Humanity’s sinfulness was God’s opportunity to demonstrate his great love for us. When others sin, it gives us an opportunity to be like Christ in their lives and demonstrate his healing love. Too often roles are confused and we think the sins of another are our opportunity to demonstrate our moral superiority, our intellectual supremacy, or our power and influence. If we enjoy lording over others, then their sin is our opportunity to rule over them. But if our primary role is to be reflective of God’s Kingdom on earth, then another’s sin is our opportunity to be like Jesus by identifying with, healing, and serving the sinner.
Every time we break rules we give power and rights away and, to some degree, lose control of our lives. In the church, when we sin against God and consequently our brethren, we lose influence and inadvertently give others authority over us. In society, when we break the law or violate social norms, we forfeit our freedoms and lose the power to make the choices for ourselves that would have been assumed prior to breaking the law, thus making us more vulnerable to others.
No doubt, it’s our responsibility as Christians to do all we can to grow in Christ so sin diminishes in our lives while holiness increases. Simultaneously, we should grow in obedience to civil law and do everything within our power to build an honorable reputation. Often we focus on this personal process, which we assume is a reflection of our character and godliness. No doubt, to some degree, it is. But that might not be the core reflection of our faith that reveals our eternal destiny.
People with good parents, good citizens, and good students become better people and better citizens as they mature. Many non-believers are just as moral and law abiding as believers. God highly values our personal integrity and he also values others, especially the weak, which is why it’s our response to others in their most vulnerable moments that might reveal whether or not we understanding and embrace the core New Testament message with power. Our response to the sins of another might reveal more about our godliness than the common measurement systems we are all so used to using.
Jesus teaches us in Matthew 25:31-46 that the difference between the sheep and the goats in the final judgment will be based on how we responded to others. The idea here is that our response toward others in a difficult position reveals whether we are biblically inspired satanic judges deceived into believing that our personal righteousness proves that we are genuine believers, or if we are indeed the healing heart and hand of Christ. In other words, when others have lost their power because of catastrophe, whether self-imposed or something outside of their control, our response to them reveals the true “us.” Certainly, when another is vulnerable because of their sin, our responses reveal whether or not we embody the Gospel, or if we have intellectually assented to a set of religious values that, in reality, condemn us as we condemn others (Romans 2:1-4). The sins of others afford the opportunity that reveal our core. It’s our response to others in their weakened state that reveals whether we are a sheep or a goat.
When another sins, the weakness that will accompany that sin gives each of us an opportunity to either distance ourselves and be their accusers, pointing out their weakness and failures, and using it against them; or we can be like Jesus and actually draw closer to them in their distress and offer a hand of love, kindness, and some practical support to make their lives a little better. It’s our choice. I think we’re learning about how to have a Love Reformation.
Pastor Ted Haggard, DD, CHBC, is a Bible teacher with an emphasis on New Testament solutions to the human condition. His Bible teaching is informed by biblical scholarship, Choice Theory (Glasser), Attachment Theory (Johnson), and Behavioral Studies using DISC (Rohm).
This and other blogs by Pastor Ted Haggard are available at http://www.tedhaggardblog.com as a ministry of St. James Church. If you would like to strengthen the ministry of St. James Church and Pastor Ted Haggard by giving, please use the “give” tab at http://www.saintjameschurch.com.
6 replies on “Another’s Sin Is Our Opportunity”
Reblogged this on My life as a Christian and commented:
How has love become ‘optional’ to the finished Work of Christ? Why is superiority more important than what the Church was founded upon? Or is your social setting in the way of doing a real work? Hmmm….I think that’ll preach! Thanks to Pastor Ted for a great word.
reflecting on the New Testament, the major sin appears to be a *losing touch* with the fact that we are all sons of a heavenly father. The core aspect of this reality is that we are all – ALL of us – together as children of the same father. If somehow we don’t perceive that, I don’t think we have to look much further to examine our sins. The Lord’s Prayer starts with two words, OUR father. Just those two words alone present for us our shared coequal status under the heavens, and probably define the root of all sin – a break from togetherness. My only concern is with the phrase “on Earth as it is in Heaven,” and our break from a sense of our place in the wilderness, and the importance of wilderness. Do unto others, in the deepest sense, relates not only to other humans, but to all material and matter (animals, the environment, wilderness), and maybe even our regard for the sky and planets and stars. I wish I understood better how humans became alienated from the wilderness, but maybe that just makes the story of Genesis more timely than ever. Just because we lost our place in the innocent wilderness, that doesn’t mean we have to settle for a life totally alienated from it. I think it’s important to reflect on the wilderness and consider our brothership or cousinship with all those animals, all of them, and really feel them alive – as our extended family. I recall the story of John the Baptist and his wisdom in the wilderness. I don’t think it’s to be taken lightly, because we have been gravely inhumane to Nature, for a couple hundred years now, and that problem will not solve itself if we continue to ignore it.
I really appreciate your words. I too had found myself swirled in self imposed catastrophe at one point years ago, very alone, very condemned, very self loathing. The Lord gently walked me back out of that wilderness, dusted me off and blew His breath of life back into me again, I was lavished with a divine love that will never leave me.
I want to be that same way with others, giving honor and dignity to who they were created to be. A source of strength and love amidst the storm.
Somehow I dont believe I would’ve gotten to this perspective without me first knowing how it feels to be on the receiving end of it.
That’s a beautiful Word!
That was just fantastic Pastor Ted. Learned so much from you over the years. Went to Life-giving Church conference back in the day. Really appreciate you and this article. Lets get that love revolution started.
What a brilliant word and it is such a joy to hear it stressed once again. In the last few years I have realised how broken we all are and how faithful God is through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the essence of the gospel that we forgive others and receive forgiveness both from them and from our mighty God. I too have lauded over struggling people in the past which is a serious error. I am so thankful that God has restored Pastor cared that he might preach this type of message from real life experience. It is a masterpiece of grace. We all need it in various measures.
God bless you all. John