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Date: 07.26.17
The Big “S” Bus


It seems no one likes to talk about sin these days. I get it. It’s not fun admitting our flaws, facing our failures, and being honest about blowing it.  But if we don’t talk about sin because we’re worried about not making a brother or sister in Christ uncomfortable, we’re not really loving them.

Sin is like a big bus with an “S” on the side. If I see it rambling down the street and I notice that a Christian brother or sister is going to run into the road, am I loving them if I just encourage them and say, “Hey, it’s all going to be okay. You’re doing great!”? Is it loving to remain silent if I know they are going to do something that will blow up their life, ruin their marriage, destroy their career, hurt their body, devastate their children, or make a mess of their finances?

There have been a couple times in my life when I was making some pretty stupid decisions and I had a sinful attitude. Even though it would have been difficult for me, I wish a mature, faithful, Christian friend who loved me would have talked with me. I needed someone to help me work through what I was feeling so I could experience an attitude adjustment. I needed to get my heart right with Christ.

I fear being politically correct and not offending anyone has become the enemy of morality, Christian virtue—and even loving others.

Maybe you’ve heard people say, “It’s not my place to judge.” True, we can’t judge a Christian’s salvation. But we are to judge—or identify sin—so we won’t be deceived.  In John 7:24 Jesus says we are to make “righteous judgments.” We are to judge by God’s Word. If this was not true, why the 10 Commandments? Why Christ’s words of how to live? The Bible is our plumb line to help us determine right from wrong and to help us judge—or identify—sin. It’s our compass for how to live God’s way.

Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted” (Emphasis mine). How can we see someone “caught in sin” if we don’t judge sin?

Jesus also says in Luke 17:3, “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.”

Of course, I am not advocating beating up people with a “holier than thou” critical attitude. We are called to love in humility. But we must realize that loving someone and “rebuking” them as Christ commands if they are caught in sin are not polar opposites. They are one in the same. It’s helping them so they don’t get flattened by the big “S” bus. It’s helping them avoid destruction and the death caused by sin (See James 1:13-15).

We must remember, however, to examine our own hearts and see if there is sin in our own lives before we go to our brother or sister (Matthew 7:5). We are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15); following the leading of the Holy Spirit, and ask for Christ’s wisdom (James 1:5). We should love them with agape love that has their best interest in mind (John 13:35), and if necessary, we should be willing to walk with them through their trial to help them reconcile to Christ.

Posted in: Relationships

Comments

10 thoughts on “The Big “S” Bus

  1. Great post Shana! I have heard so many people say “we are not to judge others” but you are right in the fact we are not to condemn them or in other words say “you are going to hell” but we are to help our brothers and sisters when it comes to sin!
    Thank you and blessings to you and yours!

  2. Shana,
    Given that the actions of Trump and his cronies are
    really going to hurt a large segment of Americans,
    it is very difficult for me to avoid “judging” Trump, et al.

  3. THANK YOU for this article today! I have been struggling greatly knowing a dear friend is playing around in fringe areas that could be dangerous to her and her family…….yet, I have remained silent…..mostly out of some kind of fear that I might push her away and lose her friendship. Yet, today, I see more clearly that the issue is more about whether I love this person (and her sweet family) enough to chance her scoring me badly, or if I don’t really love her enough to risk personal pain. Today, it become clear that the issue I’m really struggling with is not what the friend is doing as much as it is what I am not doing. If she were dealing with a life or death medical issue, I’d be shoving her in my car and heading for the nearest hospital. Yet I’ve sat silently by and not lifted a finger, or a sentence, to help her see these life choices will destroy not only her life but those of her husband and children. Thank you for this much needed word today.

  4. Shana- Seems ‘judge not’ is the catch phrase these days on looking away from other sins. My sons, 25 & 23, ‘lecture’ us on this all the time 🙂 If we love someone how do we not warn them when they are about to be burned by ‘putting their hand in a hot stove’. It’s difficult for us to navigate this in our current culture but like you mentioned from James 1, we are to ask for wisdom. Thank you so much for your wonderfully encouraging devotionals.

  5. Hi Shana!

    I think the confusion comes with our inferred meaning of the word judge. We are called to recognize and to “call out sin” in ourselves and in others; Not to ignore it or placate sin with good intentions and rationalizations.

    It is not up to us to be a judge in the strict sense. It is to effectively discern, humbly pray, and if necessary, to lovingly confront and call out sin for what it is. Jesus reminds of this sensitivity when he tells us to mind the plank in our own eye first.

    We are all sinners and fall short of God’s glory, and yet, He died for us while we were still sinners. We must recognize that we are on a journey to become more Christ-like, but that we will always fall short in our flesh. All of us!

    I find it somewhat amusing that the sin (or even just the annoying traits) we complain about in others often point back to our own shortcomings; e.g., we berate the procrastinator and yet we ourselves are lazy…

    Blessings, Ron

  6. Shana,
    There is also what is known as the Ecclesial or Law of the New Testament. It is very clear that we are, in deed, to judge first ourselves and then other Christians in the area of sin. It is also is good to judge other Christians when they do something that is righteous and noble also! As a matter of fact, we see examples of both of these types of judgments in Scripture; especially in the New Testament. If another Christian is involved in sin, then the Ecclesial of the New Testament gives us a strict guideline to follow in dealing with such situations.

