Friday, August 06, 2010

Sinning to Death

This weekend we wrap up our study in the book of James with his admonishment to the church to confess trespasses, pray for one another and even be willing to confront the wayward.  As I worked this week to wrap my mind around this concept and its implications, I was reminded of the fact that to do this requires that I give up the hope of a "normal" life.  What normal person confesses to another person,  what normal person makes it a habit to confront sin?  Normal people don't interfere with someone else's private life, normal people don't whip out the sandwich boards and bullhorns. To live the Christian life, we are to be peculiar.

Someone reminded me of this earlier this week as they related the sentiments of a co-worker that said "You Christians hate everybody."   The reality is that what is often seen as hate is the most self sacrificing form of love. It would be so much easier to pretend to love you by patting you on the back and encouraging your sin, or patting you on the head and making light of your ignorance.  I don't want to be seen as a hater.  I don't want to stand out as the nut-case Christian.  I don't want others to see me, and groan.  I am tempted to sit still and be quiet.  I am tempted to mind my own business.  I am tempted to live and let live.

But I am called to make a difference.  I am called to love people as I love myself.  To place my love for God and His Gospel above all that this world has to offer.  God's word teaches that there is a sin that is unto death.  It is possible for a person, a culture, or a nation to sin itself to death.  We are called to confront a world gone wrong.  We must accept that what is seen as love is actually hatred, and what is loving will be at first seen as hatred.  The doctor who gives the vaccine, or sets the broken arm, know this very well.  The momentary pain and "hatred" they inflict is for the long term good.  In fact, inflicting pain is the most loving thing they can do.  The man on the side of the road screaming at the cars driving by is seen as a lunatic, until the driver learns that the bridge is out.

We must be willing to love.  We must understand that our friends and family are sinning themselves to death and that God has placed us where we are to shine as lights in the darkness.  Harsh, is the unfortunate reality.  Hatred is the perception. But love is the responsibility for every one who claims to know the Truth.

James 5:19

19Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 
20let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.