Photo by Zach Childers
It’s right to hate sin and the righteous should be a prophetic voice in the culture that is turning it’s back on God, but have you noticed we find it really easy to condemn sins other people struggle with and we tolerate our own besetting sins? Last night I said something like this to the people at Evangel:
“In the last few weeks we have had a petition on our church foyer to encourage people to register their protest of using tax money for abortions. Abortion is murder and God cannot bless a nation will not protect innocent, defenseless children, but maybe we should have a petition against grumbling and complaining now.”
Abortion is evil. Complaining doesn’t seem particularly evil because it is a sin we regularly commit. We want to be a light in our wicked and perverse culture so we make loud noises about abortion and homosexuality. What our twisted world needs now is the kind of churches that move beyond pelting sinners with stones. Sinners need to know groups of Jesus-followers who can give them hope of deliverance from their sin.
Do You Protest Your Own Sin, Or Only That of Others?
Here is the way the Apostle Paul put it in a letter to a early church: “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…” (Phil. 2:14-15 ESV)
While we are helping deliver people from the guilt and shame of secret sexual immorality and while we are using our prophetic voice to teach the law of God, to produce conviction in people who are far from God, and while we are rightfully condemning sin to create a thirst in sinners for the gospel, let’s not neglect Paul’s spirit-inspired command: “Stop grumbling and complaining. Be harmless and innocent of that. That is the way you will shine like lights in crooked and twisted generation.”
The early church was a dynamic church with the power of God because they all were of one heart and one soul and one mind. They prayed in one accord and they said the same thing. They set aside complaining and thousands of raw sinners find the grace of God.
Can God Deliver You From Complaining?
What would happen if church people stopped complaining? Paul said that when we stop complaining our light will start shining, even in a twisted world like ours. If God hasn’t delivered us from grumbling and complaining how can we expect homosexuals to believe God can deliver them?
One more thing. If your circumstances are difficult and you are tempted to complain, read this letter from a Christian doctor in Syria. It will help you be grateful for what you have.
September 9, 2013