Have you noticed that we soften our language sometimes? For example…
People have “an alcohol problem,” they aren’t “drunks.” People have “affairs” instead of “committing adultery.” People say things that are “not true” rather than “telling lies.” Now kids “sow wild oats” instead of being “rebellious to their parents.” People are “dysfunctional” rather than “sinners.” People aren’t “criminals,” they commit “white collar crimes.” People aren’t “deceitful,” they “lack integrity.”
We also tend to apply terms differently to ourselves than to others.
Others lie… we’re complex. Others are evil… we make mistakes. Others have mental problems… we have issues. Others are mean… we’re just having a bad day.
If a rose by any other name is still a rose, what happened to calling things what they are? I think the reason we are soft on sin in our own lives is because of our powers of justification and rationalization. We want grace (We deserve it)… yet we dispense law. We want mercy (Everyone makes mistakes)… yet we dispense justice. We want another chance (We learn our lessons)… yet we dispense condemnation. Our ability to justify and rationalize our conduct is the difference between the two.
Interestingly, Jesus had a habit of calling a spade a spade. Consider the words of Jesus… Mt 23:16… “Woe to you, blind guides…” Mt 23:23, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” Mt 15:26, (Talking about a woman Jesus said) “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” Mt 12:34, “You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil?” Mt 23:27, “You are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.”
Interestingly, Jesus also had a way of mercy and grace. He told the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more.” He commended the woman he called a “dog” for having great faith. When people lacked faith, he told them all it took was a mustard seed’s worth. He said, “Come unto me ALL who are weak and burdened and I WILL give you rest.”
Jesus knew when to confront and when to forgive. And that is what I want to know how to do. When to do which… how to do them in a God honoring way… so that people stumble TOWARD the cross instead of AWAY FROM it. That is what we all need to be able to do. God give me the strength…