The Only Way to Love Sinners

“My friends are poor, rich, straight, gay, lesbian, homophobic, liberal, conservative, racist, Muslim, Christian, Agnostic, Atheist, addicted and clean. I’m trying to love them like Jesus loves me.”

said the meme on my Facebook wall, shared by someone close to me, also a professing Christian, teacher at a Christian school, and Sunday School teacher.

The meme is supposed to convey one message: “I don’t judge anyone. I just love them as they are, because Jesus loves me.” And everyone nods and says, “Amen.”

But that message is couched in a horrible misunderstanding of the true gospel, which ultimately, is the most hateful thing in all the world. And worse, it is the prevailing message of the modern church.

How does Jesus love me?

He died for me. If I were OK just as I am, the Son of God got the worst verdict in history. His tortuous death would be useless. He died so that I could have life, so that I would not have to face eternity in hell, because I was not OK. He had to die because my sins are so heinous to a holy God that a price is demanded. He stepped into my place and paid the price for me. Sin is that serious.

Which is why most of Jesus’ ministry here was spent saying, “Repent and believe.” That message came from the gut-wrenching love that couldn’t bear to think His death was for naught.

And if our love doesn’t come from that place, it’s no love at all.

Love is not love if it simply wants to be your friend, “just as you are.” Jesus never wanted us to stay as we are. We are doomed as we are. Our only hope is repentance and forgiveness.

And love is only love that seeks to warn, plead, point and lead others to the cross where they can put to death the deeds of the flesh that evoke God’s wrath.

And just like the often, mis-represented story of the adulteress dragged before her accusers, we must say with Jesus, “I do not condemn you. Now go and sin no more.”

I grieve for a generation of professing Christians who do not speak like Jesus or love like Jesus. More than that, I grieve for those led astray, right to the wrath of God, because of our skewed idea of the Gospel and our unwillingness to love as Jesus loved, urging our “friends” to repent and be saved.

 



45 Responses to “The Only Way to Love Sinners”

  1. amy says:

    You said this perfectly!

  2. Nikia says:

    “I’m trying to love them like Jesus loves me”

    They are trying to love their friends like Jesus loves them, as instructed in the Bible. The conversation in your own head is twisting it into something wrong Kelly. Addicts aren’t going to recover in a day- saved or not. We should move (far) away from all the politics and gay issues. The message of Jesus was to care for the poor and hungry- more than 300 verses. How many talk about homosexuals?

    • Laura(yet another) says:

      Nikia, I’d like to respectfully disagree with your premise that Jesus’ message was to help the poor and hungry. Jesus purpose and message was to seek and save that which was lost (ie US!). What do we all need saved from? Ourselves. The sin nature that so constantly makes us stumble… our rebellious hearts… Jesus’, as the Lamb of God, came to make atonement for the sins of many, by encapsulating the verse, “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.” He provided the blood and the remission of sin on our behalf. Also, we need to remember that He came to save us from God’s JUST wrath. The only thing we deserve from God is judgement–me, you, and even Mother Theresa in our natural selves ONLY deserve judgement. God is bridging the gap FOR US, because we cannot bridge the gap ourselves, and as the Creator who loves us with an unfailing love and showers mercy and grace on us, and desires to restore that which was lost at the beginning (with Adam/Eve). The messages that Jesus gave about the poor and hungry are instructions concerning what saved people do, not as a method of salvation in itself. Saved people serve as Christ served. Saved people help others even at their own sacrifice (of convenience or money or whatever). But we must remember the difference between what the Gospel IS and what it PRODUCES.

    • Nikia,

      I said nothing about time frames (“recovering in a day”) nor did I focus on one particular sin–it’s not about *a* sin, but about being lost. And nothing is made up in my head. We live in an age when professing Christians truly do not understand the gospel or the danger of its misrepresentation. We love approval, not truth. There’s a reason Jesus reminded us that we would be hated for speaking truth. The truth Jesus promoted was the truth that called people out of darkness into light. And if we do the same, we will be hated by those who do not want their sins exposed by the Light.

