My teens are asking hard questions. How do we uphold biblical standards when the world around us is doing something totally different? How do we disagree on an issue which some might think is politically correct, but the Bible says it is sin. How do we present our beliefs without it being seen as hateful or judgemental?
These are hard questions, and this is how I explained it to my daughter recently when she came asking some hard questions. This is the gist of our conversation.
"Let's say you ran away from home and started doing meth. Once you were really hooked on meth, you started prostituting yourself to get money to be able to buy more meth. You started living on the streets. Now, let's say that I come across you in a grocery store. I see that your face is covered in red sores. I know what you have been doing, because I have heard about it through some former friends of yours. What do you think I will do? Do you think I would come and embrace you, or would I reject you? Do you think I would still love you or not?"
"Yes, you would still love me. You would embrace me."
"Of course, I would still love you. Nothing you do could ever change that. Now, what is loving in that moment? Is it loving for me to give you money for meth, and for me to encourage you in your meth use and your prostitution? Or it loving for me to try to get you help and to point out your sin?
"It is more loving for you to point out the sin and try to get me off of meth."
"That is the answer. It is both. It is loving to love the sinner even while they are still emerged in their sin, but it is also loving to not condone the sin. If we condone the sin, it is not the truth and therefore, not loving."
James 5:20 (ESV) says, "let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins." It is loving to try to save a soul from death. It is loving to speak the truth of God's word in love.
I love this song by Casting Crowns called Jesus, Friend of Sinners. I get emotional every time I hear it especially the part where it talks about the log in my eye while pointing out the speck in someone else's eye and about opening our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers. I especially get emotional when it says, "The world is on their way to you, but they are tripping over me." I scream inside my spirit, "May it never be! Oh Lord, may it never be that I am the stumbling block in the way of someone making their way to you!" It is loving to love the sinner but to not love the sin. Jesus was a friend of sinners who loved people enough to deliver them from their sins by his death on the cross if they choose to accept him as Savior.