I am writing this blog on June 20th. Why is that relevant? Well, today, in Wilmore, KY “Ichthus” —- the longest running annual Christian music festival in the nation – began.
Now, back in 1985 roadtrips were still affordable. I was a carefree college freshman living in Detroit so my best friend and I drove down to Ichthus to see Petra, Michael W. Smith, Phil Keaggy, and DeGarmo & Key as well as the grandfathers of what we now refer to as “Contemporary Christian Music” or CCM — Chuck Girard, Larry Norman, and Mylon LeFevre.
To be perfectly honest, I was a “Christian” that had no clue what Lordship was about. But, despite my lack of understanding, there was this song by Chuck Girard that has stuck with me since then. It was entitled, “Don’t Shoot the Wounded” and a few years later, would later be reintroduced to CCM by a young up and coming band named DC Talk.
Some day, if you get the chance, take the time to look up the lyrics of the song. In short, the song reaffirms in poetic fashion the truth often taught by our teaching pastor, Chris, that we do more to damage one another in the Body than anyone else. More plainly spoken, “ … there ain’t no hurt like a church hurt … “.
By this time you are wondering what any of this has to do with the RMG. Believe it or not, it is not too far a reach.
This summer our RMG is going through Jerry Bridge’s book entitled Respectable Sins. It is a very good and convicting read. In a way that only Bridges can do, we are confronted with the fact that we as believers are still filled with sin; only it’s the kind that we are really good about overlooking.
As we discussed Respectable Sins we recognized that we are very good about overlooking our own but find it very easy to see it in others – especially our own brothers and sisters in Christ. This tendency seems to fall into two categories:
The Sin Seekers: Some of us seem to carry the mantle of looking for sin in others and wanting to expose it by address it with them in an unbiblical fashion or by “sharing” (gossiping) about it with another concerned brother or sister in Christ; or
The Often Offended: Then there are some of us who are very easily offended by another’s sin against us or just seeing or hearing about another persons sin in general.And, again, if we do address it, is usually unbiblical and if we don’t, we gossip about it with others who will share our pain with us.
It was during this discussion, the lyrics from, “Don’t Shoot the Wounded” came to mind. So, see, that was not “too far a reach” and we even got some CCM history to boot. But I digress.
The bottom line is this: In forgetting our own sin, we do damage to one another.
Being overly zealous to point out sin or overly sensitive to others’ sin when we have glaring issues of our own is hypocritical. So is gossiping about it. Hypocrisy leads to a lack of trust, which results in a lack of love. And, the danger is that a believer or body that is unable to love is in direct disobedience to the command of Christ in John 13:34-35.
So, when we find ourselves being a “Sin Seeker” or an “Often Offended” here are a few simple truths from scripture that will help us avoid the danger of disobedience:
(1) We should remember first the truths in Jeremiah 17:9 and Ecclesiastes 9:3. Our hearts are by nature deceitful, desperately sick and evil. We cannot presume our motives or means are pure, so we must examine them through the lens of scripture.
(2) We should follow Paul’s model of humility and self-reflection in Ephesians 3:8 and 1 Timothy 1:15. We cannot presume to speak down to someone about their sin if we know we are least of saints and greatest of sinners.
(3) We should remember Christ’s warning in Matthew 7:1-5. The instant we see sin in someone else we should not think about confronting them; instead we should begin a self-evaluation of our own sin. We cannot presume see another’s sin clearly with logs in our eye, which means that not only are we being hypocritical, we are also very likely just flat out wrong.
(4) We should remember the passage that follows Jeremiah 17:9: “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.” We cannot presume to know what only God knows, and we need to trust that God will ensure sins are awarded accordingly.
Overall, we should remember that if we all spend more time focusing on our own personal sins, instead of the sins of others, we would be a much healthier body and a much brighter light to world that needs to know Christ.