IN MANY of the conversations I’ve had recently about today’s toughest issues, I’m hearing more and more pastors talk about how we “just need to love people.” This response is given as pastors are talking about how to “deal” with the sin we see in culture and in our people. That answer sounds good and no doubt has lots of truth in it. We are supposed to love others. Jesus says it is the second of the greatest commandments: love God and love others. Love IS the answer but to understand what it means to “love people” we have to take our direction from the Bible.
The Bible clearly teaches that if we fail to confront sin in our lives and in the lives of others we miss the opportunity to show how love, grace and the Gospel overcomes all sin. The formula is something like this: confronting the sin and then comforting with the Gospel. Confronting and comforting. Always both.
When we confront sin and follow it with the Gospel (which is exactly what Jesus always did (see below)) we are saying that the Gospel is bigger than any sin. If we are afraid to confront sin because we are afraid we might “push someone away” or we feel it is “unloving” then that sin retains its power over the person. It is a fake, or at least an incomplete, love we practice if we do not talk openly and seriously about sin.
Confronting, confessing and repenting of sin and then applying the Gospel to it, frees people from the power of sin. Remember, it is for freedom we have been set free. As Christians we should endeavor to follow the ways of Jesus: point out sin, call to repentance and illustrate how the radical love of the Gospel is more powerful than any sin.
For instance, when Jesus confronts the woman at the well or Zaccheus the tax collector, He is doing so because He wants to show them that the Gospel overcomes their sin. Jesus tells them to “go and sin no more” because the power and love of the Gospel has shown them true life, purpose and identity. It would have been exceeding unloving for Jesus to shy away from confronting the very thing that, if left alone, would have kept them in bondage. I’m glad Jesus confronts my sin because I want to be free of it.
Jesus confronts sin and comforts with His Gospel because He loves people. Church, let’s follow the ways of Jesus.
Brian Kruckenberg – Lead Pastor