I have been the chief of all sinners when it comes to spewing hate and sharing how awful other people are. Maybe I’m alone in this sin. It’s one that ran deep into my soul until God turned me over to that sin and allowed me to take it to the pinnacle it needed to reach in order to lay me low to the ground, confess, repent and turn to Him and His truth rather than my own need to air the ugly in my heart or the ugly of others.
Yes, the chief among sinners must come clean. God has broken my desire to whip out words that hurt and speak poorly of others. He has called out the gossip and turned my stomach sour due to the stench it has caused in His kingdom. He shares with me truth that this journey in life is one in which we will all fall prey to the depths of sin if we don’t keep our eyes on him and even when we do, we are all still sinners saved by the grace of God.
So, why do we spew hate and harsh words against our brothers and sisters? Why do we think we are good enough to call out others whether they have confessed or not. Matthew 18 shares the truth of how we are to handle issues with our fellow sinners in the church – we are to talk with them in private, have others go with us to talk with them if they won’t hear the truth and then and only then, treat them as an outsider. I don’t see in that passage where we are to spew hate across the phone or internet lines. Even Jesus said ““Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” (Luke 18:19)
The world is so full of anger that we are all feeling the hurt and angst of it. Every Christian seems to be on the verge of falling apart from attacks or attacking others because our eyes on focused on the wrong thing – (whatever that thing may be) that distracts us from fulfilling the only thing we are truly here to do – “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).
Now, we have facebook, facebook groups, twitter, direct messages, private messages, email, texting, instant messaging, google groups, google hang outs, skype, skype private groups, skype messaging and the list goes on and on. All ways to interact with others across the world. More opportunity to gossip and tear others apart. It’s so easy to do this when you sit at a computer and think ‘no one will know’ or ‘surely, this person won’t repeat my words because they are doing the same thing’...
Yet, we forget – God is in the room. He knows.
Jesus spoke truth. He didn’t withhold it, but, He was Jesus. WE are not. We have His words and His truth, but we are not Him. He gives us no power, nor authority to judge others unfairly. He tells us in Matthew 7 that we will be judged by the same measure in which we judge others. He reminded the ‘teachers of the law and Pharisees’ who brought a woman caught in adultery (not the other party, obviously since she had been caught there was another party involved) – through whatever he wrote and by his words – “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). After he stooped low and wrote in the sand (of which man was made through Him) they dropped their stones and left.
Yes, Christians will fall. We live in a fallen world. But to call out others – to humiliate them and cast them out is part of what keeps the world at a distance to the Father. They see the hypocrisy in our own actions as we spew hate against others who have sinned and repented or even those who haven’t repented.
Should we speak truth? Yes.
Should we ignore sin? No.
Should we antagonize and force others to their knees because we have not committed the sins they have? Should we stir up hate and anger even if we are completely right in a matter?
These questions will be answered either on the day we decide that sharing mercy with others is more important than being right, or they will be answered when we stand in front of God as we cross from this sinful world into the arms of Jesus. We will all stand there. Our sins may be washed away because of your faith in Christ, but every moment here will have an eternal impact.
What will that impact be?
Will it be one that testifies our life was focused on loving our enemies (Matthew 5:44) and sharing truth with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15) even when others slander us (1 Peter 3:16)? Will we remember that we are all enemies of God who are only reconciled to God through the death of His son (Romans 5:10) so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9, 1 Cor 1:29-31)?
Every moment is one in which we can share truth in respect and gentleness. Everyday we have opportunities to bring light to the fact that even those who are considered leaders in the Christian world may sway a little from God’s truth. We can remember that we all have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and Jesus gave us a “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35.)
We can remember that each and every person was created by the Heavenly Father – who are we to say others have no right to experience his grace? Who are we to tattle tale?
That’s what we need to remember when we are tempted gossip privately or in the open about others. When we blame others for our own lack of faith in God. Our eyes should be on Him and we should be a reflection of Him. But, we must remember, we are NOT Jesus. If we follow someone else’s theology or ideology of how we should live, eat, breath, dress – whatever – we are following Man and not Jesus. If we follow a man and it causes harm, we can’t blame that person: truly we only have ourselves to blame.
WE should not be like Adam and Eve – blaming others for our own lack of keeping our eyes on God.
When we stand before Him, we won’t have the audacity to say “Yes, Father, I sinned, but this person told me to do this, or they were out saying/doing that”…
So, should we call others out?
That’s a question each person must answer for themselves. For me, the answer is no. I can’t think of a time when I have publicly or privately humiliated another person by calling them out, when they fell to their knees and said “Wow, YOU are so right.” If anything, I have witnessed the opposite… I’ve called out and I’ve been called out, harassed and hurt by words that no person had the right to speak against me, anymore than I had the right to speak against them. And those times drove me and those I have hurt to more sin and condemnation.
Those thorns will never go away. They are missed opportunities to share Jesus and his grace and mercy.
The thorns I have caused others not only hurt that person, but their family as well. Likewise, the thorns and arrows shot at me were not just felt by me, but my family.
This world is so angry… and I’m choosing to not be part of it. I’m choosing to remember that some Christians have been taught poor doctrine, some have been taught nothing and others have not been called to God yet. I am not here to identify where anyone is on their journey but to realize that each person is following some type of truth or lie. I have my own battles to fight within my own heart, have enough bad doctrine (to correct) and have to answer to Jesus myself for how I spend each moment on this planet. Whether or not I’m right won’t matter a hill of beans when I stand before Him and I can’t think I want my tomb stone to say: “She was right and she brought others to Christ through condemning them.”
I don’t believe in selling a ‘light’ version of Jesus. But, who am I to call out publicly the sins of others? Go to one another in love, speak truth based on Matthew 18, but do it with grace and respect. And if you can’t, then walk away because it may be that God opened your eyes to the sin of other so that you can address that very sin in your own life.
Our children are watching. The world is watching. More than that, God is watching. Is he pleased with what He is witnessing? Let that be the thought that rules our thoughts, actions and words – nothing more or less than pleasing our Father so that when we stand in front of Him, he can say “Well done, good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:23).Please note, this post contains affiliate links. See disclosure for full information