After watching the “What is a Woman” documentary, it became so apparent to me that there is a lack of care in today’s culture. Society’s notion of “love” is not love at all, but mere acceptance to the point of carelessness. I decided to write about this to fellow Christians, because we need to step up! I am not trying to be self-righteous, for I have, do, and will fall short every single day. I am writing this because I want us Christians to stand firm in God’s truth (not anyone else’s truth) and truly love others as God has called us to love.
Today, we are accepting and approving of sin without a second thought. We praise sin left and right out of fear of conflict or not being liked. Despite “knowing God’s righteous decrees, ” we “continue to approve of those who practice sin”. To clarify, I am talking about all sin – drunkenness, sexual immorality, gossip, greed, pride, etc. All sin separates us from God, so why would we want others to be separated from the one who saves us and wants absolutely nothing but abundance for all? By approving of others’ sins, we are also sinning both against them and against God. We are depriving God of His children. I encourage you to read this article by Bob Russell about how approving of sin is in itself sinful. I am going to focus more on what not to say and what to say or do to show more love to your neighbor.
What Not to Say
- “You do you”
- “It’s your life”
- “I’m not one to judge”
These responses are not loving, but, in their very nature, show absolutely no care at all. They may as well be saying “I couldn’t care less what you do or about your wellbeing”. Ironically, it is seen as hateful if someone instead questions their friend’s sinful behavior and urges their friends to repent. In actuality, it is more loving because, as Christians, we know that God’s way leads to abundance, life, and joy. Don’t get me wrong, of course there are people out there that are genuinely hateful and their agenda is not leading others to Christ but putting others down and making them feel as if they are going to Hell.
I am not, in any way, saying that people who do not repent of their sins will go to Hell and are not saved. That is simply not true. I mean, read Romans 10:9. I think this is why people ask “why do you care so much?” when people are still saved regardless of it they turn from sin. I care because God’s design is for us to live in abundance and the only way to experience that full abundance is following Him! Why do you think some of the most successful people are unhappy? Because God is the only one who can truly satisfy. And if you think this is a bunch of hooey I would challenge you to try it! Have you ever tried following God before? Just try it out – read the Bible, pray, go to church, surround yourself with other Christians, serve others, and see what happens. One of the most powerful testimonies I have heard shows what can happen if you turn yourself over to God. I hope it encourages you as it did me!
What To say and do
- “Let’s talk about it”
- “Do you think this will bring you joy?”
- Pray for them
Now, these conversations are by no means easy, but the key word here is “conversation.” There needs to be back and forth on both sides or else it is just one-sided. If only one person is doing the talking, then you come across as wanting to be right, rather than actually wanting to listen and help the other person. On the same note, remember to exalt God in your conversation: it is not about you being more righteous because you do the right thing, it is about how God makes us righteous through what Jesus did on the cross.
Opening this conversation, being an example, and praying for your friend will at least plant a seed, and these are not excuses like the other responses above. These responses are not judgment, but rather you pointing them toward Christ. Your friends may be more willing to listen to the voices that are affirming them, but remind them that you love them, and they will eventually see your heart. Someone is more likely to listen to you later on and know you have their best interest at heart when you are a genuine friend. They may be upset at first, and think you hate them, don’t accept them, or don’t understand what they’re going through, but pray that God gives you the loving words to say and that eventually they will be open to listen. This is why people appreciate their parents more when they are older, because they finally recognize that they had loving intentions even when, and especially when, they didn’t affirm their children.
I hope this article encourages you to stand more firm in admonishing your friends, and if you are discouraged, remember Hebrews 10. By speaking the truth in love, you are not only loving your friends, but loving God.