“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:1-2
Our society is in chaos. Hollywood is eating itself alive as we see the great patriots for equality and morality, show the true colors and those colors are pretty dirty. Sexual scandal after scandal comes to the surface and we see our favorite actors fall from grace, we are simply waiting to see the next slew of accusation sure come to the forefront. This epidemic hasn’t confined itself to Hollywood. It’s found its way into politics as well. Politician after politician (whether they are guilty or not) are being accused, attacked, fired, shamed and for both them and the actors in Hollywood, their lives and careers are completely turned upside down and ruined. Now let me be clear. I know that there is great sin happening and that sin is truly evil. Plain, unadulterated evil that is damned by God Himself. No doubt about it. I think that it is truly amazing how one choice, lapse in judgment, or lack of self control can be enough to bring down some of the most powerful people in America. Sins truly do find find us out. It doesn’t matter where we are or what the circumstance is, sin always has consequences and I am not aware of a sin that exclusively hurts the person sinning. It always spread and affects more than just the offender. This is something I think we do not give as much thought to as perhaps we should.
Now, if I am going to be completely honest and transparent here, there is a side of me that doesn’t care. Actually, there is a side of me that is enjoying this. I take pleasure in seeing the corrupt finally get the judgment they deserve. I confess it feels good. When I see them falling from their thrones, there is a side of me that wants to watch them fall and laugh at their plight. I enjoy seeing the chaos ripping through Hollywood and I am completely content to sit like Caesar, sip my hot chocolate and watch Rome burn. This is me at times. Perhaps more often than I would wish to admit. Perhaps you can relate? Perhaps you find yourself watching the headlines like boiling water just waiting for the next story to break? Perhaps you, like me, are finding some enjoyment in the judgment of those who thought they were above it?
With all the scandals and horrific stories of abuse and terrible sin, the onslaught of articles and think pieces coming from the Christian camp is endless. It seems that whenever there is an event like this in society there is a race to see who can get the “How Christians Should Think About (fill in the blank)” article out first. The issue with this is they all tend to say the same thing. So before you accuse me of doing the exact same thing here (an accusation which may have some merit) please allow me to perhaps put a different spin on this issue. At least, I hope it’s different.
Now I do believe there is a good part in us that wants to see justice occur. God is a just God and we are made in His image. Sin should anger us. I do not think this in and of itself is wrong. We should be zealous for God’s holiness. However, there is a difference between righteous anger at sin and gleeful enjoyment of judgment. One is linked to the holiness of God being mocked, the other is us simply forgetting something very important. We’ll get to that a little later. As I said before, it is very hard for me to look at the destruction in society without feeling a level of enjoyment and, if I am going to be honest with myself, superiority. It is a very easy thing to look at those whose lives are falling apart because of sin and think thoughts like, “I can’t believe they would do that” or “how could they do something that awful?” These are easy thoughts to have. They take no amount of discernment. They don’t show that we have thought critically about the situation. Frankly, they don’t show any attempt to take on the mind of Christ. They are easy statements to make and the Christian life is rarely supposed to be easy.
There is a story told about the the great preacher Charles Spurgeon in which he and another elder from his church were traveling by carriage to confront a member of their church that had been caught in sexual sin. During the ride the other elder was going on about how he could not believe nor understand how a man could stoop so low as to cheat on his wife and ruin his life in this way. It was at this moment that Spurgeon called to the driver to turn the carriage around and return home. When the elder asked why he had made this request, Spurgeon simply said, “I don’t think we are the right people to do this.” His point was simple. If you cannot understand how a person could commit a certain sin, you simply do not understand the depravity of your own heart, nor are you able to speak into the life of another that has fallen into sin. If you look at society and just don’t understand how people can be so bad, you do not understand that if not for the grace of God, you my friend would be the same. Again please let me be very clear, the events and scandals going on in Hollywood are pure evil. They are great reflections of a sin nature that has been unchained and unbridled. Any Christian who would take the stance that the actions are somehow justified simply does not understand Scripture. However, we must also remember and understand the doctrine of total depravity. All of us have the potential within ourselves to be just as bad, or worse, as those people on the news that we so easily condemn. Yet we sit in our high towers looking down on those that we, consciously or un-consciously, think lower than ourselves. This mentality must be called out for what it is. Pride. Simply awful, disgusting pride. We forget the sin that we were saved from. We forget the mire and death we were pulled from. We forget that we contributed no part in our salvation but the rancid sin that made it necessary. We forget this. We forget this and we judge. We judge and we forget.
So what is the correct response? How do we navigate the evil in this world as Christians? How do we keep pride from entering in our hearts and minds as we interact with society? I believe there are three main ways we do this.
Remember Your Roots
We must remember that we are nothing. We have no throne to sit on. We are sinful, broken people in need of just as much grace as those in the news. We came from nothing and all the knowledge and sensitivity that we have to sin is because we have been given the ability by Christ. We are able to see sin because the Sprit of God resided within us. Therefore, feeling superior is not only illogical, it’s extremely dishonoring to God.
Remember Their Need
We must remember that without Christ, the world acts exactly they way their natures dictates. They can do nothing but sin. They do not have Christ. Yet for some reason, we expect the world to hold the same convictions, adhere to the same worldview and have the same morals as those who have been saved by grace. This is simply wrong. Yes, the law of God is written on the hearts of men, but without Christ, the demands of the law cannot be truly met. We must remember that above all else, they need Christ so desperately.
Remember Your Calling
They need Christ desperately. Will we be the ones to give it to them? Will we be the ones that come down from the high towers and dwell with he sinners they way Christ did? Will we enter their homes, their lives and their hearts through the proclamation of the Gospel like Jesus did. Will we forget our pride and wash the feet of those that are lost? By all means, call sin out for what it is. We must. Christ had to die for sin. Yet do not let the level of sin cause you to think they are out of Christ’s reach. No one is. You weren’t. Remember your calling. Give them your pity. Give them your prayers. Give them Jesus. They need Him desperately.
“…but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”