      “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” John 3:19

      “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Eph. 5:11

      • Jennifer says:

        And yes, we are meant to help the poor and hungry, as the Bible speaks of charity and giving repeatedly. It’s just not always in the way so many modern people seem to think.

  3. Lori Alexander says:

    We must preach the Gospel which includes showing people they are sinners in need of a Savior. We all fall short of the glory of God! Actually, Nikia, some addicts have been released from the bondage of their sin through the power of Christ. My good friend was completely released from her bondage from alcohol in one day by calling upon the name of the Lord. You way underestimate the power of the Lord. He came to set the prisoner free!

  4. Sonya says:

    Such truth! I pray that more will embrace this truth instead of embracing the lie! Lots to take in to love like Jesus!

  5. Brian says:

    We are called to speak the truth with love, it is love to tell a person to get out of a burning house or they will die, it is love to tell a homosexual that what they are doing is sin its not love if you dont at the same time point them to Jesus so they can be saved from there sin. oh and Jesus can deliver a drunk from there sin in a day, its the one step program, that’s one step to Jesus and he will setyou free, i was a alcoholic for twenty years and one night at the bar Jesus found me, and set me free, that was eight years ago, then he saved my wife and children and we are all serving the lord and savior Jesus Christ.

  6. Nicole says:

    I’ve been reading through 1 Corinthians. Specifically, 1 Cor. 5:11 & 12 says

    “but now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolator or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business of mine is it to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside, “expel the wicket man from among you”

    the footnote in my Concordia Self Study Bible NIV for verse 11 says “calling oneself a Christian while continuing to live an immoral life is reprehensible and degrading, and gives a false testimony to Christ. If the true Christian has intimate association with someone who does this, the non-Christian world may assume that the church approves such immoral, ungodly living and thus the name of Christ would be dishonored. Questions could arise concerning the true character of the Christians own testimony.”

  7. Jennifer says:

    Brilliant and vital, Kelly :) If your friend is even “just” a Muslim, of another religion but living cleanly, how could someone even consider not trying to witness to them?

  8. Gud one this is soo true..we become people pleasers that we are quiet when we know its right or we agree with the world.

    http://www.godlyindianmom.com/

    https://www.facebook.com/godlyindianmom

  9. Candace says:

    AMEN!

    “We love approval, not truth.”

    Amen again!

  10. 6 arrows says:

    Sounds like another one of those people who wants to be a palatable Christian — peace-loving at all costs; make everyone feel comfortable.

    Too bad Jesus didn’t try to make Himself palatable. If they’re trying to be more Christ-like, they’re conveniently forgetting a lot of things Jesus actually had the nerve to say:

    Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division Luke 12:51

    And a similar passage: Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34

    Swords and division — not exactly comfortable, those.

    He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. Matthew 12:30

    We’re not all under some big, happy, Jesus-is-love, tent. The day will come when the real Jesus, sitting on His throne of glory, will separate the sheep from the goats. (Matthew 25:31-33) The weeping and gnashing of teeth of those who go to eternal destruction will not be a pretty, I’m-OK-you’re-OK, sight.

    If we’re eternal-minded, then we will want to stop representing Jesus as all love and no justice. He is both. If we’re to share the full gospel message, then both of those realities of Who Jesus is should be shown. Our Savior is to be feared and loved for Who He reveals Himself to be, not who we prefer Him to be.

    And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. Luke 12:4-5

  11. Keri says:

    I think it’s easy to assume (not saying this is what you are doing Kelly) that because someone says things like this that they are not really presenting the Truth to their friend. If we really love them we must present the truth to them. Sometimes they just don’t want to hear it at that time. They don’t want to change their life or admit that they are a sinner. They are just blinded by the sin because they don’t know Christ. So, what are we to do?

