Selective Grace – Reformation Day Rant

“I’m in my bro’s church, broom, broom … get out of me church …awe!”

An acquaintance posted the following scripture on FB with not comment.  I don’t know why, but it set me off a bit.

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.” 1 Corinthians 5:9-13

There is nothing wrong with this scripture.  Jesus died to free us from our sin and it is important that we follow His example into a resurrected life. It is quite an appropriate scripture for a people who have gotten their priorities really messed up to look closely at themselves and hold each other accountable to the mission that is set before us.

The problem I have is that many believers in our church have looked at the words of these verses to use as a weapon to use against the sins that they find most appalling.  As I scan my Facebook news feed, many times the same people who rant against sexually immorality (outside the church … btw, the government is outside the church not matter how much we want to claim that this is a Christian nation), are the same people who espouse ultra patriotism/nationalism (idolatry) and support unregulated capitalism (greedy swindlers).  I love my country and appreciate the economic and religious freedoms that it affords, but morality is more than sex and social failures.  We like to quote the fathers of our nation to prove that we are a Christian nation, but even John Adams saw early on that it was not necessarily so. He foresaw the problems inherent to our form of government and when he spoke of the morality that would doom our way of life, he was looking into many of the problems we face today.

Gentleman,

While our country remains untainted with the principles and manners which are now producing desolation in so many parts of the world; while she continues sincere, and incapable of insidious and impious policy, we shall have the strongest reason to rejoice in the local destination assigned us by Providence. But should the people of America once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another, and towards foreign nations, which assumes the language of justice and moderation while it is practicing iniquity and extravagance, and displays I have received from Major-General Hull and Brigadier, General Walker your unanimous address from Lexington, animated with a martial spirit, and expressed with a military dignity becoming your character and the memorable plains on which it was adopted. in the most captivating manner the charming pictures of candor, frankness, and sincerity, while it is rioting in rapine and insolence, this country will be the most miserable habitation in the World; because we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, • would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. (Message from John Adams to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts 1798)

He was not concerned so much with sexual morality, drinking, language, or the sins that bring down individuals.  It was the issues that subjugate the weak that worried him.  Avarice (extreme greed for wealth or material gain), ambition, revenge, or gallantry … sounds eerily  like the drivers of our current economic social climate.  This falls right in line with the moral concerns that Paul mentioned above.  How is it that many conservative christian people have aligned themselves with political movements that support and encourage legislation that gives advantage to those which best utilize these immoral characteristics?  Those political movements shrewdly also aligned themselves with the conservative church on social issues to ensure the unrestrained exercise of their avarice.

Morality is much more about the heart and the way we look at the world than it is about many of the things we get bent out of shape over. (Comment from Twitter “I don’t see how someone can use that kind of language and call themselves a Christian)  Maybe we should try to see the Epistles and the OT from the perspective of hills from which Jesus viewed the world.  Take a peek from the highest point on the temple and the mountain where He was tempted and rejected the treasures of this world; from the mount where he gave the masses the beatitudes and the rest of that great sermon of love and mercy; from the mount where he was transfigured and received His last moment of encouragement before taking that final road; and from Calvary where He not only looked upon our sin, but took it upon himself.  Maybe … if I can see from  the heights that Jesus viewed the world maybe I can find a way to judge but do it as he did and “judge rightly” and free my brothers and sisters from my selective grace.

 

2 thoughts on “Selective Grace – Reformation Day Rant”

    1. Annie, I keep thinking I am going to make someone made, but I am finding that more people are rethinking the “company line” and looking to Jesus. Discernment is so critical. You are sitting in one of the frontline battle grounds of far-right and far-left. Only the grace and love of Jesus can cut through to the heart of the matter.

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