The Real Problem

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.

9 Replies to “The Real Problem”

  1. I completely agree. In this way, lj has been very important in my life. When I befriended Bethany, she was the biggest wake up call. She DRANK! And didn’t think anything of it. I almost unfriended her because of it, but I decided to give her a chance. I’d already learned a lot about people since college, and felt I should get to know her. I may not agree with things friends do, but I don’t have to. I can have my standards, and there’s nothing wrong with them, but I can’t judge other people by them. Unless it’s in black and white in the Bible, I should keep my mouth shut. There are a lot of gray areas, and it’s so easy to want to impose our standards on others, when our main goal in life should be to share the gospel. Sure, I should want to help others live a better life, but for me to judge them is a sin itself.

    1. You stated everything so well that all I can say in response is “Yup.” =)

      It’s a hard thing to learn, though. I struggled a lot with the drinking thing too and to be honest, I’m still not entirely okay with it. But that’s because we have alcoholism problems in my ancestry, so I know the consequences that drinking can have on multiple lives. That’s part of it too… knowing WHY you feel so strongly about some things. Both parties have a responsibility… one not to judge, the other not to make the first person uncomfortable. I appreciate it when my friends who drink don’t do it around me out of respect for my sensitivity. But if they do, it’s not my place to frown on it.

      1. No, I’m not okay with it, either. There are several things that I don’t agree with different friends on, but in those instances, we really do have to agree to disagree. It’s not life or death, and really, we’ll all answer to God one day.

  2. This has been a slow lesson for me to learn. I was more judgemental in my teens and early twenties then I am now. At least, I hope that’s the case. But sometimes it’s still a temptation to judge. I struggle especially with a friend, or acquaintance, of mine who is a Christian and is neck deep in the zombie phenomenon. It irks me. It doesn’t sit right. But should I judge him? I don’t know. It’s almost a head-banging-on-desk moment.

    It seems, though, that what I really need to do is just let it go. I have enough “planks” in my own life to worry about that I shouldn’t be stressing over this “speck” with an acquaintance. As you said, God will take care of him. Argh, it’s just so hard sometimes!

    1. Zombies are so not cool. He should be into vampires, because undead people who suck blood are way more Christian than brain-eating zombies. 😉

      Seriously though, it’s hard not to judge. It is hard-wired into our proud human nature. We all struggle with it — there are times when I can do nothing except cry out to God and say, “HELP ME WITH THIS,” because I don’t want to be one of “those” people!

      1. *snort* I’m doing better concerning the zombie thing. I don’t see him that often and like you said, vampires are soooooo much more Christian-friendly than zombies. *eye roll* I’ll always remember his concerns when I told him I was going to watch Buffy for the first time. I detected a hint of panic that I would change. *laughs* Now he’s done something of the same thing to me, but oh well. It’s ironic how our roles switched.

  3. I think there is a lot of truth in this post, Charity.

    As Christians, as friends, as family, there are always going to bet things we disagree with one another about – we are all different people. However, just because someone thinks “The Hunger Games” is fine within the entertainment realm and someone else doe not, that doesn’t immediately mean that person isn’t a Christian. Some things do warrant “concern,” this topic might not be one of them – in some situations. I do think the context of the series should be taken seriously but if we can separate it as “entertainment fun” and not lump it with Christianity, that is a step in the right direction. The sad thing is that most young people don’t have a parent helping them realize these things.

    1. One of the biggest things Christians struggle with is pride; the belief that because we are (or aren’t) involved in some things, that we must be better believers than the people who aren’t (or are). C.S. Lewis said that pride is the root of all sins. I can believe it, since it is certainly the hardest to get rid of. Being a fan of “The Hunger Games,” or “Harry Potter,” or whatever, does not make you a bad Christian. Christianity is about more than our choices in entertainment. Our choices should reflect our faith, but our choices do not define our faith.

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