The Devotional I Didn't Want To Write
“If your brother or sister sin, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” Matthew 18:15-17
“My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” James 5:19-20
“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any sin, you who are spiritual should recall him in a spirit of gentleness. Look to yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Gal 6:1-2
This weekend (and last week) I have had a couple of conversations about accountability and responsibility – my accountability and responsibility to others to be exact. And you guessed it, both conversations revolved around gay marriage and the human equality debate, a topic that is up for ruling in the highest court in our country. The question I have been asked is why do I care and is it my business what others do. In today’s society, many of us try to lead a life independent of others. We believe that other people’s business is just that – other people’s business. For the most part, I do agree that each of us has been given the freedom of choice and will with regards to our lives. I also agree that each of us has the right to privacy to live life as we see fit. We are bound by laws that govern us that say the only time that right or freedom of will is impeded is when it involves the willful harm or negligent harm to others or other’s property. Otherwise, we are supposed to turn a blind eye towards any immorality or impropriety that we see. But that thinking is in direct opposition of what the Word of God tells us. For those that are Christian, we have been given different instructions. Why? I don’t know. Instead, those who are followers of Christ have been told specifically that we are to
1) Go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19);
2) Teach Christ’s commands for observance (Matthew 28:20);
3) Be both a preservative salt of the truth of God’s word and be a light to the world that showcases God (Matthew 5:13-16); and perhaps the hardest of all
Although Christ speaks specifically of our duty to those that are followers of Christ when it comes to correction, He was also very clear as to how our response is to be towards the world. Followers of Christ are not just morally obligated to warn/protect against the physical harm of others, we are also responsible for the spiritual harm and actions of others – at least from the point of correction and what we condone by our support or by the omission of our voice.
I will be upfront; I don’t know why Christ gave me, a fellow sinner, that responsibility. I don’t know why, but I know it is my responsibility. However, there is a fine line with that responsibility as well. The second greatest commandment (often erroneously referred to as the first) is to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31). That means whatever correction or truth is to be given, it is to be given in the spirit of LOVE. Also, it’s hard to correct others when we are all still sinners and will never be perfect. But that does not excuse us from the responsibility.
So, my fellow Brothers and Sisters of Christ: Do not be afraid to speak against sin in any format, but as you do speak, do it in love. We will be held accountable for what we speak just as others will be held accountable for what they receive. If you are having trouble with confronting sin in the spirit of truth and love, we would like to pray for you. Please submit a prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org. It is not easy standing for the Word of God, but it is a part of our responsibility.