Do you believe your words have impact?
A week ago, I was at a church small group and one of the ladies shared about a Sunday School class she was taking through her church. The class was about gender identity and sexual orientation – specifically, how do we as believers approach people of alternate lifestyles?
As she was sharing, I was convicted by how quickly we – myself included – jump to judgment. When we are speaking with non-Christians, why do we feel the need to jump straight to confronting them with their sin?
This applies to all areas, not just the ones referenced above. We see someone who gets drunk and does drugs and we jump all over them because of those sins. We confront lying, cheating, laziness, gluttony – the list goes on.
And yet… Jesus never responded to people that way.
Over and over in the gospels, we see Jesus interacting with “sinners”. His first step? Not pointing out their sin. No, He meets them where they’re at. He addresses what they think is their greatest need, then gently points them to what their greatest need truly is – Himself.
I’m not saying we should ignore sin. Scripture makes it clear that sin is serious and that believers are called to speak truth into the lives of others.
But what if we followed Jesus’ example? What if we met people where they were at, loved them there, then gently and lovingly – at the right time – explained to them that God’s way is better than our own?
I think there’s no story that illustrates that more strongly than the one shared in John 8:1-11. The religious leaders drag a woman caught in adultery and toss her in front of Jesus, demanding He uphold the law and stone her.
Jesus’ response? Mercy.
Was she guilty? Absolutely. Was her sin an offense before a holy God? No question. But did Jesus jump on the condemnation band wagon? No way.
He offers her mercy first and foremost, then challenges her to sin no more.
He did the same thing with the lame man in John 5:1-15. In fact, if you read through His miracles, rarely does He address the sin nature of the individual who sought Him out. Instead, He heals, loves, and ministers.
How do you approach those who don’t know Jesus? Do you throw their sin in their face right away? Or do you reach out in love, reflecting the God who loves them, and wait to address the sin in a way and time that’s consistent with the life of Jesus?