Sometimes, a sermon comes along that slaps you right upside the head, and makes you see what God has been trying to teach you all along. I’ve been hovering on this realization for a long time, dancing around it, entertaining thoughts of it, courting it, if you were, trying to decide if it was worth my time. But today, I finally embraced it. I accepted it. I came to peace with it. And now I’m going to slap you with it:
We, as Christians, need to stop pointing fingers at one another. We need to stop fighting, and playing the holier-than-thou game. You know why? None of us are holier than one another. Each of us is a dirty rotten sinner, and it isn’t through our high standards that we are saved, but through the mercy of Christ.
Right now, I’m watching Christians shred one another over The Hunger Games. I admit it: I was even on Team Moral Superiority myself for a few days. You see, HG troubles me. But because I am troubled by it doesn’t mean I am morally superior or more “in tune with God” than someone who isn’t troubled by it. You see, I’ve been on the other side of things too. Remember Harry Potter? Same thing happened. Some Christians defended it. Some Christians slammed it. There were book burnings and finger pointing and plenty of “holier than thou” juice to go around. I know for a fact that my personal salvation is not at risk reading a book series about a bunch of kids with magic freeing dragons, befriending house elves, and turning buttons into beetles. So how can I question someone else, whose current book of choice is about a futuristic society channeling Ancient Rome?
This is nothing new, though. Paul dealt with it in Colossians. He said, “Stop beating up on one another because he drinks, and you don’t, or she likes shell fish and you don’t, or this person celebrates Christmas and you don’t.” (Okay, so that was a modern paraphrase, but you get it, right?)
In other words, if it isn’t essential to salvation (and the only requirement for that is repentance and acceptance of Christ) it doesn’t make a darn bit of difference, and we have no right to look down on one another for it. It’s been a long, hard road, but God is slowly teaching me that, “Honey, the standards I set for you are not the same as I set for everyone else. Don’t worry about them. Just obey what I tell you to do.” Me looking down my nose at someone for watching this or that, which doesn’t fit my standards, isn’t good. Me questioning whether or not they are saved because they drink, and I don’t, isn’t good. My high horse might seem mighty fine, but I have no right to a high horse, because I’m no better than anyone else.
What is written in scripture goes. The things God tells us are sins are still sins, and as Christians we are commanded to abide by them. Murder, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, theft, covetousness, pride… the list goes on and on. What it does not say is, “I give you permission to judge one another’s reading habits.” That’s a bit like worrying about a splinter in your friend’s eye while you have a beam in yours. Don’t worry about that person. If their entertainment isn’t right, God will square that with them. You don’t have to. I don’t have to. All I have to do is mind my own business, and trust that He is going to show me the plank in my eye.
This week, he did. It hurt, but I guarantee that my life will be better for it.
So please, stop throwing rocks at one another. Society at large is already throwing them at us – we don’t need to help them do it.