place.  So that we can have the eternal life HE earned FOR us.

Back to the meme.  Understanding and recognizing that we are all sinners, and that someone else's sins are no different then ours is key.  It is a big deal.  It is true.

How this meme is being used isn't necessarily true though.  It seems every time it pops up it's with an agenda attached.  Instead of pointing out that we are all sinners, it's being used to say "you can't say/think anything about me, because you're a sinner too" and acts as a justification for the perpetuation of a sinful life.  Therein lies the crux of the issue, in the attitude of the heart.

I have plenty of sin in my life.  It's often the sneaky type I have to pray most about, stubbornness,  patience, priorities.  What do I do?  Repent, pray, work on it, repeat.  I think I'm getting better, but I'll never be perfect.  I call that being realistic.  What I don't do is shrug my shoulders and go on about my life.   I don't go about celebrating and proclaiming it, either.  I certainly don't go encouraging other people to embrace their stubbornness, or conceit, or [fill in the sin].  I hate it.  I want to change it.  I'm stuck in the same battle Paul talks about.  "For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."  Romans 7:15.    Truly it would be easier to hack off a limb and be done with it then to constantly battle myself, but it's not my limbs that are my disease.  And luckily I know the medicine that helps me, it's God's Word.  Often He just says, "be still, and know that I am God".  Like I sometimes tell me kids as I hold them, "shhhhhhh".  Just "shhhhhh" and let me hold you.   It really does help, both them and me.

I know I don't *have* to be perfect but I know God made me to be perfect and I want to show my gratitude for Jesus offering himself as a sacrifice for me.  One of the ways I can show that gratitude is to strive to be closer to perfect.  Part of getting closer to God's plan for me is to flee from sin, to squash it every time I can, to celebrate every victory over it and not to lose myself in self pity for those times I fail, but to simply say to God,  "I'm sorry, please forgive me and help me to do better next time." 


By the same token promoting or encouraging my friends in their own sinful nature is...  well about the least friendly thing I can think to do.   Why would I want to encourage someone I care about to continue going farther from God.  I won't hate them, I won't speak ill or be mean, I won't judge them, but I won't encourage them either.  My job is to love my neighbor as I love myself.  I will pray for them and I will gently speak God's truth in love.  I may share my own struggles, my comfort in God's Grace, and my sincere hope they come closer to God's and find his Will for them.  

My continuous goal as a Christian woman and Mother is turn away from sin and towards Christ Jesus, and to encourage each and every person I know in the same way.   

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