    We have done this with some family members. In all honesty now, we love them. We continue to talk about it with them. We pray and cry out to the Lord to save them.

    I have seen the fluff(what I call it)in the church and in Christianity. It doesn’t grieve me anymore. That doesn’t mean I don’t care. I do! Greatly!! I think I’ve learned as I get older that there is just a better way to deal with it. We will never be able to control what other people are doing.

    People do need the truth of the Gospel first and foremost. People also so desperately need to see the Love that Christians have for each other and for a lost a dying world. That is so terribly lacking today and what completely turns some people completely off.

    • Yes, Keri. An inclusion of both love and truth. Sadly, there’s an emphasis on “love” that isn’t love because it excludes the truth.

    • 6 arrows says:

      Keri,

      You’ve made some important points in your first paragraph; for example:

      “If we really love them we must present the truth to them. Sometimes they just don’t want to hear it at that time. They don’t want to change their life or admit that they are a sinner.”

      Exactly. They’re offended by the message. They don’t want to be taken to the cross and shown their sins. They don’t want to admit their sinfulness and repent.

      You ask what we can do. Well, we can’t change their hearts, as I know you understand. Only the Spirit of God can do that. But, yes, we can speak the truth in love, and we are called to do exactly that.

      But what is love? Who defines that?

      Obviously there are lots of passages about love in the Bible, and I’m not going to do an exhaustive study of them here. (This comment will, I’m sure, be long enough without that.) ;-) But I think this is one verse that is important to consider:

      This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us… 1 John 3:16

      The lost do not know Jesus as their personal Savior. They cannot know what true love is, because they don’t know the One True God, who loved us so much, He sacrified His Son, Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, that we may have eternal salvation.

      Without the love of Christ in their hearts, they will not be able to recognize the love of a true follower of Christ who is trying to speak the truth in love to them. They will see truth-speaking as unloving, no matter how gently the call to repentance is given, because, ultimately, they are offended by the Truth, and the Truth-giver, our Lord.

      Remember that Jesus is referred to as “a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence” (1 Peter 2:8).

      6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

      7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

      8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

      Until by the grace of God the lost come to repentance and faith in Christ, they’re going to see our efforts at speaking truth as unloving, because it doesn’t embrace who they are, or provide acceptance or affirmation of their sinful lifestyles.

      And this is why, Keri, I have concerns about the remarks you made in your last paragraph. (Your first statement, “People do need the truth of the Gospel first and foremost”, I do agree with, BTW.) It’s what comes after that…

      “People also so desperately need to see the Love that Christians have for each other and for a lost a dying world. That is so terribly lacking today and what completely turns some people completely off.”

      Yes, we Christians do need to show love towards one another and the lost and dying world. Yet it seems to me that, if I’m understanding you correctly, from what you’ve said here on this post (particularly your last sentence) and what you’ve said in the past, your definition of love is rather narrow.

      It’s not all gentleness and nice words. Speaking the truth in love can, at times, be quite forceful, urgent, inflexible, intolerant (gasp!)

      Look at Jesus in His encounter with the moneychangers in the temple. I’ll reference John 2:14-15, but the account also appears in Matthew 21 and Mark 11.

      And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;

      He whipped them! Dumped their money! Overthrew their tables!

      Was that loving?

      Absolutely it was. They had made His Father’s house, which was to be a house of prayer, into a den of thieves. He was exhibiting righteous anger, and just as expressing righteous anger was appropriate for Jesus to do, it is also acceptable for us, as followers of Christ.

      No, not all our interactions are filled with righteous anger of table-flipping proportions(!) — and neither were all of Jesus’ — but we are permitted a pretty wide array of emotions in expressing ourselves (“Be ye angry, and sin not” — Ephesians 4:26 — comes to mind), and it is not unloving or sinful to sometimes call out sin with a great deal of vehemence.

