Anthony W. Brooks
Moralism. Moralism is the word I was looking for. Not the type of moralism that accepts morality as being absolute, but the type of moralism that judges others by a standard higher than actually exists. This is what I’m condemning.
I was always told as a child “You may be the only Bible anyone ever reads…” and that is true enough. But… but… what was implied in that statement? The implication was a soft neo-fascism that basically said “it’s my way or the highway, kid.” Unfortunately I didn’t learn anything different until I became a Presbyterian. When discussing the doctrine of Christian Freedom in our new members class my pastor said to us “You can’t be more conservative than the Bible.” What was implied here is the idea that drinking, smoking, tattoos, etc… none of these are condemned in the Bible.
So What Am I Advocating?
I’m advocating a new type of Christianity. Since the days of Billy Sunday and Dwight L. Moody Christianity in America has been hyper-moralistic; Condemning anyone who took any type of liberty of conscience on alcohol, tobacco, and just recently body ink. It is the type of thing that divides families.
Christianity is not a set of morals that you must keep, but a gospel that saves and a Triune God that rules and governs all. Don’t have your conscience seared by another Christian’s freedom. There are certain things that are morally wrong, like literally everything the Bible explicitly condemns, but there is an area where the Bible remains silent. With alcohol the Bible is clear. Alcohol is a blessing from God, but getting drunk is condemned. But tobacco, tattoos, etc. these are the silent issues.
A Yoke That You Yourself Can’t Bear
Judging others is where the Christian often gets themselves into trouble. Judging righteously is what we are supposed to do, but not with a standard we can’t live up to. Scripture says “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?
You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:4-5. We have a measuring rod in the scripture to judge others righteously. But often we judge by a standard that we ourselves cannot keep. By judging others by this standard we are judging ourselves.
Compassion is where we need to draw the line. We are to judge with compassion. Condemnation is not the language of the faith. Saying what the Bible says is one thing, but what is the tone? The tone should be compassion for the fallen image bearer. Yes sin should be pointed out, but with compassion. We don’t know the circumstances surrounding that sin. Sin usually comes about because of someone who sinned against them. So, that being said. Show some compassion.
Life is not all comfort and warm pajamas. Life is a purgatory of sorts. Hard and painful with a never ending sense of suffering on one point or another. Politics in the workplace, unrest in the streets, unrest in your wallet. The church can’t do enough to ease the unrest so we neglect it. But the church ave its members are beacons of the kingdom. Why would anyone want to join the church if all we do is condemn them? We seem like a bunch of hypocrites to the world. Pointing out sin is necessary to our calling, but it should be done righteously and with compassion.
Soli Deo Gloria!
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