Wednesday, August 6, 2014

You and The Other

In history,  people have often defined themselves by who they are not.   They have created a group that they reject and persecute.   The Jews were kicked out of England and killed by Hitler,  the blacks were slaves and then treated as lower class citizens.   Native Americans have been marginalized and the list goes on.   Humans finding groups to segregate,  separate,  and hate.   Much of this is a process of self-definition, we are not who we hate.

The Church as a whole has been pretty bad about this.   Protestants and Catholics have done things just to spite the other side.   Protestants have made doctrines to make it clear they are not Catholic.   The charismatic movement and the subsequent traditional movement created a wide gap between Pentecostal and Baptists.   We have striped hard to define ourselves,  but often we have demonized others in the process.

The worst offense is how we have demonized those outside the church.   We have judged them on a standard that we cannot even meet.   We have not given them grace and we have not considered the fact the Holy Spirit isn't at work in their lives.   Non-Christians don't act like Christians,  because they are not Christians.   They are lost and they need help and they need Jesus.   We can't give them hope and condemnation at the same time.   Yes,  they need to know they are guilty of sin and stand before a just and holy God who judges sin.   They don't need you to make a list and tell them exactly why you are better,  which in the end is basically what is happening.   Let's stop defining ourselves by other people, and begin to define ourselves by who we are in Christ.

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