Culture Featured Throwback

Christians, Stop Being the Moral Police

We aren't called to police the worlds behavior.

With the rise of social media and the ability to hide behind the anonymity of a screen, people have become more and more bold in standing up for their beliefs. Well let’s be honest, bold is the wrong term. People have become jerks about their beliefs. Unfortunately Christians haven’t been above this new found sense of boldness.

I think the bottom line is Christians are standing for truth without grace. Truth without grace is just cruel. While grace without truth is rather pointless. Tim Keller says it this way: Truth without grace is not really truth. And grace without truth is not really truth.

I recently searched the internet for what non-christians think about Christians. I came across this interesting article, What Non-Christians want Christians to Hear. The article features a dozen or so responses that the author received from readers about what they wish Christians would change. What’s interesting is that most of what the responders name has something to do with Christians holding onto truth without grace. In other words, Christians are trying to be the moral police for the world, and that needs to stop.

Stop Being Surprised How Non-Christians Act

We seem so surprised when non-christians act like non-christians. This has always baffled me about Christians. We seem so surprised when those that don’t follow Jesus act like they don’t follow Jesus. The problem isn’t their actions; the problem is that they don’t know the love of Jesus. Fixing their actions won’t change anything. Introducing them to Jesus will.

We need to stop focusing on peoples’ actions and start engaging their hearts. What if we got to know their story, who they are, and why they act the way they do before we ever talked about their sin?

The Problem Isn’t Sin 

The problem isn’t sin, the problem is the heart. Sin is a symptom of a much deeper problem. When we go around policing the world of the sin and bad morals we are focusing on the wrong thing. We can make someone look and sound like Jesus, and even pee in the “correct” bathroom, but that doesn’t make them a Christian. It’s just a facade, and we are trying to make them appear acceptable to us.

I suspect that it makes us more comfortable when everyone is behaving like a Christian. But that’s not what Jesus called us to do. Jesus wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty; he wasn’t afraid to walk into messy situations.

Listen, Jesus’ ultimate goal is not to stop everyone from sinning; it’s to bring people back into a relationship with him. It’s a heart issue not a sin issue. Now sin still needs to be dealt with because it keeps us from God and put Jesus on the cross. But getting rid of sin alone does not restore a relationship to God. I have found that God often captures people’s heart first and then deals with sin second. We’ve got to stop zeroing in on sin and instead focus on building relationships. People are not projects; they are people.

Jesus First Engaged the Person

Often we attack the sin we see, thus attacking the person. I know we don’t see it that way, but they do. We excuse our actions by saying “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” But our words and actions come off as attacks and not love. Jesus didn’t do that.

Can we just agree that we need to just simply go love people? It’s not our job to convert people and convict people. That’s God’s job. Our job is to go show the love of Christ to the world. Jesus seems more concerned with the people than he did their actions. He would eat with sinners (Matthew 9:10), which got him in trouble, yet today many Christians won’t even walk into a bar.

Let me be clear, we are called to call out sin… in other Christians’ lives. There are many verses about correcting a fellow Christian in their sin out of love with gentleness. However we are not called to judge the world. We are called to go show them the love of Christ, and let God convict them. We are called to engage the people not just point out their sin.

We Need 100% Grace and 100% Truth… Not 50/50. 

If you follow Jesus’ actions he was always acting out of 100% grace and 100% truth. He firmly stood for what is right, but it was in love. Often when we stand for what is right we are just being jerks (and hypocrites after all). We know we are right, so we throw it down everyones’ throats. Think of the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). Jesus didn’t condemn her. In fact he stood up to the people that were condemning her. He chases all her accusers away. Not until after all the accusers left, he calmly and loving told her to “go and sin no more.” Jesus didn’t give her a lecture. He didn’t point out every mistake she ever made, but rather he rescued her (grace) and told her to go and sin no more (truth).

I wonder if this same scenario was played out today with a homosexual person, or a drug addict, or worse yet a liberal. How many of us would be standing there accusing that person? How many of us would Jesus stand up to and chase away?

I once heard a pastor say this: If everybody loves you then you probably aren’t standing for anything. If nobody loves you then you are probably a jerk. The person that stands for grace and truth will have a little of both.

I think often we like to be the moral police because it makes us feel better about our sin. We can think, “at least I’m not as bad as them. At least I don’t struggle with that sin.” We judge our sins on a sliding scale thinking that if we can just be better than the bottom 50% then we will make it into heaven. That’s not how it works. All sin, even the white lie, separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2).  But Jesus’ grace covers even the worst of sins. Simply put, we are all sinners with no hope of salvation apart from God. We are all equal, nobody better nobody worse.

 

26 comments on “Christians, Stop Being the Moral Police

  1. Love this, thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been saying this for years, decades, and it has been falling on deaf ears. It’s not just non-Christians, it’s governments as well, why expect a secular institution to act in a Christian manner? Why expect non-Christians to (want to) follow Chrisitans when Christians do not act as Christians?

    How can we expect the world to be free of abortion if Christians have abortions?
    How can we expect people to give up gambling if Christians go into casinos?
    How can we live in an uncorrupted world if Christian politicians aren’t honest?
    How can we expect peace if Christian hands hold swords?

