“Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.” Ecclesiastes 7:20 (NIV)
After a conversation with a friend, I wondered why it was hard for some of us Christians to show more humility when dealing with others. Our interaction went something like this.
“You know he’s a homosexual right?”
“Yes, but so?”
“Well, I am not dealing with him at all. It’s against everything I believe; besides the bible specifically speaks against that sort of thing.”
“But he’s first a human being just like us.”
“I don’t care.”
“But what would Jesus do? Do you think He would behave as you are right now? You’re writing the poor man off just like that.”
“He’s already written off. He’s going straight to hell. End of story.”
We stared each other down and then there was … silence. Guess there was nothing more to say but I did feel somewhat disturbed.
Humility is defined as: “the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance, rank, etc.” And why do I think humility is so important? Because many Christians are being taken to task (and rightly so) for being judgmental, critical of others and purporting to be ‘holier than thou’ when dealing with ‘sinners’.
By now it should be clear: adulterers, thieves, murderers, gangsters, liars, abusers, homosexuals … no-one will listen to us if we speak from a prideful “thou shalt not …” point of view. They don’t want to hear it because they already know we are not sinless!
The thing about life though is it’s never really about us but more about taking the time to actively listen to someone as they tell their story, and then (if given the opportunity) humbly sharing what we’ve learnt from our own experience and how God helped us through the tough times.
For example, in John 4: 17 we see that Jesus never judged the woman at the well. This female had had five husbands and the man she was with was not her husband. Seriously. But oh horror of horrors! Imagine the looks of disdain from other women who knew her story and who judged her as she came into church on Sunday. Imagine the whispered comments and averted looks as she took her seat in a pew, God-forbid at the front close to the altar! Imagine the men in the congregation looking on; some secretly wondering if they could oust the current man in her life, after all … didn’t she have … morality issues? I dare you to tell me I’m wrong.
Jesus on the other hand still had hope for her. He didn’t look down on her or believe having a conversation with her was beneath him. Maybe the lesson here is instead of witnessing from a position of condoning or condemning we should try reaching out in love and encouragement to seek the change in life that’s available to us all.
There is much work to be done and the fields are ripe for harvest; it’s all about how we harvest more so than how many are harvested, even as we humbly work on getting rid of the weeds in our own gardens. What do you think? Have you ever been afraid to tell someone what’s going on in your life for fear of being judged or looked down on? I know I have.
” “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” “John 4:34 (NIV)
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (ESV)