9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted (From Luke 18).
Remember that We Need Mercy Too
Our culture is so ugly right now. I consider myself in this too.
It’s so easy for people to sneer at those who sin differently than they do. With any moderate amount of intelligence, it’s also easy to make witty rebuttals that make others of the same mind cheer with contemptuous delight, yet these remarks do nothing to open the heart of the sinner so that they might repent.
This is especially true online.
I know; I’ve done it too. Some people, like myself, spent most of their life a doormat for others to walk on. Once I grew up, I went too far the other direction. I became contemptuous and full of self-righteous indignation and all the people who hurt me–many of them within Christianity–were fit to be fodder consumed by the words of my rage.
Did I convince a single person to repent? Probably not. Did I convince the fellow “righteous” that they were better than the “sinners” we gleefully hated together? Probably. It’s so easy to preach to the self-righteous choir, but is this the mind of Christ for us?
There are times to be bold and use harsh words. We might recall John and Jesus calling the religious leaders a “brood of vipers.”
However, who are we who so gleefully tear town those who we see as bigger sinners than ourselves while we ignore our own wretchedness and instead thank God that we are better? Are we not a “brood of vipers?”
Perhaps, instead of using contempt and snooty remarks, it is better to speak to the person you see as being so great a sinner. Speak against the sin, but do so in a way that might open their hearts to repentance. Not harden them further–and by extension–dragging the name of Jesus and our brethren through the mud.
Now, rather than consume people with my rage, I would rather consume the lies that bind them with the truth–spoken in love and with compassion for their blindness that cannot know the right way unless God has mercy on them.
This world is full of confusion and deception, but it is by the grace of God that we can come out of these forces of destruction and into life.
It’s been several years now since Jesus told me to “sing grace to those who are confused and without peace.” However, being so full of resentment and a desire to bring vengeance, I was not a good preacher of grace.
The more I learn about the teachings of Jesus and the more I see just how far we stray from them collectively as Christians (as we will continue to explore in the These Things Saith He” book), the more I appreciate the grace and mercy of God we find in Jesus Christ.
God have mercy on us sinners.