    Liked by 1 person

    • We often chase after the wrong thing. We try to make peoples actions conform to ours. But we fail to show them that there is a God that loves them. Jesus did the opposite.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent article

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I recently read in my Catholic Bible that “go and sin no more” was actually something added by another author long after the original author wrote the text. I think in a way omitting that addition shows Jesus giving an even stronger message (this is coming from a Catholic, who upon leaving the confessional would be told “Go and sin no more”). Interesting from my perspective in seeing two lessons from the same religion that kind of conflict if you see what I mean?.

    I tried to read your link “What Non-Christians…” and was linked to apple. Hoping you can redirect that to the article. We cannot teach the ways of Christ if we do not admit first our own experiences, faults and redemption. To follow Christ is to humble oneself. I struggle with some of my life story that I share, but I realize if I don’t share these experiences, my saying “God is good” is nothing but empty words, “a cymbal clanging”.

    Important words in your article. We need to walk with Jesus if we claim to be Christians. In all ways. We are not perfect (neither was Jesus, he showed his temper, a gift to show us perhaps that we can err and still make corrections?), but we are to strive to be the best we can be.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

    Liked by 1 person

    • I apologize for the link not working. I fixed that issue and it now links to the right article. My apologies!

      That is an interesting perspective if “Go and sin no more” was added. That would change a little of how to interrupt the verse. However the bottom line is still there that Jesus addressed the person before the sin.

      You mention that you think Jesus was not perfect as we are not perfect. What makes you think that he wasn’t perfect?

      Liked by 1 person

      • No worries. I knew if I mentioned it you would be able to fix it. I’m always fussing with something I post (or so it seems). Thank you for correcting. I am going to check that out as soon as I send this.

        Jesus human? The following verse says it in full, but I think there are examples throughout the bible, his behavior as written, the Holy Spirit entering Him at baptism, etc.

        1st Timothy Chapter 2v5-6″For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself as ransom for all.”

        Being human in no way lessens who the Begotten One, Jesus is. He is the one chosen by God. We are all His children, but Jesus Christ, the *begotten son of God* (at least that was the protestant bible reading I was taught as a child) – begotten means “chosen”. Jesus was “chosen” by God to bring us to Him.

        Like

      • That’s a good link. I hope more people read it. ~There is a Franciscan Priest that I reference at times, he runs a “contemplative” center. Richard Rorh. Though Catholic, he speaks for everyone and his thoughtline is very much along the lines of this short article, in combination with how we die unto ourselves and grow closer with God at various points in our lives. I currently take him is small doses, if you have time you might look him up. His views are at times considered radical (particularly by conservative Catholics).

        Like

  5. “Listen, Jesus’ ultimate goal is not to stop everyone from sinning; it’s to bring people back into a relationship with him. It’s a heart issue not a sin issue.”
    I this this statement is absolutely right. Unfortunately, many Christians would hold up their hands in horror. Unfortunately, as long as we continue to focus on sin first, we will do the opposite of what Jesus wants us to do; we will drive people away from the Father’s arms and away from the kingdom of God.

    Liked by 3 people

    • We get too hung up on peoples actions and miss their hearts. Jesus didn’t view people as projects he viewed them as people he wanted/wants to be in a relationship with.

      Like

  6. It can be so hard to separate the two you know? The heart from the action… we do need to always look to the heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s very hard… I think because it’s easier to focus on the actions. It’s less messy and easier to see. But Jesus wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.

      Like

  7. “1we are not called to judge the world. We are called to go show them the love of Christ, and let God convict them.”

    You say this so well….and you are absolutely spot on correct.

    May I re-post?

    Like

  8. You made excellent points. If Christians focused more on loving our neighbors instead of judging them, I imagine we’d see a massive revival and a lot of people coming to Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. thoughtcascadeblog

    The majority of the letters are written by Christians to other Christians, at the very least, people interested in living a faith based life … what des darkness have to do with light? Great read.

    Like

  10. “It’s not our job to convert people and convict people. That’s God’s job. Our job is to go show the love of Christ to the world.” Amen, Jeffrey. Jesus healed first and then said that sins were forgiven. We need to address the injury and witness of Jesus’ love; then we need to let God convict and touch the person’s heart. Only He can do so; that is not something that He has granted to us.

    Like

  11. Reblogged this on where the Lord leads and commented:
    “Truth without grace is just cruel. While grace without truth is rather pointless. Tim Keller says it this way: Truth without grace is not really truth. And grace without truth is not really truth.”

    Like

  12. We have to draw the lost with love and kindness, they are blind to the Word of Lord, so with our ways, our fruit we will win some. To our siblings in Christ, we cannot continue to take pleasure in our wrong doings and not have the heart to discipline; pray for, correct and help each other to stay the course, whom do understand. We can’t point a finger at the lost, and turn a blind eye to ourselves and the other members. We have multiple responsibilities here, let’s do them diligently. Win the lost with love and continue to pray for each other, the found.

    To our wavering siblings, bring them back.
    “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”
    James 5:19‭-‬20

    Like

  13. I completely agree. Christians have got to stop policing the world. We were meant to share the gospel and not be the judge nor jury. Many Christians have lost sight of that. We also need to be reminded that we share our faith with love as well. Great post!

    Like

  14. Pingback: Is Jesus Really That Concerned with Cussing? – rethink

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: