Tuesday, 22 April 2014

of Pet Sins and Subliminal Messages


I have to confess that I chuckled a little bit when I saw this sign. I don’t know if it’s real or not, and ultimately, that doesn’t even matter. However, while I was amused, at the same time I was also troubled by it. Why?

It reminded me of the following quote that has been attributed to Philip Yancey: “Christians get very angry towards other Christians who sin differently than they do.”

This really has nothing to do with whether we agree or disagree with the idea of gay marriage. It also has nothing to do with whether or not we agree with the more common societal norm of divorce and remarriage. The way I see it, there are three much larger messages that this sign is communicating, and for the sake of this post, I’m purposely leaving out all the biblical arguments that can also be read into it.

Message #1

The way I see it, the first message being communicated is that there is an obvious lack of unity and love in the Christian community. The church, the body of Christ, has long since become so factioned (Galatians 5:20) that for many of us, disunity is now viewed as normal. We don’t even see it as the “acts of the sinful nature” as Paul describes it (Galatians 5: 19-21). This happens all the time in other “signs” too, such as social media walls and the like. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have seen Christians (assuming they really are Christians) slandering others who think differently than they do. I am sure we’ve all seen it a time or ten. Maybe we’ve even done it ourselves.

In my humble opinion we (myself included) would all do well to ask ourselves a question: Dare we dis-fellowship ourselves with others for whom Christ also died, and especially if they too have professed faith in Christ, just because of differences in opinion? If we were to do that, I wonder who is the greater “sinner?” (Forgive me for being a little facetious).

Message #2

The second message being communicated is that some Christians seem to enjoy airing out their dirty laundry in the public arena for the secular world to see. This reminds me of what Paul said concerning believers taking each other to a secular court for justice in front of a non-believing judge (1 Corinthians 6:1-6). Should the church not settle disputes and differences amongst itself, out of the view of the unbelieving masses? That seems to be what Paul is saying.

What do you suppose our non-believing neighbors think about Christianity when they see signs like that? Do such signs not make a laughing stock out of us? More importantly, why would the non-believer want what we’re selling when all they see is this trash-talking through our church signs?

Message #3

Perhaps what it comes down to is that many of us have “pet sins.” While we don’t see them in ourselves, we do see them in others all the time, and for some reason what we see irks us greatly. For one it is gay marriage, whereas for another it is divorce. As an aside, I’ve read how now there is apparently a higher divorce rate in the church than in the secular world. Hmm, if we really wanted to get technical, what does the Bible say about divorce and remarriage? Ouch!

Likewise, what about smoking, drinking and obesity? If we wanted to we could make biblical admonitions against all of them too. By way of example, if the body really is the “temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19), then it could be argued that smoking, drinking and eating too much can all play havoc on our physical health, and thereby play havoc on the “temple of the Holy Spirit.” The point is, some Christians have no problem lighting up a smoke after an oversized platter of high-calorie nachos and a few beers, where as others seem to have a lot of trouble with it.

Please understand, I am not interested in belittling anyone’s point of view on any of these things, and I certainly mean no offence. I have my own views, and sometimes I have certainly aired them as well. However, maybe sometimes we would all be better off to “keep between yourself and God” (Romans 14:22) some of those pet sins, and especially if those views do not lend themselves to mutual love and edification.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1; NIV).

Are you tired of all the religious and pseudo-Christian noise? Me too. Maybe we all would do well to lighten up a little bit and practice a little more grace with one another. Just a thought.

Peace and Blessings.

Picture Source: Unknown (via Facebook)

2 comments:

  1. (via Johnson Tosca on Facebook) When I see these signs I see human nature as scripture describes it. The left had a point saying politicians who are on marriage number whatever cannot blame the left for destroying the sanctity of marriage.

    When I see the church embracing marriages God does not sanction or not standing firm on marriage for life to the same person those are both failures.

    I would say the feed into each other and weaken the foundation. I think the non religions are happy in a reasonable way to know the church is thinking about the complicated issues and not perfect so at least we seem real.

    I don't think it is airing dirty laundry to point out differences in theology on church signs or in public. Points of doctrine are public. We are not robots we are going to disagree. Being able to discuss things can bring change or at least understandings sometimes.

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    1. Johnson, When I say "airing dirty laundry," I wasn't referring to differences in theology as much as I was thinking of the love-less way we often share those differences. Thanks for the comment. Peace.

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