God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). I love God for being Who He is. The Lord teaches us what love is and that we are to show that same love to others. He is love. When considering some of the things that go on in this world, do many of us display that same love Christ teaches?
It is not loving to put someone down because of their past nor is it godly to bring it up at every opportunity. From what I’ve heard many say to me, this is why they stay away from the church. Years ago, I remember someone sharing a testimony about a woman who used to be on the streets (by way of stripping or prostitution). She went to church with a mind to change from her old ways, but was met with much ridicule. It wasn’t necessarily what others said verbally to her, but their body language spoke volumes. I thought the church was where all of the sin-sick people gathered… to leave our burdens at the altar; to give it all to Christ. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” Matthew 11:28-30, KJV.
How sad it is for someone who has been in the church for years to degrade another who just came off of the streets from drug-dealing or abusing, pimping, prostitution, stealing, or even murder. What if someone took a rap sheet of the things we’ve done in this body that was in our past? The only difference is that they got caught doing what they were doing. “Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Galatians 3:3. The past is the past and as we share testimonies or stories that will help those in these situations come to Christ (because as Christians we are living testimonies) it will help us to understand their struggle. Are we so removed from sin that we have become insensitive to their plight? Are we “holier than thou” because we’ve been out of the “lifestyle” so long? I thought we are called to be evangelists…preachers as Christ puts it. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” Mark 16:15. We are to proclaim the Gospel. This is not preacher in the sense of standing in a pulpit every Sunday, but preacher in a sense of telling those out in the world.
Back to the story about the young woman who had previously been in the streets, I learned that she decided to go back to the streets. It was noted that since people always looked at her strangely (seeing her past and not someone who was hurting and crying out for help) she decided to return to what people “in the church” saw her as. The Holy Spirit reminds me of the woman caught in the act of committing adultery and how the people were ready to stone her to death. Now, if Jesus can have compassion on someone who was actively in sin, should we at the very least show that same compassion for someone who had done it last month, last week,… or even last night?
I thank God that He is not like man. I know that I have my faults and that I don’t do everything perfectly, but God said, “Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see [Him] God,” Matthew 5:8. And I know my motives are pure. I have a heart to help others and share with them what I’ve learned. Just as noted in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29… Let every man examine himself. I ask the Lord right now in the name of Jesus to cleanse me of all unrighteousness, for as we live in this flesh we are subject to temptations, but that does not mean that we have to embrace it as a lifestyle. I'm liberated as I know ... I’ve gotten out of “the lifestyle.”