Love the sinner not the sin. Do as I say not as I do. Believe me when I say …
When someone is ticking me off, I feel ticked off. When someone is telling me how to live – but lives their own life very differently, I find it hard to take their message seriously. I am not very good at separating the “words” from the “person”. I am not sure many of us are. Because what is that other saying …
“What you see is what you get.”
I think anyone who tells others how to live better – then their own living should be available for comment. Politicians come to mind. We have had numerous headlines about politicians who preach financial restraint – and then are later “outed” for their “expenses” which show no restraint at all. They become figures of ridicule. And they usually excuse themselves by blaming “the rules” – the rules said they could – so they did.
The other group that come to mind are religious institutions. We have had numerous headlines about the behaviours of “the church” – and that means both the actions of individuals and the actions of the institution in covering up the actions of individuals. Something akin to “national security” always seems to be the excuse: if we let the actions of a few undermine the good we are all doing – who then benefits? We had to keep it quiet.
And then the other thing I hear a lot from the grassroots is this: “but we are all broken sinners in church.” Which seems to excuse an awful lot. And I have never really got that one either. If it was a reason for inviting and really welcoming everyone and anyone – yes. If it was a reason for getting out of the four walls mentality and meeting people where they are – yes. But as an excuse for self-centred behaviours – no.
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honour at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father – the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew 23:1-12
I think “the church” should be grateful that a wrong-doing is jumped on so quickly. I think the church should celebrate rather than complain. I think any organisation which retains such an important place in society that its wrong-doings are “news” should set that alongside all the introspection which “tells” that organisation it is dying on its feet.
I also think church has to recognise that it is judged not by its own preferred dogmas and denominations and creeds. It is judged by its kindness. Just as we are all judged.
By our kindness.
Be kind in all that you do, in all that you say, and in all that you think – AND all that you do not do, that you do not say, and that you do not think.
Because just as with Love – kindness is not the “soft option”. Just as with Love – kindness includes being kind to oneself. Just as with Love – kindness is not limited by day of the week, where we are, who we are with, what we are doing – by rules – or the absence of rules.
And just like Love – kindness seeks the sacred – seeks the gentle – seeks kindness itself.
I think the church should be grateful its actions are still under the microscope. It means church is still relevant – is still needed – is still reaching those who want to be reached. So why is this news so often of cover-up rather than kindness? Because what is that other saying I keep hearing about church … ?
Church is NOT the building or institution – CHURCH IS US!
And isn’t that a reason for celebration? It means that my actions – your actions – my words – your words – ARE under the microscope – and that OUR church is relevant – and is STILL needed! So all we (each) need to do and be is … kind!
And just how hard is that?