      It is disturbing, then, for me to see statements like your last sentence: “[Christian love] is so terribly lacking today and what completely turns some people completely off.”

      No, it’s the message, the message of the cross, that turns people off. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18. And people who don’t like the message find all sorts of ways to lay the blame at other people’s feet for their own refusal to turn from their sins, including saying Christians are not voicing their concerns the right, or “loving”, way.

      I’m not discounting being polite, gentle, nice, you name any positive word. There is a time and a place for that, and we as Christians, who are led by the Holy Spirit, can determine how to interact appropriately with the lost people we know. But it’s not unloving to be something other than a nice, quiet, smiling little sweetie in the face of unrepentant sinners who are not only hell-bound, but may also be leading others astray with their lifestyles. And if you and other Christians (and, OK, I’ve been guilty of this, too) think it IS unloving without knowing the heart motivation of a Christian calling someone out in a way you disapprove of, then you (we) are buying into the same kind of thinking the lost like to use (and encouraging them in it), which enables them to take the focus off themselves and their sinfulness, and put it on the message-bearer and his/her perceived deficit of “love”, however the sinner defines that.

      If we were less earthly-minded, and more eternally-minded, and stopped to at least try to contemplate the horrific reality of an eternity in hell (though we can’t fully comprehend it here), I think we would worry much less about politeness and be much more willing to speak boldly, concerned about the urgency of our task, despite the certainty that we will be hated for it.

      Finally, I don’t understand why you think true Christian love “is so lacking today”, as you said, unless you think something stronger than tepid witnessing and polite conversation demonstrate a lack of love. And as far as your statement, “I think I’ve learned as I get older that there is just a better way to deal with it”, well, I can’t imagine a better way than to know Jesus and learn from His interactions as recorded in the Word. He exhibited a WIDE variety of ways to deal with the people around Him, and we dare not limit our thoughts on “love”, or anything else, to how the world defines it.

      OK, I think that’s it — I’ll step off my soapbox now and go eat supper. ;-) Have a good evening.

      • Keri says:

        Hello 6 arrows,

        Wow!I promise to get back to you to explain what I meant. I wrote that rather quickly and probably should have taken the time to word it a little better and explain what I meant more about Christian Love and the lack of it at times from other Christians. I have much to catch up on around here but I will try to write by tonight.

      • Keri says:

        Hi 6 arrows!

        When I made the comment “People so desperately need to see the love that Christians have for each other and for a lost and dying world. That is so terribly lacking today and what completely turns people off”.

        I have a friend who has a Christian Mother. Her mom literally shoves Jesus down her. Sometimes she has been loving, but for the majority of my friends life, her mom has been angry and abusive. Physically when she was younger but now just emotionally abusive. It pretty much never stops. She desperately craves a relationship with her mom. It has given her a very warped sense of what a Christian really is. She is honestly afraid of her mother. This mom has claimed to be a Christian for years. Her pride and anger and bitterness have gotten in the way of her sharing the True gospel of Jesus Christ with her daughter.

        When Christians bash and belittle others. That is basically what I meant when I made that comment.

        I was actually a little taken back by the way you responded. I have recently myself had two Christian friendships change dramatically when I spoke to them in love. The first was a friend who had a very difficult decision to make regarding a stepson. I begged and pleaded with her. It didn’t work out to well. That is all I can really say in regards to that.

        The second was a friend of over 20 years who decided to leave her husband of 29 years for her high school sweetheart that she had reconnected with. She left behind three children. I was completely honest with her when she called me(after she had moved out of state) and once again begged and pleaded with her to come home and spoke the truth to her. I was actually surprised she didn’t hang up on me because as she told me things,as I was completely and brutally honest.

        I suppose it would be a good time to address my next comment that concerned you when I said “I think I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older that there is a better way to deal with it”.

        I simply meant that I honestly used to let these kinds of things just tear me apart on the inside and hang on to them for a while thinking that maybe there was something I could have said or done to change it. I have now learned(not that I have it all figured out)that all I can really do after these things happened is to pray for my friends and turn them over to the Lord. These were both Christian Women.

        I have been camping out in 1 Corinthians 13 lately! There is so much in there about love and it is so good and so very much has been speaking to my heart.

        You say that you think my definition of love is rather narrow. You say that just as expressing righteous anger was appropriate for Jesus to do, it is also acceptable for us as followers of Christ.

        Yes-There are definitely times in life where we must speak the truth to someone in love and confront them! I truly do understand that!

        It really is a soft answer that turns away wrath! If you really want to know how I know that I could really tell you our story of how Love truly won our daughters heart back. I hope this answers your concerns.

        • 6 arrows says:

          Hi Keri :-)

          Thank you for clarifying, and I’m sorry for my assumptions and that I didn’t ask what you meant by those statements I quoted before posting my reply. I understand more clearly now where you are coming from.

          There is something I’m still confused about, though, from your original post; would you mind clarifying once more?

          It is this part from your last sentence: “That is so terribly lacking today…” (“That”, meaning, Christian love.)

          You mentioned when Christians bash and belittle others, and spoke of your friend with the Christian mother who “shoves Jesus down her…”

          You certainly don’t need to provide lots of examples of people you know of who bash and belittle others, but, at the same time, I don’t see how one example, that of your friend’s mother, translates into “Christian love is so terribly lacking today.”

          That statement, IMO, sounds like you’re saying there are lots and lots of Christians who behave unlovingly toward each other and non-Christians. Is that what you meant?

          Thanks, Keri.

          • Keri says:

            That is exactly what I meant 6 arrows. Sadly, it happens but at the same time There are those who do show real genuine love. I didn’t want to give a bunch of examples. That’s pretty much why I’ve been camping out in 1 Cor.13. I hope that helps..

            • 6 arrows says:

              Thanks for your reply, Keri.

              You know, I’m just not seeing the dearth of Christian love you apparently are seeing. The vast majority of Christians I know, both in my local area and online, demonstrate a tremendous amount of love, through their words and their actions, toward one another and to the lost. There are countless positive examples I could give (and few negative ones), but I will temporarily dispense with my penchant for lengthy storytelling and example-giving, as everyone breathes a sigh of relief. ;-)

              I suspect our differences in perception have less to do with the Christians we know, and more with how you and I define terms like “love”. That is why I went on at length about love, sharing related Bible verses in my 6:00 pm post last night.

              (I should also point out that, though I didn’t say it, I was also thinking of other commenters who had mentioned “love”, like Nikia and Deborah, who seemed to be coming from a similar place as I thought you were. I did consider addressing you three, or even every reader here, in a general comment, rather than replying to you specifically, Keri, but I know you better than I know most of the others here, and enjoy conversing with you, even (maybe especially) when we may not exactly see eye to eye on an issue.) ;-)

              So the Bible verses were really meant for anyone reading, not directed at you specifically. My apologies for not stating that clearly from the outset. However, for future reference, much of what I say *is* applicable to a general audience, even when typed as a reply to a specific person. :-)

              The other thing I suspect may be different between us is that, when we use the phrase “Christian love”, we may not be using the word “Christian” in the same way.

              When I speak of Christians, I mean those whom I believe are true Christians, as demonstrated by their fruits, and not those who say they are Christians, but who exhibit few to no fruits that would identify them as true followers of Christ.

              There are certainly people who call themselves Christian who are not. The Bible says Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 7:21

              We are also told in this same section of Scripture that we will know them by their fruits (verse 20).

              Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Matthew 7:17-20.

              The point I’m trying to make is that people who *call* themselves Christians, but demonstrate clear fruits to the contrary, repeatedly and without remorse, are Christians in name only. We can’t use them as an example of “Christians behaving unlovingly” simply because they *say* they are Christians. (Not that you are necessarily saying that.)

              However, if you include these types of people in your definition of Christian, as in “Christian love is so terribly lacking today…”, then it may look like there are a lot of bad examples among the good. There do seem to be a lot of those self-identified “Christians” lately who are bearing rotten fruit. I won’t give examples, but there are plenty in places on the internet that don’t need mentioning.

              But to summarize, I’d have to say that I don’t believe there is a lack of Christian love from true believers (the Body of Christ). Yes, we all sin, and can point to times we have acted unlovingly (according to God’s terms), but the members of the Body of Christ, who are not perfect, but desire to repent toward God and seek forgiveness when we have sinned, are largely, I believe, presenting a beautiful, vibrant picture of the love of our Savior, acting as the hands and feet of Christ, ministering to one another and the lost.

              I’m sorry if you see few examples of love in action, Keri. There truly are many wonderful instances of loving interaction by Christians that I have seen, and I am grateful to God for that.

              Thanks again for responding.

              • Keri says:

                Hi 6 arrows!

                Thanks for your reply. I appreciate what you wrote. I would also like to add that I am very Blessed to be around a body of believers that I would say are truly Christians! There are just a few that have recently thrown me for a loop. I suppose I have struggled wanting to think that they may not be Christians because I have cared so much for them. Some of the things that have happened did throw me off for a little while. Not thrown me off my relationship with the Lord, just thrown me off trying to understand. I don’t think I ever will so it’s the Lord’s.

                We are in a church of around 400 people in the winter. Some are snow birds and head back up in the summer. I have truly seen the Love of Christ in action from his people there! I hope you have a wonderful weekend with your family!!

                • 6 arrows says:

                  Hi, Keri, and thank you also for your reply! :-) So glad to hear that you, too, have seen the love of Christ in action in your church. That’s great and such a blessing, isn’t it :-)

                  Wishing you a good weekend with your family, too! I hope you have safe travels if you’re going anywhere. If you’d like to pray for safe travels for us, I would welcome that. One member of the family has already been in a car accident this week (very minor, thankfully — little damage and no injuries, but on a busy highway, so could have been much worse), so I’m hoping that’s it for vehicular incidents for a good long while!

                  Blessings, friend.

  12. Mrs L says:

    This is so important Kelly.

    Can I recommend to anyone who does not either understand Kelly’s post, or agree with it- that they listen to Hell’s Best Kept Secret by Ray Comfort? It is a sermon about the modern perversion of the gospel.

    Here is the link: http://www.livingwaters.com/audio/way-of-the-master/hells-best-kept-secret

  13. Cathy says:

    You want to know another thing that steams me? No? Oh, well, here goes nothin’. I loathe when the church and believers are constantly put under a microscope and analyzed by fellow believers for speaking truth. Take the National Prayer Breakfast, for example. When James Dobson (and I’m not a follower, but it was all over the news after the event) had the temerity to lash out @ the administration for the murder of millions of babies via abortion, there was a host of people, believers, and non, who were put out by what he said.. It is an issue of morality, and the sacrifice of babies to Molech is roundly denounced in Scripture. But it’s been politicized, and, suddenly Christians are expected to make nice @ such events. I had a person who’s close to me ask me about the appropriateness of what Dobson said, because, we’re, oh, so polite and there is no need to bring in politics to such things as a prayer breakfast. But, that’s what happening. It’s so hip to love people to Jesus by never calling anyone out. We don’t want to “judge” anyone, lest we look as though we aren’t compassionate. We are to absolutely “speak the truth in love,” (Eph 4:15), but we are still to speak the truth. It’s bad enough when the world chastises the church (and, sadly, so many churches don’t utter a whimper about sin, and so aren’t even denounced by the world), but when believers look askance at truth and, instead, opt to blend in, then, Houston, we’ve got a problem.