  7. Spot on Shana! A couple thoughts to amplify yours. Where people are tempted to say not to judge, is the Bible really saying not to condemn? There are so many examples of where Jesus himself judges and calls us to be discerning about sin, but we also need to be careful not to unintentionally be hurting someone’s spirit or figuratively casting them away from God. As with Jesus, we should all be looking for redemptive actions and beliefs. Also, with the current polarization on so many righteous moral issues, I’m concerned that the Church has often been perceived as unloving in how it rebukes sin. Not that we should shy away from being truthful, but maybe we need to find additional emphasis in our thinking and speech to concentrate on doing it in an especially loving way, as you mention, so that we become better known as people of grace and caring. This is a challenging task which I believe is made clearer to each of us by contemplating on and getting ever closer to our Lord so that we can better understand His heart and Ways. Thank you for your insights, caring and sharing.

  8. This message is so clear. I have seen the times I have turned my head rather then to face sin head own. I am so guilty for not speaking up for fear I may be ridiculed. I see now I have to speak a word encouragement in a way of not condemning them with a holier than I attitude.
    Thank you so much.

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  • Great post Shana! I have heard so many people say “we are not to judge others” but you are right in the fact we are not to condemn them or in other words say “you are going to hell” but we are to help our brothers and sisters when it comes to sin!
    Thank you and blessings to you and yours!

  • Shana,
    Given that the actions of Trump and his cronies are
    really going to hurt a large segment of Americans,
    it is very difficult for me to avoid “judging” Trump, et al.

  • THANK YOU for this article today! I have been struggling greatly knowing a dear friend is playing around in fringe areas that could be dangerous to her and her family…….yet, I have remained silent…..mostly out of some kind of fear that I might push her away and lose her friendship. Yet, today, I see more clearly that the issue is more about whether I love this person (and her sweet family) enough to chance her scoring me badly, or if I don’t really love her enough to risk personal pain. Today, it become clear that the issue I’m really struggling with is not what the friend is doing as much as it is what I am not doing. If she were dealing with a life or death medical issue, I’d be shoving her in my car and heading for the nearest hospital. Yet I’ve sat silently by and not lifted a finger, or a sentence, to help her see these life choices will destroy not only her life but those of her husband and children. Thank you for this much needed word today.

  • Shana- Seems ‘judge not’ is the catch phrase these days on looking away from other sins. My sons, 25 & 23, ‘lecture’ us on this all the time 🙂 If we love someone how do we not warn them when they are about to be burned by ‘putting their hand in a hot stove’. It’s difficult for us to navigate this in our current culture but like you mentioned from James 1, we are to ask for wisdom. Thank you so much for your wonderfully encouraging devotionals.

  • Hi Shana!

    I think the confusion comes with our inferred meaning of the word judge. We are called to recognize and to “call out sin” in ourselves and in others; Not to ignore it or placate sin with good intentions and rationalizations.

    It is not up to us to be a judge in the strict sense. It is to effectively discern, humbly pray, and if necessary, to lovingly confront and call out sin for what it is. Jesus reminds of this sensitivity when he tells us to mind the plank in our own eye first.

    We are all sinners and fall short of God’s glory, and yet, He died for us while we were still sinners. We must recognize that we are on a journey to become more Christ-like, but that we will always fall short in our flesh. All of us!

    I find it somewhat amusing that the sin (or even just the annoying traits) we complain about in others often point back to our own shortcomings; e.g., we berate the procrastinator and yet we ourselves are lazy…

    Blessings, Ron

  • Shana,
    There is also what is known as the Ecclesial or Law of the New Testament. It is very clear that we are, in deed, to judge first ourselves and then other Christians in the area of sin. It is also is good to judge other Christians when they do something that is righteous and noble also! As a matter of fact, we see examples of both of these types of judgments in Scripture; especially in the New Testament. If another Christian is involved in sin, then the Ecclesial of the New Testament gives us a strict guideline to follow in dealing with such situations.

  • Spot on Shana! A couple thoughts to amplify yours. Where people are tempted to say not to judge, is the Bible really saying not to condemn? There are so many examples of where Jesus himself judges and calls us to be discerning about sin, but we also need to be careful not to unintentionally be hurting someone’s spirit or figuratively casting them away from God. As with Jesus, we should all be looking for redemptive actions and beliefs. Also, with the current polarization on so many righteous moral issues, I’m concerned that the Church has often been perceived as unloving in how it rebukes sin. Not that we should shy away from being truthful, but maybe we need to find additional emphasis in our thinking and speech to concentrate on doing it in an especially loving way, as you mention, so that we become better known as people of grace and caring. This is a challenging task which I believe is made clearer to each of us by contemplating on and getting ever closer to our Lord so that we can better understand His heart and Ways. Thank you for your insights, caring and sharing.

  • This message is so clear. I have seen the times I have turned my head rather then to face sin head own. I am so guilty for not speaking up for fear I may be ridiculed. I see now I have to speak a word encouragement in a way of not condemning them with a holier than I attitude.
    Thank you so much.

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