I receive a lot of resistance & opposition from fellow brothers & sisters and Christ when I talk about morality or morals in any way, shape or form. I was actually starting to believe that it's impossible to even talk about morality (the absolute right & wrong that God laid out at the foundation of the earth) without people assuming you are being judgemental, legalistic or proud.
My heart was so heavy in the confusion of figuring out how to uphold the morality I know is True yet to always be loving, merciful and humble. Is it even possible? or should morality just not be discussed at all? Only shown by example? Because Jesus came and fulfilled the 'law' - should we not talk about it at ALL and ONLY talk about the love & freedom & peace Jesus brings!? Does having mercy & love mean that you don't talk about righteousness or truth because it points out brokenness in others?
Well after a pretty healthy break down.... I asked God to please clear up this confusion. To grow my moral backbone. I told Him that I was willing to come face to face with my sin in this area and I wanted Him to tell me if I had been going about this all wrong and wasn't focusing on Him enough. And He answered me!!! He told me to look at the examples of His first disciples, the truths of the early church. So I flipped to Acts & Romans thinking it would be a good place to start - to figure out what Luke & Paul talked about. Did they talk only of Jesus love and forgiveness of sins through faith in Him, or did they talk about immorality, right and wrong, repentance. After pouring through it and reading it as if I was reading it for the first time, my eyes were so open, the Light HURT them!
Jesus & Morality
Jesus did not abolish morality though all sins and immorality are now forgiveable through faith in Him! He took away eternal consequences of our sins, but sin very much has natural consequences and He very much wants us out of gratitude to allow Him to change us through His Word and through time with Him --- to become more like Him every day. Not for us to put on appearances or go through rituals or routines to try to change ourselves... but to allow Him to flow through us and do His transforming work! Paul is very clear that there are fruits of the Spirit and there are fruits of the flesh. God clearly desires us to have fruits of the Spirit and be examples for others of what the Spirit can do!
We are to repent of making idols out of everything in our worldly lives and turn to God and allow Him to change us. If we do not, He will "give us over to the sinful desires of our hearts". Please go read and Romans 1:24-32 and Romans 2:5-11. Don't you see this in America!?
We allow Him to change us and to strive for righteousness not to earn His favor or eternal life--- Jesus took care of that.... but out of gratitude for all He's done and because if we don't, sin will entangle and detour us from the plan He has for us. (Yes He can and will work out ALL things for our good (Romans 8:28) --- but what blessings is He having to hold back or hold off because of us following our own will and not His?).
Morality talked about in the Body
After reading Acts & Romans I absolutely know that morality/God's standard through the Word of God MUST be talked about amongst the Body. Acts & Romans were written (I believe?) to new believers and existing churches ---- and morality & repentance from sins was very much talked about. NOT to condemn but to point out sin. The Word is very clear that we are not to condemn.... but it's very clear we are to discern right and wrong. We are called to encourage each other & to help others steer away from immorality. To help people understand their brokenness. I believe that there's a time and place and way to do this and it's our job to learn how to listen to the Spirit when to confront issues and when to just listen to our hurting brothers & sisters. I truly believe relationships must be built before 'sharpening' comes --- because people don't care what you know until they know you care. But, when asked directly, no matter if there's a strong relatoniship there or not -- we should answer. Sometimes it's more important to be kind than right when building relationships.... but it's never okay to be kind and compromise truth.
We know that too many for too long have been prideful, condemning & judgemental with the excuse of trying to promote morality and point out brokenness.... but we can change that. We don't have to answer for what they have done wrong --- we do have to answer for what WE do. Just because many have done wrong while trying to stick up for morality, doesn't mean we just don't even try at all!
On another note... I just wanted to remind myself that we all will fail and will get in the way of the Spirit transforming us... but we don't have to be embarassed or ashamed when we fail... we don't have to try to cover up and hide all our sin blemishes. People have to see us humble and broken but seeking out knowledge, seeking out the truth and allowing the Spirit to change us to become more righteous daily. Just because we won't get a touchdown every time - doesn't mean we don't try for a first down. Keep on trying for first downs and to get toward that end zone. People have to see us wholeheartedly seeking to follow this Lamp unto our feet, His Word.
So my point is......
God would never allow us to see the sin & brokenness in others to condemn, judge or make them feel ashamed.... but to sharpen each other! To help pull people closer to God.
Our role with non believers
As far as our interactions with non-believers.....I really believe talking about Jesus' love and acceptance & leading by example should be our primary focus. Acts & Romans were written to new believers & churches that were already forming, but not meant for non believers..... Paul makes it very clear that we should, "not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God". Strapping them down with a lot of "do nots"....
I really don't believe we need to point out non believer's sins to them. They are leading that lifestyle, following that sin because they are hurting and looking to fill a void. I absolutely believe that every human being deep down has that core belief that they are supposed to be something they are not. That there is a standard out there that they haven't lived up to. That they were designed to be 'good' but have fallen. I think it's a universal understanding that we all need a Savior.
If asked directly, should we give our viewpoints on moral issues? Absolutely. We should give the viewpoint of the Bible.... but more often than not people already know what we're against as christians.... we need to show them who is FOR them! The one and only Savior who loves them exactly as they are!!
If morality isn't talked about... if we're afraid to speak about our sins & our brokenness... if we no longer talk about the standard He laid out.... there will be confusion & distortion and we won't even know what sin is anymore. We will think we're "ok "and we will strive to do things to convince us we are "good" and "okay".
If people don't know they are sinning....if there is no absolute right and wrong.... then they won't know they need a Savior!
This is what the devil is trying to do. This is what people who don't like our Savior are trying to do..... little by little make people believe that either a) they are not broken or b) that they can be fixed and satisfactorily filled with earthly things. Trying to convince others that being a "good person" is good enough. (The fact that there is a standard to go by to see if somebody is "good" or not is proof there is an underlying morality we are all aware of.) Convincing them that void can be filled with whatever earthly thing this person is trying to promote.... but it's not the Truth.
We are called to be the salt of the earth. The moral flavoring. Allowing the Spirit to transform us so we can be an example.... standing up for what is right with our voices & our lives, so that others will understand how far off we are from God and being 'right' with Him. So people can realize ALL have failed. The Bible tells us ALL are unrighteous.
What happens when salt gets watered down? It disintegrates... the water becomes salty but it's dilluted and not near as powerful.... and over time, the more and more water is added each generation... the farther away we are from recognizing our need for a Savior. Look at how watered down we are from the early church leaders......
God please help me be the salt you want me to be. Help me have a backbone. Help me realize that you allow us to see sin in others NOT to condemn, but to recognize it for what it is --- a symptom of our deep need for our Savior. I believe this Word of God to be Truth God. I believe everything it says. I am willing to be called rigid, elementary, foolish. I know that I can't be good or right on my own God and you are my Savior! Help me spread your love God.
Help me spread your message of HOPE through Jesus Christ & CHANGE through the Holy Spirit!!!!
Psalm 25:3, Psalm 25:5, Psalm 25:21, Psalm 31:24, Psalm 33:20, Psalm 39:7, Psalm 42:11, Psalm 62:5, Psalm 119:114, Isaiah 40:31, Romans 5:4, Romans 8:24,
II Corinthians 3:18, Romans 12:2, Phillipians 3:21
Who's YOUR Savior!?