A few weeks ago I started a class on the book of Proverbs. After a brief teaching on chapter 5 – the one about the promiscuous woman, I invited everyone to way in on the subject. Before long our conversation drifted toward Miley Cyrus. You already know the story, but I for one do not pay much attention to life in Hollywood or show business for that matter. Not because I don’t care about some of the creative and healthy stuff that do come out from time to time, but that I don’t necessarily expect anything wholesome to come out of that place.
As I listen to the discussion, it was clear that the participants in the class were all shocked and angry about Miley’s twerking and dirty dancing. Quite frankly, I wasn’t too surprised when I heard about it and saw it on the news, but it was still shocking to see the girl go that dirty. I think I was more outraged about Robin Thicke being a part of the thing. I still in some way have a righteous anger mixed with a deep and sorrowful compassion toward him.
For me he should had known better or shown a little common sense. I mean, think about it, she is twenty and he is as old as her dad. He’s married, she is not. Yet he stands there and allows the little girl who could be his child rub herself all over him in the most degrading and sexually provocative way. My anger burns toward the guy.
In any event, one should expect things like that to happen in show business. That’s why I don’t listen or watch them. I don’t expect them to bring anything good or wholesome. You cannot expect an unbeliever to behave in a godly fashion – they are not saved, and don’t have that kind of power.
I remember when I was a younger man without the saving knowledge of Christ. My mother would get on my case about doing the right thing. She would often force me to read the book of Proverbs. Even though I read some very great things in the book, I still didn’t have the power to live it out in my life. I didn’t know Jesus.
On the other hand, I expect believers to behave in a godly fashion and live out godly lifestyles – because they know Jesus and have that kind of power through the grace of God. Unfortunately, a lot of us still do stupid things from time to time. The church itself has had too many scandals of christian and clergy doing sinful things.
Having said that, too often when we see the sinfulness of others – those of the world or those of our christian brothers, we almost, automatically turn into a stone throwing mob ready for the kill. Our displeasure toward their sinfulness is quickly turned into this “holier than thou” attitude ready to tear people to shreds. But just like Jesus drew a line in the sand many years ago between an angry mob and the woman caught in the very act, we must draw that same line today before we throw a stone at sinners – unbelieving sinners and believing sinners, no matter how outrageous their behavior is.
We should draw a line and ask ourselves the following questions before we throw the first stone:
- I’m I acting out of sacrifice or out of mercy? Sacrifice is about holiness and justice – God’s just condemnation and punishment for sin. Sacrifice is about purity and the punishment of a lack there of. Mercy is the ability to look past one’s sin and allow space for love, grace and mercy. Jesus said, for it is mercy I want not sacrifice – go and learn what that means… Matthew 9:13
- How much time have I spend weeping, praying over the sinner?
- Do I have enough burden, am I willing to bear that burden?
- When the Lord leads, am I willing to confront gently, sympathetically and respectfully? Galatians 6:1 says, brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.
- Am I sure that I know that I am not better than others?
- How would Jesus want me to react to the sinfulness of the world?
- Am I aware that I should never compare myself to others in a “holier than thou” way?
- How aware am I about my weaknesses, frailties, sinfulness? In John 8:7, Jesus made the following statement: Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw the first stone. After he made that statement he bent down and began to write on the ground. But when he lifted up his head, the angry mob was gone. The point is this, every one of us struggle with sin. If we are honest enough to admit it, at least to ourselves, we will be a bit more gracious toward others.
- Am I willing to avoid gossip, slander or evil speaking ?
- Am I truly broken over the plight of the sinner?
- Am I motivated by love?
We live in a sinful world, and we are told to be like little infants when it comes to sin, to avoid the very appearance of it. We are told to keep ourselves in the love of God waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. We are told to have mercy on sinners and those who doubt and save other by snatching them out of the fire. We are told to show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. When we see the sinfulness of others, let us think about these things first before we start throwing stones. This is the way the Lord would want for us to live and engage the culture around us – either in the world or in the church.
what other question do you think we should ask ourselves before we start throwing stones?
Related Post: I desire Mercy not Sacrifice