Saturday, January 17, 2015

Always Growing, Always Learning

Discrimination is almost always heavy topic in the news. Somebody hurt someone of a different color, or someone feels like their rights are being trampled. But there is another type of discrimination that we Christians need to be on guard for, and that is discrimination about our fellow Christians, or people who are thinking about getting saved.

"For instance, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in shabby clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, 'You can stand over there or else sit on the floor', well doesn't this discrimination show that you are guided by the wrong motives?" James 2:2-4

In a society where most everything is tolerated, we need to guard our hearts about judging others. It is such an easy thing to do. For example, in my church, a young adult got saved. This person most definitely had a heart for God, but also had a very obvious lip ring. Another member of the church was talking to me in a private conversation about a month or so after this young person got saved, saying that now that young adult needed to lose the lip ring.

I was kind of surprised by the attitude, but I spoke up this defense of this new Christian. I reminded the church member of the verse in 1 Samuel 16 about the Lord looking at the heart, not the outward appearance. They agreed, and the subject was dropped. But the next week, the piercing was gone.

You see, somewhere in the week, the young adult realized that they didn't want or need that piercing anymore. They didn't need another Christian to point out this "fault", - as a side note, I do not believe that piercing or tattoos are evil - God showed this new believer that he/she didn't need it anymore.

The point that I am trying to make today is two-fold. First, don't make the mistake of judging new believers, old believers, or potential believers by your standards. The Bible says in Matthew 7:1, "Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. For others will treat you as you treat them." It is not our place to judge anyone. We are not blameless. We, too, stumble and fall.

The second point is that we cannot expect new believers to be perfect on day one, nor should we try to force them to be. That is not our job. Our job is to raise them up, to teach them what the Bible has to say, to answer their questions, to support them.

When my father got saved over 30 years ago, he was a smoker. It wasn't until a few years after he was saved that God convicted him that he shouldn't continue to smoke. God did the heavy lifting. My dad didn't need to be forced to quit by a fellow believer. We need to remember that a believer is always learning, even those of us who have been around for decades. Our journey is never over, and none of us will ever be perfect.


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