I learned a valuable lesson this past week…a lesson that has broken my heart and has me questioning many things. Before my healing from my abortion a few years ago, I avoided getting close to anyone. It was a safe place to be. I could keep my secret that way because I was sure I would be condemned for my past and who I was.
Thankfully, God has been gracious and has spared me condemnation from pretty much everyone except the politicians and a couple of Pastors. But I have found out its not the same for everyone. Certain past sins seem to trigger some to react in ways that make me understand why a particular group of people hate the church and its “supposed” grace – that group are the those that have chosen an alternate life style mostly due to past hurts and traumas of the past. And instead of the church embracing them and loving them and walking them through it – it has chosen instead – to withhold grace.
Sin is sin. The sin of a past lifestyle is the same as the sin of pride. Perhaps that is why our own Savior chose to hang with sinners like me – verses hanging out with the Pharisees. As a matter of fact our Savior was shunned and rejected and ultimately put to death because of His grace and mercy that He gave to sinners – among other things. Because He chose to wine and dine with the sinner in order to bring the message of hope to them of His Father’s love – he was criticized and ostracized.
All it takes is asking questions before you assume something about someone’s character. Perhaps they too were attempting to show the Father’s love by wining and dining with the sinner that most would have nothing to do with. Perhaps just perhaps – God called them to do so and instead of turning up noses at them – perhaps lessons can be learned about God’s grace from the very one that is being rejected.
All it takes is to pull them aside and find out where they are coming from and why they chose to do what they did. And IF what they did may be questionable to their integrity – lovingly address it and walk them through it. After all doesn’t our Savior do the same for us on a daily basis? Don’t we all do things that seem questionable and then the Holy Spirit gentle convicts and guides and corrects? I praise God He doesn’t just “chose” to not associate with us anymore and that He instead choses relationship over condemnation.
That person that you have chosen not to associate with because of “questionable” character…have you bothered to ask questions, get to know them? Have you prayed with them, listened to their hopes and dreams and seen how much they love the same Savior you do? Have you watched them and how they love the hurting and how they minister to God’s people?
Maybe just maybe if you would…you might just chose to stand by the sinner instead of becoming the Pharisee.