“Why the Bible Commands Us to Testify to Truth Even When it Offends”
By Tiffany Harbridge
Christians, in the last several years, have been wrestling with the predicament of political correctness. Any Christian who speaks out against the ‘lifestyle choices’ of those that are commonly called the champions of ‘coexistence’ is denigrated and scorned in doing so. Conservative Christians receive even more malice. Intolerant. Hypocrite. Bigot. Judgmental. There is a litany of insulting words in the progressive vocabulary for any person who dares to attempt to reason with an individual in any manner which goes against the liberal doctrine. Progressives tend to conjure up these labels whenever confronted with someone who disagrees with their world view. Then you also have the irony of ironies when this individual who is a champion of deceit and inequity draws upon Scripture to back their claims. They will point most often to two well used passages:
|Judge not, that ye be not judged.|
|For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. Mk. 4.24|
|And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?|
|And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”|
This fails to take into account the following crucial points:
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.
This passage clearly states that Jesus wants us to recognize our own sin before pointing out our brother’s sin. It in no way discourages us from removing the speck in our brother’s eye; it encourages us to remove the wood from everyone’s eyes-ourselves included. It also states that the person who does not recognize their own plank (sin) is the hypocrite.
Context: John 8 goes on to state:
9And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. 12Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
This passage provides us with proof of several things, there can be no doubt at all that the woman who had been charged with adultery had indeed sinned as Jesus said to her “go, and sin no more”. The teaching moment here is not that we are to not recognize sin, nor are we being taught here that we cannot disapprove of or point out the sin of a sinner to the sinner. The point is clearly made once again that we must be aware of our own sin and take steps to repent and then to correct our own sinful behavior. The next section goes about exhorting us to follow Him. It is only in following that we are afforded His grace. Truly it is God’s and only God’s place to judge or condemn sinners. However, there is a lot of proof in the bible that we as Christians are charged with a requirement to point out where behavior contradicts God’s instruction (sin) and appeal to our brothers and sisters to walk within Gods Word. It is not until we trust and believe in the mercy and grace of our Savior that we can be fully cognizant of our own failings and sins and begin to correct these failings. Why therefore would we not invite our fellow brethren to explore that same avenue of grace? More on this later…
Mind you, reading the above paragraphs it is possible one might be tempted to believe that the author must be some kind of “Bible-thumper’ or religious fanatic. I must assure you that this is far from the truth. Currently, I have no Church home, and I have no denominational religion. I do maintain a relationship with God and His Word. I consider myself a Christian and I have no feelings of self-righteousness or pretentiousness about my own life-style. I merely point to the hypocrisy of the ones that throw that word around so freely without once thinking to apply it to themselves at any time.
I give to you an example to ponder; a vegetarian who feels very happy and satisfied with their choice to avoid any type of meat or animal based products. Fair to say they would most often disapprove of a carnivorous appetite. They will likely lobby people to give their way a try. They have their reasoning; they may even have some valid points to make about a healthier attitude towards food and body health. But when they are evangelizing their lifestyle choice are they ‘judging’ the carnivore? Are they condemning the carnivore? I would tend to say no, they most definitely are not. (although, no doubt a few are)But as a whole, I believe they are attempting to have the carnivore see that there is an alternative and there is a benefit. Myself as a carnivore, do I hate and despise the vegetarian for attempting to convince me that their way is better? No absolutely not. Critical thinking leads me to one and only one conclusion. This person has found something that works and has had a positive effect in their life and they want to share that with me. That is awesome! I welcome that even though I don’t believe that I will be converting to vegetarianism any time soon, I can certainly keep an open mind as to why one may wish to be one. If only this courtesy were to be extended to a Christian who is attempting to share the joy of the Word and the Grace of God, we might actually see some real ‘tolerance’ begin to take hold.
There is a difference between a choice that one makes that is in keeping with that path of following Jesus and those choices that one may make that leads one down the path of inequity and sin. I believe based upon scripture, that we are charged with a duty to provide our fellow man with guidance and indeed, sometimes clear disapproval in certain instances. Again, disapproval does not equate with judgment. The following is the scripture that guides me in this area:
2 Timothy 4
1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
1 Peter 3
14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats[b]; do not be frightened.”[c] 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
There is more I could review about what the bible teaches us about good and evil. I trust that most readers can discern those things which are considered moral and just as opposed to that which the bible teaches us is inequity and sin. It is not my intention to lecture or to tear down anyone’s ‘lifestyle’ choices, I believe that we are all God’s children and therefore are brothers and sisters in a very literal sense. Yet I do wish to appeal to all of God’s children to question their beliefs and understand how one can begin to abolish notions that lead directly to immoral behavior and encourage pathways to behaviors which lead to a common goal of peaceful cooperation. I do this within the understanding that I have failures and sin also, that I struggle against daily. And I contend that my disapproval of choices others may make comes not out of some misguided sense of superiority, but only in full love and offering of a gift of grace that I have been a recipient of and that I truly wish to share.