  14. I find that this issue is one of my biggest struggles with sharing my faith. It’s not the person I’m speaking to, but that they either claim to be Christian (with fruits showing otherwise) or they have been taught by other believers or the “modern” day church that you can do what “feels good” (as long as you’re not raping or murdering anyone).

    The modern church is doing what is comfortable and entertaining and brings in those tithes, but they are not preaching the Gospel. Oh sure, they preach the parts they like, but on the tough stuff, like calling eachother out in love when we are not walking with God…witnessing to others and reminding them that they will be in hell without the Savior?….well that’s almost blasphemy in the new modern church mind…it’s “judge not…”

    Verses are then used out of context and new translations even allow for removal of verses and completely different interpretations. No wonder we don’t all agree on what Jesus did or said…all of our Bibles say different things!

    Jesus has not forsaken us, we have forsaken Him. I am so thankful that someone loved me enough to point out my sins and not just leave me there, but take me all the way to the Cross. I hope to be that for many others!

  15. Jenny says:

    Totally agree with you on this one. I’m afraid I’ve made some people pretty unhappy in my days of putting them on the spot(lovingly). Oopsy daisy. :) We’ve got to be intentional with our boundaries and live/teach what the Bible says, even if it’s not the favorable, happy, peaceful, politically correct answer. Trying to win people to Christ shows the highest form of love and care.

  16. Deborah says:

    Without love truth won’t be heard. It is much easier to tell people the truth as you see it and then criticize them for not hearing it. It is much harder to love people anyway and love them through things. Through that love people will learn to hear the truth. And, after all, once we are saved we are still sinners. We still need love. We still need forgiveness. None of us are worthy or perfect.

  17. We MUST be led by the Holy Spirit when we witness to others. That is the key, the bottom line. We will never be effective unless we learn to listen to the Holy Spirit’s promptings. And we must love people, letting 1 Corinthians 13 be our guide.

  18. Natalie says:

    Yes, yes, yes! Thank you for boldly proclaiming the Gospel. I pray the Holy Spirit would use this message to open blind eyes. I grew up in a Bible church. I thought I was a Christian because I knew and believed all the historical facts concerning Jesus. It took a crisis in my life to bring me to the realization that I never really knew him. Now, by the grace of God, I have been walking with the Lord for over 17 years!

  19. Cathy says:

    Referring to what Deborah and Gina-Marie commented…yes, we are to show love, and reflect the love of God in what we say and in our actions. But, Jesus didn’t always APPEAR loving when He called out the hypocritical Pharisees. In fact, in our day, Jesus would most likely be characterized as being judgmental and a hater.

    The idea of listening to the Spirit is an interesting twist with regard to sharing the Gospel. Haven’t we already been commanded to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel?” (Mark 16:15) Aren’t the Scriptural edicts to share the Gospel enough? Sure, we shouldn’t be a like a bull in a china shop, or a battering ram of truth, but I know of people who have come to faith as a result of someone sharing the Gospel with them–and the message wasn’t necessarily put in the most loving of terms. That part of salvation IS the role of the Spirit, i.e., to turn sinners’ hearts to Him. And, we don’t have to have all the right answers, or cloak everything in the right terminology…because if someone believes after you’ve shared the message of the Gospel, it is because God–alone–opened eyes, and wasn’t as a result of your winsome presentation.

    The irony of your statement about love, and that all we need is love (to paraphrase an old rock ‘n roll song), is that when you share the Gospel, and you talk about someone’s sin, and the idea that Jesus is God, and that if they reject what the Word says, then Hell is in their future, they may take umbrage with that, no matter how lovingly you present the Gospel. Think about the reaction of the Jews after Stephen presented a recitation of their history, and how they killed prophets and eventually killed the Jesus. The Bible says that they began to shout him down, and grind their teeth, and eventually stoned him to death. Are you saying that he wasn’t Spirit-led and that he was unloving? I daresay that Stephen was probably loving, but emphatic about telling them the truth–and they didn’t like it. As he was dying, He implored God to not “lay this charge (of his murder)” to their account. That sounds like a pretty humble, loving guy to me…

