“I am not as bad (sinful) as that other person next to me. I never killed. I never stole anything. I don’t use profanity. I never committed adultery. I never fornicated (slept with anyone prior to my marriage). I never cheated on my taxes. I don’t drink. I don’t do drugs. I am, overall, a pretty ‘good’ Christian. God must love me so much more.”
Does this sound familiar? I admit that this is something I have done. Many times. As a born-again believer in Jesus.
The classic human struggle. One that is as ancient as the foundations of the world. A constant desire to compare oneself with others.
Why do we compare our sins? Why do we put them on a scale made up by men? Why do we RATE sins?
Is it because we want to justify our own sins? Or do we pay greater attention to sins like fornication and adultery because these are “made public” and pornography can be hidden from others?
Sin is sin.
I could have just finished the post right here. However, I know that there are many believers who continue to insist that there is some imaginary rating scale of sins.
We continue duping ourselves into believing that the most holy and just God will let us slide if we lie to get IHSS (In-Home Supportive Services), or we gossip about another believer who admitted to cheating on his wife, or we simply bask in spiritual pridefulness.
He (Jesus) also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)
We take on the role of the Pharisees on a daily basis, comparing ourselves with other believers, who just happened to fall from a more higher cliff…
We really do a good job of lulling ourselves to spiritual slumber… “I am not as bad as that believer I know who has an alcohol addiction or that other woman who seduced the choir director.”
Meanwhile, we think there is nothing wrong with “lying a little” on our resume in order to get that coveted job position. “Surely, God sees that I really need this job. My family REALLY needs this job income.”
Gossiping about the church members who have committed adultery or a young couple who fornicated is perfectly normal…
Showing off our big houses and expensive cars has become our priority. Jealousy of what others “achieved” has taken root in the deep of our hearts…
A young man who admits to having a pornography addiction is told by his pastor, “It’s all right. Most men struggle with this. It will get easier once you get married.”
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
“Since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” (Romans 1:28-32)
Yes, the above passages describe those who have not given their lives to Jesus.
However, a question arises: Why do we find some of those descriptions (sins) in our lives? Why?
Please, do not think for a second that I am on some “vengeful spree of exposing the Slavic churches and the Slavic religious leaders.”
I am writing this out of a deep conviction of the Holy Spirit in my heart. I am writing this with love and a deep desire to see a revival in our churches.
This is not about race or culture. This is about the present church of Christ not being the spotless bride.
“If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” (1 John 1:6)
What are we doing?!
The fact remains: we compare ourselves with other believers, using them as a measuring stick of our righteousness. Spiritual pride follows and we turn into the biblical Pharisees.
What should be our measuring stick? What should be our mirror?
The Word of God.
Our experiences should not take precedence over the Word of God! Our church traditions should not take precedence over the Word of God! Our doctrines should not take place of the Word of God!
“Nothing unclean will ever enter it (heaven), nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:27)
“For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:2-3)
“Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27)
I wrote this post last night. This morning I read a new article posted by Pastor Russel Korets – An Apology from a Pastor. Although the original article I wrote was not directed to any pastors and/or religious leaders, (other than the ones I have known in my region), and pastor Russel did not have to apologize for other pastors/church leaders, I really hope and pray that his article reaches the hearts of many pastors/religious leaders in the Slavic community. God is purifying His church and making her “spotless and without blemish.” My heart rejoices in this!
Have you rated sins as I have? Have you compared yourself to other believers and not to Jesus? Have you stopped looking in the Word of God as a mirror in which you see your own imperfections?
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:19-27)
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