Westboro Baptist Church brought their hate to Tuscaloosa Saturday. That church is known for picketing funerals of American servicemen claiming they did as a judgment from God because the US supports homosexuality. We have no intention of saying anything else about them but they do provide a useful backdrop for some thoughts on approaching sin.
All Are Sinners
Paul is clear that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). John echoes the thought in 1 John 1:8, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” Likewise, James, “For we all stumble in many ways.”
The consciousness of our own shortcomings will temper the way we approach sin in others. Such perception is not, however, tolerance of sin. Sin destroys (Romans 6:23) and we must not surrender to its reality in the world.
All Sin is Equal
This is a controversial statement to some but it is clearly Biblical. Some sins have greater consequences in this life but when it really matters, in eternity, there is no difference. Isaiah says that sin separates from God (Isaiah 59:2). It is remarkable that Paul lists such so-called minor vices like hatred, rage, discord, selfish ambition, dissensions and factions together with the major sins like immorality (which includes but is not limited to homosexuality), debauchery, orgies and witchcraft (Galatians 519-21 NIV).
Some point out that homosexual acts are an abomination (Leviticus 18:22) and they are. But dishonesty (Deuteronomy 25:16; Proverbs 11:1), lying (Proverbs 6:17) and creating discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:19) is also an abomination.
By understanding the universality and the equality of sin, we should be sufficiently humbled so that we can overcome sin ourselves but also help others in the same way.
All Need Jesus
Separated from God by sin, mankind is ever trying to reunite with his Creator. Billions seek redemption but few find it (Matthew 7:13, 14). In an effort to be politically correct and to bow to the gods of tolerance, we have ignored Jesus’ own words. He said: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Jesus alone is God’s own gift to man for our salvation (John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:9, 10). His death proved God’s just nature and made God the one who justifies man through Christ (Romans 3:21-26). It is Jesus who takes away sins (1 John 2:1-6).
The one who attends every service of the church, gives generously and serves others, needs Jesus as much as the practicing, activist homosexual.
We do have an obligation to speak out against sin and to reach out to those enmeshed in it (Galatians 6:1; Psalm 141:5). But the key is how we do it. We ought approach sinners humbly and in full awareness of our own sin. Further, we approach in gentleness and kindness always speaking the truth in love. Remember brethren, hatefulness is of Satan while love is of God.
Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.