Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tough Stuff Tuesday: Prejudice

Last week we talked about homosexuality and our response to it. If you missed it, you can check it out here. This week, as a sort of follow up, I think we need to examine a problem...a problem with our hearts.

We know that God shows no partiality (Rom. 2:11). Why then do we, as Christians, show partiality and prejudice toward certain sins? I am by no means saying that we should ever accept sin in our lives or the lives of other people claiming to be God's children. We should never revel in the fact that we have sin in our lives, but should instead confess that we have sin (1 John 1:9) and do as Jesus commanded the woman caught in adultery, "Go and sin no more" (John 8:11). We should, however, treat all sin the same: as something that separates us from God. No sin should be classified as better or worse than another.

We should hate all sin. We cannot love God and love [practicing] sin, too (Mt. 6:24). To be a true child of God's, we have to constantly try to abstain from sin and keep ourselves unspotted from the world (James 1:27). Just because we know that Jesus' blood cleanses us, does that mean we should keep on sinning? I think Paul covered that pretty well in Romans 6. When we put on our Savior in baptism, we die to our previous sins and no longer live in them (v 2). That goes for all sin.

A lot of Christians want to bash the sin of homosexuality. How consistent is that, when some of our favorite TV shows portray womanizers, adulterers, fornicators, murderers, and the like? We want to bash the sins that we don't struggle with, yet when it comes to something like breaking the speeding laws or illegally downloading music, we want to look the other way. Christians, it shouldn't be this way!

Is it ok to be partial to certain sins and consider them 'lesser sins' simply because everyone is involved with them? We know the answer is no. If we are truly trying to walk in the light as He is in the light, we are going to put off all kinds of sins. The 'little stuff' and the 'big stuff'. The 'hard stuff' and the 'easy stuff'. If we want to get to heaven, we have to stop making the sins in our own lives small and blowing the sins of others out of proportion. Jesus condemns such actions (Mt. 7:3-5).

I think it's a heart problem, and one that I struggle with on a regular basis. Our hearts are filled with prejudice. We are all different and no doubt have different prejudices. Some of us may be prejudiced toward certain types of individuals, others toward certain types of sins--the possibilities are endless. As God's people, we need to rid our lives and our hearts of prejudice. We need to see people as souls, regardless of their circumstances or the sins that they are caught up in at the time.

If we try to reach out to those who have not known the gospel and power of Christ, yet only try to reach those who appear 'pretty clean' already, we're wrong. I struggled with that sentence as I was writing, wanting to fluff up the ending and make it sound less harsh, but there really aren't any other words that fit. When we pick and choose who should and should not receive the gospel, we are wrong. ALL have sinned, ALL need the gospel. Take a look at the list in 1 Cor. 6:9-10 and see the types of sins the Christians at Corinth were caught up in before they were washed. We cannot keep the gospel from people because they are homosexual. We cannot keep the gospel from people because they are murderers. We cannot keep the gospel from our friends that are 'pretty good people', because they need the gospel too.

In 1 Cor. 6:11 Paul says "and such were some of you." When you put on Jesus in baptism, you give up the life you were leading. You turn and walk a completely new way. Some of those people WERE homosexuals, but they were washed and when they were, that had to stop practicing homosexuality. Some of those people WERE adulterers, but they had to stop acting out sexually when they put on Christ. The list goes on and on. When you are washed, you have to abstain from sin. Any sin. All sin. Just because the sin appears small in your own eyes doesn't mean it's okay to keep practicing.

We have to stop being prejudiced in the church. We have to stop glorifying certain types of sins and treating some like they're the plague. No sin is so great that Jesus' blood cannot cleanse it, and no sin is so insignificant that it does not need Jesus' blood to wash it away.

This week, pray that your heart will be free from prejudice. When it is, I'm sure that doors of opportunity will be opened so that you can help someone see Jesus that maybe wouldn't have seen Him in you before.

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