Thursday, February 6, 2014

With the use of social media, articles are posted almost daily about literally everything, from “The fifteen best vacation spots” to “ Ten good habits for Weight loss” blah blah blah.  Being in the Christian circle we often see articles posted about social justice issues.  We are daily confronted with numerous legitimate problems, but to what end?  What is the point in posting these articles?  Is it to create awareness, to strike up theological conversation, or is there another unspoken motive.  I’m going to get real here, so bear with me.  Often times I believe that these articles not only get posted, but shared over and over simply to gawk at other people’s sin.  I want to believe that this is not a conscious decision we make, we might even have great intentions in the initial posting.  But somewhere within the Facebook comments, tweets and conversations that occur after the article is posted, the original intentions might get lost.  Too often, we will see an article that is posted with good intention turn into a free for all of passing judgment.  An article that was meant to raise awareness about a particular issue, quickly turns into making a spectacle of a particular individual with comments like “that person is disgusting!” or “How could someone ever do something like this, I would never do that!”  Daily, we see people getting high and mighty about sin under the guise of “speaking the truth in love.”  Let me be clear about something, commenting about someone else’s sin through a computer screen will never be the equivalent of speaking the truth in love.  When posts like this pop up the question I wish would be asked is “How would Jesus respond to these people or this situation?”

Throughout scripture we see Jesus interacting with sinful people.  Jesus did not seek out the most righteous, but in reality he sought out the socially undesirable.  Jesus made the most time for the people that were often overlooked.  Specifically I would like to focus on the story in John 8 about the woman caught in adultery.  In this particular passage Jesus comes across a terrible scene where a woman is about to be stoned for her sins.  True to Old Testament law a woman in her position as an adulteress was to be stoned to death.  But Jesus, the Son of God, steps in to intervene.

“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

One by one the Pharisees drop their stones and walk away until only Jesus and the woman are left.  Jesus does not condemn her either and tells her to go away and not continue in her sin.  We see this kind of miraculous display of grace over and over throughout the New Testament.  Jesus is in the business of reconciling humanity to himself through grace and that should be our concern as Christ followers as well.

The reason I draw attention to this story is not necessarily to bring conviction, but more so to bring a greater understanding of our New Testament call as followers of Jesus.  Jesus makes it completely clear that our job is not to condemn those in sin because we ourselves are equally sinful.  When an article comes out about someone in deep sin whatever that sin may be, our immediate response should not be "Oh, how disgusting!" but rather an aligning of our hearts with the heart of Christ.  While Jesus clearly takes sin more seriously than we ever will, and was completely aware of the woman’s actions, He was not focused on her momentary adultery; instead he was focused on the eternal condition of her soul.  When we see someone being exploited on the Internet we must immediately check our innate reactions of judgment and replace it with the love that Christ has for the broken.  Jesus saved the woman from her sin in spite of her brokenness so how can we look upon the wreckage of our world today and immediately condemn people to hell for their sin?  If it is not something that Jesus did, then it is not something that we should do.  Our job is not one of condemnation, but of reconciliation (the condemnation of sin belongs to God and God alone, the only righteous judge).  Judging someone for their sin does not further the cause of Christ’s kingdom, however, loving someone does.  So the next time an article of questionable motive pops up on your news feed, which will probably be sooner rather than later, I beg you to take a moment to align yourself with Jesus before entertaining the idea of a response or repost.  

by Alli Gould