There is a growing trend that I’ve been noticing for a while. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ve probably seen it as well. Some of you maybe have even gotten caught up in it. I get it. It’s easy to do, and our human nature wants us to believe it. But I believe it is a dangerous trend that can end up hurting more people than we could ever help with it. What is it? It’s the idea that everything is alright, nothing is as bad as we could make it out to be, and in the end, God’s love wins.
Let me say one thing before I go any further. Yes, in the end God’s love wins, but not in the way that many are trying to argue now. God wins in the end. But for us that means we have to be in a right relationship with Him. There are going to be those that, through their decisions, do not end up on the right side of eternity. Jesus went to the cross for our sins, and it is through His blood that we have a chance at a relationship with God. But that means making Jesus our Lord and Savior. That means attempting to live the life that He has laid out for us. That means loving others as our selves and becoming servants.
There is a picture of a church sign that has been circulating through social media the past few days. I’ve seen in pop up a few different times from different connections I have. At first glance, I was all for it (even though I truly do have a disdain for church signs, because most do more harm than good). It reads, “Just love everyone I’ll sort’em out later. —God”. While I agree with this on the surface, I think there is a deeper meaning that people are trying to take out of this that, in the end, is just plain wrong.
Yes, we are supposed to love everyone. I agree with that wholeheartedly, even though I understand that some people are just down right hard to love at times. That’s ok. God never said it was going to be easy to follow His commands, just worth it. The deeper part of this, however, is a potential issue. With society the way it is today, I see people taking this as saying “Never correct anyone, never disagree with someone, live with tolerance, even if they are doing something that is completely opposite of what the Word of God says.” In other words, there is no right and wrong, so just love each other and God will sort it out in the end.
Here’s the problem with that. If someone is going against the very Word of God, and you don’t try to help them see where they are wrong because you love them, that is the very opposite of love. And that is where I am afraid our society is heading. There are differences in how we need to react to others depending if they are fellow Christ followers or not. I’ve written here before about how we can never expect a culture that doesn’t claim to follow Jesus to live by the morals that we try to live by. And that is very much true here as well. Pointing out to someone that they are not living according to the Bible when they don’t claim to be trying to follow Jesus is not the best way to go about this.
But think about it. You wouldn’t let someone walk into the path of an oncoming bus that they didn’t see just because they don’t see it would you? That’s why we need to be building relationships with others and introducing them to Jesus. If not, they are just walking into the path of destruction.
Penn Jillette is one of the members of the duo better known as Penn and Teller. They have a very famous show in Las Vegas, where they perform regularly. Penn is a very outspoken atheist, but I came across a video he posted a few years ago on Youtube that opened my eyes to something profound. In the video (which you can watch here), Penn describes meeting a man from the audience of one of his shows. The man gives Penn a Gideons pocket edition New Testament, and tells Penn about Jesus. In the front of the Bible, the man has written contact info down so that Penn can contact him to ask questions if any arise from reading.
Now Penn states directly that he knows there is no god, a point that I disagree with wholeheartedly. But he goes on to talk about how much respect he has for the man that approached him. He says that he has no love for any Christian that doesn’t try to share their faith. Penn goes on to use the analogy of a bus, saying if you see a bus coming that someone else doesn’t, you do everything in your power to pull them out of the path of the bus. This is where it gets really interesting. He says if you believe in God, heaven and hell, how much do you have to hate someone to not try to tell them about it.
Penn Jillette makes one the best arguments for evangelism that I’ve ever seen. Not only is it not loving to not share your faith with someone that doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus, an atheist claims that you must hate someone not to do so. Think about that? Love everyone and God will sort them out later. How can you love someone and just sit idly and watch them go to hell?
How much do you have to hate someone to not share your faith with them?
Now, there is another side of this that we need to deal with as well. What about fellow Christ followers? Just love them. Never correct them. Never call each other out for sinful behavior, right? It’s not that simple. In Jesus’ most famous sermons, recording in the early chapters of Matthew, and known to us as the “Sermon on the Mount”, Jesus addresses judging. I’ve heard this passage used countless times trying to say that we should not judge each other. And while there is some truth in that, it is not entirely what Jesus is talking about. In Matthew 7:1-5, Jesus is recorded as saying;
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
I hear most people talk about how can we judge someone else when we have our own sin. And that is true. Jesus asks how can we help our brother get the speck out of his eye with a log in our own. But most stop there. Jesus continued. He said to take the log out of our own eye (get rid of the sin) and then we will see clearly to remove the speck from out brother’s eye. In other words, we are called to help one another remove sin from our lives. Not just let each other continue in sin with a log in our eyes.
So I would say the same thing about our fellow Christ followers. How much do you have to hate them to not try to help them correct sin in their lives? It’s not judging them, it is loving them. God even disciplines us because He loves us. Sometimes He uses others to point out where we’ve gone wrong. But make not mistake about it, His discipline comes from a place of love.
“Just love everyone I’ll sort’em out later.—God” I’m fine with that, as long as you realize this. Sometimes, the most loving thing you can do for someone is point out that they are sinful and in need of a loving Savior.