Why do people do things that offend others and harm themselves? Why do some people act like they don’t care what others think about their lifestyle choices that are clearly addictive and hurtful? Perhaps you can recall a time in your life when you didn’t particularly like the way you were living but you weren’t sure what to do about it.
Destructive behaviour is most often a symptom of deeper issues going on in someone’s life. We tend to focus on what’s happening on the outside when the inside is really the heart of the matter. For many, that relates directly to how one sees himself or herself in terms of being loved and valued outwardly. Until any person can see themselves in a healthy way, poor choices and negative consequences will be their ongoing reality.
Society at large has a long history of trying to soothe the effects of self-inflicted hurt instead of confronting the root cause of why people do it. Approving of and facilitating sinful behaviour can never transform a life. Only the gospel can offer the way to a new way of living that satisfies the cravings of the heart to be loved and contributes to the well being of others by loving them instead of hurting them.
Where am I going with this? I want us to recognize that we have a powerful message to live out and share with others that changes lives dramatically. Jesus is the message and he is the only one who can deal with our sin condition and the consequences of our messed up thinking and doing. That’s what the whole world needs to hear, and you and I are among those who are called by God to tell it. No, that’s not an easy assignment, but it is the ultimate answer for a hurting world.
This Sunday I will focus on Jesus doing this very thing. Read John 7:53-8:11 and you will find the account of Jesus offering a way out of a lifestyle of recklessness to a woman who probably didn’t think there was one. How Jesus treated the woman and dealt with her accusers is very instructive for us as to how we can do the same. Notice how Jesus struck the perfect balance of showing grace and speaking truth. Rather than condemning the woman already guilty for her actions, he offered her a pathway to freedom. But at the same time he did this truthfully, pointing her to God’s way of living.
You may have heard the expression ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’. As a Christian, that’s easier said than done, isn’t it. However, Jesus gives us the perfect example of how to do this – it’s with a balance of grace and truth. People listened to Jesus tell them hard things about themselves because they sensed that he truly loved and valued them and wanted them to experience deep life transformation. We must do the same
I’m looking forward to digging deeper into this with you on Sunday. See you then….