I have been in South Africa for the past two weeks now. I was in Durban to be precise, on a tour with my church choir and pastor’s wife. We had such an amazing time of ministry. God really showed up where ever we went to minister. One of my highlights going there was connecting with friends of mine who are in University in Durban. It was great catching up with them. As we were having fun,the issue of grace in context of sin came up. There were many solid arguments that came up and I left that day with a greater understanding of grace and how we should be more understanding with people. As Christians our model is Jesus.
Is there sin that is more abhorrent that the rest? In my country homosexuality is up there among the seven deadly sins. What I am addressing is how we as Christians deal with people who are involved in the “unspeakable”sins. So having an affair is not so bad compared to homosexuality, someone would think.”How dare he come to church. He is gay and he should be stopped from coming to church”. “What nerve she has, coming to church when she is a prostitute. ” There are so many people who think they can judge certain people because their sins are among the “unspeakable.”
Jesus had to deal with the same mind set in His day.
Early in the morning (at dawn), He came back into the temple [court], and the people came to Him in crowds. He sat down and was teaching them,
When the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery. They made her stand in the middle of the court and put the case before Him.
Teacher, they said, This woman has been caught in the very act of adultery.
Now Moses in the Law commanded us that such [women-offenders] shall be stoned to death. But what do you say [to do with her-what is your sentence]? John 8:2-5
Let us think about this for a moment. The Pharisees brought a woman who was caught in the very act of adultery and it was considered bad to the extent that the offender was to be stoned! Did the Pharisees sin, yes! But they didn’t see sin as sin and because of that they thought they had the right to judge the woman.
Let’s look at how Jesus dealt with the Pharisees.
However, when they persisted with their question, He raised Himself up and said, Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her. John 8:7
We know the rest of the story. One by one being convicted, each person left and Jesus himself did not condemn her. So what am I saying. We need to be more understanding and patient with all people. We can’t be patient with someone who has just had a divorce but then separate ourself from someone who has murdered. What we need to do is look into ourselves and ask ourselves, what do I find detestable? Once you answer that question put that sin in place of adultery in the story I shared. What if a homosexual was brought to Jesus that day? I believe He would of said the same thing to the Pharisees. What if a murderer was brought before Jesus, I still believe the answer would be the same. If we are going to make an impact in the world we need to extend grace to all people. We extend grace because Christ extended His grace to us. What if He just left us? We would be dead with no hope. It’s because of His love and grace that we have a hope and future. As Christians we cannot spend our time judging people when we all sin.
This is the conclusion. Sin is sin. we have no right to judge someone else just because we think their sin is a lot more atrocious than our own sin. Yes, we confront sin. If someone is doing wrong tell them but don’t let a person’s sin stop you from loving that person. Jesus told the adulterous woman to go and sin no more but before that, He gave her a chance. He did not condemn her. Are we condemning before even giving that person a chance? And that is my challenge to you.