Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. -1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV
Even though they are not supposed to, people have a scale for sins. Anyone can look at that list and categorize them from least to greatest. People who cheat on their spouses and people involved in homosexual relationships seem worse than people who vilify (revile, condemn) them. The girl who got drunk would not be kicked out of her church like the boy who had sex with another boy. The materialistic (greed, idolatry) woman would not be shunned like the woman who cheated on her husband. The man who lied about (swindled) another man in order to take his possessions would not be questioned if he were convincing enough. The girl who had an abortion to hide her pregnancy gets to stay in the youth group while the other girl who kept her baby is called “a bad influence.”
“Don’t be deceived…”
They all have the same weight. Everyone is guilty. Everyone is equal.
“And such were some of you.”
You may not have done all of these things, but you are guilty of some of them. Depending on where your journey has taken you, you may feel relief or your skin may be crawling. Is your pride welling up or do you feel hope? Do you feel cornered or do you feel free?
“There comes a point in the game of tit-for-tat where you are just comparing stench of excrement.” – Grace Is For Sinners, Chapter Four: Lamb Lost
The only way out of the ping-pong hell is to drop the paddle and run to Jesus. After the list of sins, there is a ‘but’. But grace.
Scripture is used way too often to condemn the failure. However, if you actually read it, scripture holds the key to setting the condemned free.
Forget about deciding what’s right for each other. Here’s what you need to be concerned about: that you don’t get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is. –Romans 14:13
It is easy to get caught up in your idea of what it is to be a good Christian and completely miss the opportunities to learn from someone who is not like you. What can the man, who is attracted to men, teach the one who condemn people like him? What can the greedy woman learn from the pregnant teenager? …more than you can imagine.
Communities need to rise up and create a place for the girl who had an abortion to escape the hell of guilt she is trapped in. They need to learn how to nurture the faith of the failure, not for the outcome they want, but for the sake of that person’s faith. People may never do what you want them to do. You have to find a way to go beyond the sin and focus on the message of salvation. Salvation changes the person, not the other way around. The things you would say to an unbeliever you are trying to convert are still true for the believer who messed up. Christianity is not a bait-and-switch operation.
“But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”