May I step away from writing about women and homemaking for just a bit? This one is a bit of a stronger topic.
Yesterday, I read this blog post by Matt Walsh. I really enjoy reading his posts. He doesn't hold back and he addresses current issues and applicable truths in today's society. He gets a LOT of backlash for what he writes.
Sometimes, I say I'm the female version of him, because in my mind, and sometimes in conversation with my husband or a close friend, I get just as passionate about the same topics. I'm working on being more meek and gentle and quiet, though, so I try to remember I am a woman, and I want to keep from becoming hard in my heart, or in my tone.
Today, though, I want to say this...
The one argument people use against what Matt Walsh says comes directly from Scripture: "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged......forgive, and ye shall be forgiven" (Luke 6:37). I will tell you that this verse from Luke is absolutely true! The story of the man who was forgiven a huge debt but then went to collect a small debt owed to him is an eye-opener for us all!
In Matthew, chapter 18, we read that, because this man did not forgive the small debt owed to him, the one to whom he owed much more remembered his debt and required him to pay it after all. And Jesus tells us that the same goes for us: "So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."
"Judge" means to punish, or assign a consequence, for the offense. "Forgive" means to pardon the offense, and to not give a consequence.
Here's the thing. When a believer says something is a sin, be it sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, lying, stealing, etc., we aren't judging anyone by saying that. We are stating what has already been said by God Himself. He decides what is sin. There's no reason to debate or even discuss this issue--because He is the super-majority.
When people say "we should love each other and forgive each other", they are absolutely right. Yes, if someone wrongs me, I am to forgive them, without hesitation, "seventy times seven" times (Matthew 18:22).
But what if the person hasn't wronged me, but has sinned (against God and/or someone else)? Am I to forgive then? Do I even have the power to forgive someone for sinning against another--especially sinning against God? I don't think I do! Because HE is the one to assign the consequence for that. He IS the Judge.
That's where sharing the gospel comes in. The first step is to identify and accept that we have all sinned (Romans 3:23). Without understanding that we are sinners, do we really understand our need for a Savior??? We aren't waiting for His return like we might wait for the Publishers Clearing House man to show up on our doorstep with a huge check. We aren't waiting for Him like we might wait for the FedEx guy to deliver that package we've been waiting for.
We are waiting for the return of the One who went to the cross and gave His life so that we can have eternal life with the Lord! After we realize what He has done for us, we will not WANT to sin anymore!
But we have to call sin what He calls it--sin. In the garden of Eden, when God confronted Adam and Eve and asked, (I paraphrase His question) "Did you do what I told you not to do?", they didn't own up to it. Instead, Adam said, (I paraphrase again) "well SHE gave it to me". And then Eve said, "but that snake gave it to me". Neither one said, "Oh no--I have sinned!" They didn't call their actions what they were--sins against their Creator.
So what do we do if someone we know is sinning? We love them, yes. We love them even while they are sinning, yes. But do we love them enough to tell them that the consequence for sin is death? THAT is love, too.
If we only show them nice love, but never share the Truth with someone, we are simply loving them to death!
The Truth is that the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23) God requires death as the payment for sin.
The truth is that we need to, as Jesus preached, "Repent!", which is to turn from our sinful ways! (Matthew 4:17) Obedience is the evidence that we know God (1 John 2:3).
The truth is that we need a Savior, who paid the price of death in our place! Praise the Lord!
Then, genuine salvation leads to a desire to do what God wants, and a desire to not sin.
What Matt Walsh wrote is all true of our Savior, Jesus. He really did all of those things. But He did not tolerate sin. He did not tolerate wronging His Father. He did not encourage the woman who was caught to keep on doing what she was doing because He loved her anyway.
Instead of tolerating it, He forgave her, which wouldn't have been necessary if it was not sin. And He said, "Go and sin no more!" (John 8:11) That statement, in itself, acknowledged that her behavior was sin. So, in essence, He has said, "I forgive you for committing adultery....now don't do it again!"
We are also not the One who can forgive those sins. Forgiveness must come from the one who was wronged. If someone were to hurt you in some way, you would have to forgive them for that offense. If I forgave them--for hurting you--it wouldn't be proper restoration of the relationship between the two of you.
I can forgive you for doing me wrong. And I can lead someone to begin or restore their relationship with their Creator if they are living in sin. But I can not forgive someone for sinning against God. He can, and will, if it is acknowledged. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
IF we confess our sins. IF we call it what it He calls it.
And when we say, "Lord, I have sinned against You. Please forgive me!", then, and only then, do we see our Savior saying, "I do not condemn you--now go and sin no more!"