You know what it’s like to drive behind an out-of-state driver? Those sharp turns they make as they realize they’ve nearly passed up the road their GPS told them about. Or the way that they speed up and slow down, looking for a street sign to point them in the right direction.
Being back in my home state for the weekend, if we make any driving mistakes, we figure people will see our out-of-state license plate and excuse our actions. They don’t have to know we’ve lived here most of our lives… right? haha
But seriously, why would an out-of-state driver know the roads over here? If they’ve truly never been here, it’s no surprise that they get lost.
Of course, as we were driving around yesterday, these thoughts seemed to correlate with some that had already been turning around in my head for a week or two. Just like we don’t expect out-of-state drivers to know our roads, we – as Christians – shouldn’t be surprised when we see an unsaved person sinning.
We shouldn’t look down our nose at sinners and scoff at how sinful they are (aren’t they called sinners for a reason?). If man’s heart is truly deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), is it any wonder that a heart unregenerate would pursue evil things? Don’t we know that without Christ we would be no different?
Now this is not to say that we ought to act as if sinning is okay. God hates sin and we should as well. But a hatred for the people who sin will never reach those hearts and point them to God; it will only make them bitter and push them further away.
for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. -James 1:20
Take it from Jesus and the example He set. When He walked the earth, He was never angry towards tax collectors, thieves, and adulterers. Instead, He became angry with the religious people who painted on righteousness on the outside and were puffed up with pride in their own good works. They thought they had it down and that God just had to love them because they were so good. They compared themselves to other people, saying, “God, thank You that I am not like other men–extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector over here. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.” (Luke 18:11-12).
So thinking on this, how should we act toward the unsaved people who cross our path each day? Should we huff and puff about how sinful they are and avoid them like the plague? Or show them the love that Jesus did and be an example to them of the difference that Christ makes in our lives? Think about it.
How can we tell people that our God is love when we are unwilling to love them ourselves?
He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. -1 John 4:8