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.