“What the #^!%” a buddy of mine shouted, “oops, sorry Stuart” he said as he saw me in the background. If we use (intense) deductive reasoning, we can probably guess which of the popular four-letter bad words he used. Yesterday, I was on the range at a shooting competition. Let’s just say it’s not a tame, serene Christian atmosphere. Rather, it is a place where jacked, corn fed, testosterone fueled, fire-breathing professional trigger pullers gather – the likes of which are SWAT, Military, police, military contractors, and everything in between. Oh, and a Christian college student that thinks he can shoot.
It is a rather unique place to find a Christian, but I love every second of it. A lot of guys out there don’t believe in God, and that’s ok – I’m still friends with those guys, and we have a mutual respect. I don’t preach at them – I just do my best to be their friend, and try to be a good example of a Christian man. Every month, however, it seems like a guy or two apologizes to me for swearing – as though I’m judging them, or they’re offending me. But, really, who can blame them? At some point, a Christian exercising a healthy dose of legalism may have even scolded them, or been offended by their language.
Jesus does not call us to judge others, only God has the right to do that. Jesus calls us to love others, not judge, and build relationships with them. In John 8: 6-9, the Pharisees are about to stone a woman by Old Testament law, for committing adultery – Jesus asks the Pharisees “Who among you are without sin? Let him be the first to cast a stone.” Not one of them threw a stone, and Jesus told the woman he would not condemn her, and then he told her to go and live without sin.
Jesus came and shredded Old Testament law (Galatians 3: 23-25). Christians, by doctrine, are not in the business of judging, but of giving grace (as God has given us grace), and being friends to those around us. For those that may be struggling with swearing, accept that Jesus came to give you grace – just like he gives the rest of us grace. All Jesus asks of us is that we draw closer to him, and in doing so, we will be less inclined to swear. The presence of God will become so ubiquitous in your life, that the desire to sin slips away.
Today, let’s remember that we are not called to judge. We are called to love, show grace, and compassion. If you are struggling with a sin, do not beat yourself up, and use it as a reminder to pray or spend more time with God. Have a great Monday!