There is no accusation nor is there animosity in this post. As a minister, a Christian leader, a church leader, and especially as one who stands each week to teach and proclaim faith in Christ, this is for me first and foremost. I am asking myself and you, are we quick to point out the wrongs in other’s life (especially those outside of Christ) to the point of ignoring that we all need salvation through the blood of Christ. Could it be that although we give lip service to this truth our words and actions loudly speak the opposite? This is a moment of honest self-reflection some needed self-examination that the apostle Paul encourages us to do, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:27) And, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2 Corinthians 13:5)
I share these quotes from Jesus without comment so you and I can simple see where our actions stand.
- But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:12-13)
- And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. (Matthew 12:7)
- You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'” (Matthew 15:7-9)
- But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” (Matthew 16:23)
- And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. (Mark 2:27)
- And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” (Mark 11:17)
- Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)
- And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. (Luke 11:39)
- And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. (Luke 16:15)
- He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)
- Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. (John 8:34)
For extra reading consider what Jesus said to the Pharisees in Matthew 23:13-33.
Do we need to warn people about the consequences of sin? – YES! Yet at the same time we need to remember our own weaknesses and help all see the beauty of the love of God in Christ.