It seems that the stance I took this week here on Crossing Paths has cost me a friend on Facebook. On one hand, I’m saddened. On the other hand, I don’t take it personally. It’s nothing big. A disagreement on tactics. I don’t apologize for the stance I took, or how I took it. I don’t regret it. If someone feels that I’m arrogant or judgmental for calling all Christians, myself included, to live our lives by a higher standard…I can live with that. I’m certainly not out to lose friends, but I am not willing to hold back just so people won’t be uncomfortable. We ought to be a little uncomfortable when we measure our lives by God’s standard.
Jesus saved His harshest words for those who professed to be religious. A great example of that was the woman caught in the act of adultery. The religious leaders set up a sting operation to catch the woman, then dragged her to Jesus. But their plan to put Jesus between a rock and a hard place backfired on them. Rather than condemn the woman, who clearly was in the wrong and subject to the law of the day, Jesus used the situation to shine the light of truth on those who claimed to be righteous. He extended grace to the sinner while putting a divine smackdown on those who sought to cause Jesus to compromise. You can bet they were more than a little uncomfortable.
I will not be so audacious as to compare myself to Jesus in any significant way. But I will say that, like Him, I will speak bluntly and boldly to my fellow believers when it comes to us living our lives appropriately. I do not do so in a manner that says I have arrived at a higher level of maturity or accomplishment because I am the least among us. I speak from my heart based on what God is burning into it. We are co-laborers. If we are each working out our salvation daily, if we are each striving toward the same thing, we can learn from each other. If we are humble enough to see ourselves for who we really are, we can edify and exhort, and receive such from one another as we pursue greater depths of faith, and greater heights of blessing.
A former pastor of mine once said, “If you feel like I’m stepping on your toes, maybe your toes are in the wrong place.” If we are offended when someone challenges us to live by a higher standard, we really ought to examine ourselves to see if we have given the gospel a 21st century makeover.
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.