Sliding Scale

    Sadly, I created some confusion with my last post. Hope you don’t mind me trying to clarify what I mean when I say, “Christ died for ALL.” OK, I’m about to walk to sensitive ground here. So, please bear with me as we enter “too long; didn’t read” country.

    Doesn’t it seem like we grade immorality on a sliding scale sometimes? For example, I think we can agree that stealing is morally wrong. But then, why do banks in the States have to put chains on their counter-top pens? Or in Japan, which is known for having one of the lowest robbery rates in the world, why is it common knowledge that people will steal your umbrella on a rainy day? So, stealing is wrong … until it’s no longer considered stealing … or until it’s considered an acceptable form of stealing?

    It seems our society uses this same sliding scale when it comes to sexual sins as well. So, someone who would look at fornication and adultery as the “loving act of consenting adults” might try to draw the line at socially taboo acts like incest and homosexuality. However, my understanding is that God uses no such sliding scale; it is all sin.

    There is a word we can use here to describe singling out one immoral act as wrong and ignore others as acceptable: hypocrisy. And the reality is that we all are guilty of hypocrisy and judging others in one form or another. I think this is where things normally start to breakdown and people form battle lines. There are those judging others for performing a flavor of immortality that they don’t tolerate. Then there are those who feel judged by people but who in turn judge their accusers for living impure lives themselves. Of course, usually when any form of dialogue is started about this, it can quickly degrade to a shouting match of name-calling.

    Wouldn’t you agree that hypocrisy is unjust like bigotry and racism? Sure, but hypocrisy is just convoluting the original issue. The immorality that was originally singled-out is still… sin. This is pretty much what Jesus was getting at in Matthew 7:5 when he’s talking about planks and sawdust and painful eyeballs. Some try to use this passage to mean: don’t judge me because you’re just as bad (or worse) as I am. But what Jesus seems to be saying here is for us to first address the sins in our own life and then we will be able to freely help others with theirs.

    So, I’m not pointing fingers here. I could have my own personal lumber mill from the pile of planks and specks extricated from my eye socket. In plainer words, I have received an abundant amount of God’s grace and forgiveness; this includes the areas of sexual sin, hypocrisy, as well as many other areas. And the good news is: this free gift of grace is also available to all who are willing to receive it. Here are a few verses for thought.

    If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)

    “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him [Jesus] forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.”– Acts 13:38-39 (NASB)

    … if you confess with your mouth Jesus [as] Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” – Romans 10:9-11 (NASB)

    Lord bless each of you this weekend as we celebrate Jesus’ triumph over sin and death. My prayer is that you will not be disappointed.