    • Cathy,

      I had the same thought about “being led by the Spirit” as you have said here, just haven’t had much time to respond. After listening to a Voddie Baucham sermon recently, I’ve realized how often we misuse that phrase, often to even give us permission to disobey/dodge the revealed will of God, as you alluded. That sermon, by the way, for anyone reading–mind. blowing. You should really listen to it: http://www.gracefamilybaptist.net/sermons/2011-08-modern-spirituality-and-your-mind/

      • 6 arrows says:

        Thanks for this link, Kelly. That’s probably one of the best (definitely the most thorough) sermons I’ve heard on Romans 12:2. Lots to chew on there.

        Listening to it reminded me of when my husband and I were considering whether to begin homeschooling. On one particular day before we’d made the decision, I was at the mall and happened to run into a mom I’d met recently — a homeschooling mom. I didn’t know a lot of them at the time.

        A sign, maybe! (I’d thought.) I wonder if God’s telling me something by this? Wink wink. ;-)

        Um, no. (Well, we did start homeschooling, but God didn’t “tell” us anything through that encounter at the mall, of course.)

        Amazing how we can be so wrapped up in the world’s way of thinking, though, and believe God is messaging us outside of His Word. And we sure do love “the Spirit” (really, the spirit, lowercase s, the spirit of the age) to tell us just what we want to hear, don’t we?

        I enjoyed listening to this, and hearing the Bible passages he referenced, also. Thank you for sharing.

  20. Jennifer says:

    I just today wrote a status on Facebook about this kind of thing, addressing how appalled I was at a recent Miley Cyrus concert. I was concerned and honest, and not gentle at all.

  21. Ginger says:

    “I grieve for a generation of professing Christians who do not speak like Jesus or love like Jesus.”

    Amen and amen. This is why James 2 describes the important difference between living faith and dead faith.
    Check out this gospel tract intended solely for professing believers:
    http://www.proclaimingthegospel.org/site/cpage.asp?sec_id=180014816&cpage_id=180064909#!/~/product/category=636671&id=36248183
    Our church went out to evangelize this past Sunday afternoon and this tract came in very handy as almost every one we talked to was a church-goer who was completely ignorant of the gospel. It’s so heartbreaking how many professing Christians are so deceived.

  22. 6 arrows says:

    Speaking of this (from the last sentence of your post): “I grieve for those led astray, right to the wrath of God, because of our skewed idea of the Gospel and our unwillingness to love as Jesus loved, urging our “friends” to repent and be saved.”

    Talk about being led astray…

    Today I read a very disturbing report at LifeNews regarding Planned Parenthood’s Clergy Advocacy Board’s “Pastoral Letter to Patients”. In the letter, the board states, for example, that “The decision to have an abortion is personal. Though your reasons may be complicated and private, you’re not alone. As religious leaders from a number of religious traditions, we’re here to support you in your decision… No one knows the circumstances of your life as well as you know them; no one knows what’s in your heart better than you. Allow yourself to be at peace with your decision.”

    And this, IMO, is the most disturbing part: “God loves you and is with you no matter what you decide. You can find strength, understanding, and comfort in that love.”

    Wow. Clergy not only condoning abortion, but proclaiming God’s apparent stamp of approval on “what[ever] you decide” in the matter. Truly scary how those wolves among the flock can deceive.

    There’s a good list of applicable Bible verses at the link discussing what God really says about the matter.

    http://www.lifenews.com/2014/05/23/planned-parenthood-uses-god-to-sell-abortions-letter-tells-women-clergy-say-abortions-okay/

  23. Johannie says:

    Love this post Kelly! Really enjoy your blog. May the Lord bless you richly
    In your walk with Him, as a mother and a beautiful wife. From a greatful mom in South Africa xxx

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