“Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.”
Titus 3:1-8 NKJV
It seems as if we are in a time when people have an overwhelming need to share a piece of their minds. As a result we have a cacophony of voices filling social media, the airwaves, and polluting the common sphere. All too often the voices are coming from those of us who proclaim the name of Jesus. There appears to be little kindness to be found.
I remember being one of those outspoken people, sharing my views openly and frequently, as I sought to espouse the values from the Bible to an unbelieving world. My words were often like a hammer, pounding away, trying to drive my point home as if driving a stake through the heart of a vampire. I was trying to share with authority, Scriptures, I yet not comprehend, in the hope of drawing others to my way of thinking.
In the hot exchange of these present times, the lives of those outside the faith are not addressed appropriately, as followers speaking in the public sphere resort to judging others with a self induced amnesia, as we have forgotten who we used to be.
As I read through Titus chapter three this morning, I was reminded of the need to approach people, especially those in authority, with respect. It is on me to be humble, peaceable and gentle as I approach others. This is a lesson that is sorely needed.
We are all caught up in an endless loop of arguments over vaccines, mask mandates and racial strife, and there seems to be no end in sight. People have taken sides, and the level of tension is increasing to the degree that, otherwise decent people, have come down on opposing sides. People have been assaulted and even killed, over merely asking others to don a mask, and emergency rooms are filling up with people who are unvaccinated, some holding onto their beliefs even as they have died.
This has also extended to the day to day lives of people. In the division, sinners, now saved, condemn unregenerate sinners for the behaviors they themselves once did. The level of hypocrisy is unscalable, reaching heights so high that the top cannot be perceived. Many of us who have called upon the name of Jesus for salvation have forgotten that we were once part sakes of the same sins.
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”
I Corinthians 6:9-11 NKJV
I know for certain that I was sinner. I still remember the most evil things I have done, and the evil one seeks to blast my conscious daily with fiery darts of remembrance. But I have an Advocate, One arguing my case before throne, yelling “not guilty!”, as He Himself paid for my sins.
Brothers and sisters, let us go and tell with open, loving hearts, of the Good News that Jesus died on the cross, was buried and rose again. Thanks to Him, we have been forgiven. Let us proceed with kindness and gentleness, as so many of those we seek to reach have been traumatized. You see, the behaviors that we find repugnant are often symptoms of the damage caused by sins done against them. This is particularly true in regard to sexual trauma.
Above all else, sinners are going to sin.
There might be someone in the congregation thought to be a follower of Christ, who has struggles, that cause them to stumble and fall. Bear in mind that God’s timetable for change might be different than yours. I have more than a few beloved brothers and sisters who have heavy struggles where they take two steps forward, and one back, but they are still moving forward. Give them grace.
“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”
Philippians 1:6 NKJV
How we treat reach other is a great witness of the love of Christ. May we not be seen to “shoot our wounded.”
Let us go forth with love, as peacemakers, that those who are the enemies of God, be brought near through the same salvation that drew us.
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