We are definitely in a time when living a life pleasing to God in every way is not “popular,” even among other believers. There is no one who is perfect or has “arrived,” but it seems that more and more when a person is striving to do what’s right, according to the standards set forth in God’s Word, he or she is looked at as being, “holier than thou, an unloving, judgmental person,” and often they are ostracized for it.
Many Christians are afraid to be specific about certain standards for fear of offending someone or crossing the line into the “gray” areas. Yes, certain things are very touchy subjects, and it does take a great deal of prayer and discernment to be compassionate without compromise. The Lord dealt with me about this a few years ago over several months in my personal devotions. It is very true that we need to show love and compassion to people; however, it is also true that to say nothing or to applaud them in a sinful situation is very unloving. By doing so you are encouraging them to continue down a path that will bring heartache, and your approval adds to their belief that they are okay; that God must be blessing them because everything is going fine and life is grand.
Too often we confuse God’s blessing with His mercy. Yes, God’s mercy is absolutely a blessing!! But just because life may be going well does not mean a person has God’s blessing on them. ” Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:7) The mercy follows a forsaking of sin; God cannot and will not bless sin. To do so would make Him a liar and would make His Word a lie, and we definitely know that He is holy and just! “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19) The devil is the liar, and he wants to keep people enslaved in their sin.
As we come up against situations that are “delicate” and need to be handled with wisdom and much prayer, we must remember that God is merciful, He is ready to forgive, and yes, we need to show His love and compassion to others. But we must do so in a way that will not offend the holiness of God or give occasion to the world to mock God’s Word. We must have courage to take a stand, even if we end up alone. My heroes in the Bible are Joseph, Daniel and his three friends, and Noah (before the flood when he and his family were literally the only ones on earth who believed God).
I am so thankful for Christian friends who are also willing to take a stand, however unpopular it might be, and who have a priority to please God first and foremost! I have two precious examples in my parents, and I’m blessed to have been raised in their home. They would be the first to say that they’re not perfect, but they strive to please God and have a proper fear of God, and they instilled that in me and my brother. I have not always done right, and I have let my parents down many times, but they have prayed for me and lovingly rebuked me and kept their love for the Lord and His Word above their love for me. God, in His mercy, has kept His hand on me and on my children to bring us to where we are today. This is why I am so fervent in what I believe; because of what God has taught me. I have much to thank Him for!!
“Lord, help us to please You in all that we do; to be what we say we are, and not double minded. (“A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” James 1:8) When our flesh wants its way and our heart deceives us, please bring conviction to us immediately so that we can repent and be cleansed by You so that we will not hinder your Holy Spirit from working in our life, our home, our church, and any other circle of influence in which You place us. Help us to show mercy and compassion to others as You have shown to us, but without compromising what You have set forth in Your Word.”
*written 7-14-11 as a Facebook post