In my entire life, I have longed for nothing but acceptance. During my childhood, I longed for acceptance by my peers in school. And now as an adult, I am seeking acceptance from my workplace colleagues. Over the years, I have also struggled with addiction to various vices. Starting at a very young age, and while isolating myself in my room, I explored various vices. But then, in my early adulthood, I started to battle alcoholism.
After being brought to my knees by God in the waiting room of the hospice house where my sister was dying, I said “God, if you will have me, please take all of me.” And on that day, January 13, 2007, and only by the grace that God can provide, I was forgiven. Am I still a sinner? Sadly, yes. But know this, we all sin and we all fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
Though I have victory over those vices, my mental health remains poor at times. And as we get closer to the holiday season, the mental anguish worsens. This time of year is also when I struggle to get out of bed. Nearly every morning, I have to talk myself into getting up. And then I have to remind myself to “put on the fake smile, Jackie.” I also remind myself that my life has meaning and that there are people counting on me. Why? I do not know because I am not someone who is very accountable. I struggle with sin just the same as any other follower of Christ.
So here I am — my name is Jackie and I am a sinner. And as you have read above, I hide nothing of myself when writing in this blog — I am an open book.
Condone Vs Condemn
So with that, let’s get into today’s musing. In last week’s blog post, I wrote about my opinion of the differences between Biblical and Cultural Christianity. Staying on the same theme, for this week let’s take a look at my perceived differences between Condoning and Condemning sin.
Let’s start off with the Merriam-Webster definitions of these two transitive verbs:
to regard or treat (something bad or blameworthy) as acceptable, forgivable, or harmless
1: to declare to be reprehensible, wrong, or evil usually after weighing evidence and without reservation a policy widely condemned as racist 2a: to pronounce guilty: CONVICT b: SENTENCE, DOOM condemn a prisoner to die
But the Bible Says, “Do not judge so that you won’t be judged.”
Correct! Matthew starts off chapter 7 with these words spoken by Jesus. Plastered all over social media, this phase is often shared as proof that Christians are not to be judgemental. Based on this sentence alone, I would have to agree. However, as is typical of society today, context is key and Jesus’ words are being taken out of context. Let’s look at the full text of this passage.
“Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye? Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Don’t give what is holy to dogs or toss your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them with their feet, turn, and tear you to pieces." Matthew 7:1-6
Here we see Jesus caution believers against making judgments if there is sin in their own lives. He rightly calls them hypocrites. Jesus’ point is that we believers are to judge ourselves before condemning others.
Jesus Did Not Condemn the Woman of Adultery
At dawn He went to the temple complex again, and all the people were coming to Him. He sat down and began to teach them. Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, making her stand in the center. “Teacher,” they said to Him, “this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery. In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do You say?” They asked this to trap Him, in order that they might have evidence to accuse Him. Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with His finger. When they persisted in questioning Him, He stood up and said to them, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then He stooped down again and continued writing on the ground. When they heard this, they left one by one, starting with the older men. Only He was left, with the woman in the center. When Jesus stood up, He said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, Lord,” she answered. “Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus. “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.” John 8:2-11 (HCSB)
Jesus’ consistency here is further evidence of His Deity. Just as we read in Matthew, Jesus is again warning against the self-righteous condemnation of others. Jesus asks the Pharisees, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.” And then one by one, they slip away. So here we see that Jesus did not condemn the woman however he did not condone her actions either.
“Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus. “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.” – John 8:11b
What Does it Mean to Condone Sin?
If we condone our own sin, we have in essence accepted the sin. The prophet Isaiah wrote the following:
Indeed, the Lord’s hand is not too short to save, and His ear is not too deaf to hear. But your iniquities have built barriers between you and your God, and your sins have made Him hide His face from you so that He does not listen. Isaish 59:1-2
And in his letter to the church in Rome, Paul bemoaned the Romans for their openly blatant sin.
For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse. For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles. Therefore God delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen. This is why God delivered them over to degrading passions. For even their females exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. The males in the same way also left natural relations with females and were inflamed in their lust for one another. Males committed shameless acts with males and received in their own persons the appropriate penalty of their error. And because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God delivered them over to a worthless mind to do what is morally wrong. They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. Although they know full well God’s just sentence—that those who practice such things deserve to die—they not only do them, but even applaud others who practice them. Romans 1:18-32 (HCSB)
So again, as a sinner saved by grace, I should not celebrate or condone my sin or the sin of others. However, before I can judge someone else’s sin, I must be certain that I do not have any unrepentant sins.