WE ARE NOT CALLED TO BE THE MORALITY POLICE
Earlier this year I heard Jen Hatmaker say these words, “If we love mercy for ourselves, we have to love it for others.” Gulp. We all hope to have mercy extended when our words hurt, or we don’t follow through, when we get caught being less than honest, or pass false on judgment others. We long for mercy from God when we are stuck in sin, when we fall away, or when we treat people any less than He would have us treat them. God is in the mercy business. Just look at the Prodigal Son or the Samaritan Woman at the Well. There are no boundaries to His love. Yet we find loopholes and exceptions for the allowance of grace and mercy. Where God does not compartmentalize and put rank on our sin, we do. As a culture we establish what is acceptable, determine intentions, and judge the sincerity of apologies. This is true in our individual lives and especially true in the media, mainstream and social media that we all have access to.
Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, Lindsay Lohan, Justin Beber, Donald Sterling. Names that spark immediate judgement in our society. These folks, many times by their own poor decisions, been put through the ringer and hung out to dry by our media. They turn into a source of conversation in our lives and phrases like, “I can’t believe”, “Did you hear what he/she did now” or my favorite “I would never.” It’s so easy to say these things isn’t it? Easy to jump on our high horse and play morality police. I have caught myself doing this recently. And you know what, I can’t think of a single positive thing that has come of it. Or that ever will.
We have become so entitled to our opinion, accelerated and fueled by social and mainstream media, that we have forgotten that gossip and slander is still an unhealthy use of our words. We crave and satisfy the instant fix that we need to feel better about ourselves. Social media gives us instant access to nearly anybody we could want, from celebrities to our pastors to our friends. One simple scroll stirs in us all sorts of instant reaction and opinion. And it can feel good. If just for a second we can land farther down on our idea of the sin spectrum than somebody else, then we can feel a little less convicted or worse justify and continue our our own little paths of destruction. We all indulge. It just looks a little bit different for everybody. It may be food or drink, gossip or slander, maybe just a little white lie here and there. It’s all good as long as we are not as bad as ___________.
We are not called to judge, categorize or condemn. At best, we add nothing to move the conversation forward and at worst we add to the destruction of the name of Jesus by how we are choosing to live. Not to mention that if we are to be seeking justice it to be for those without a voice (Isaiah 1:17). We are called to be holy (Hebrews 12:14), renew our own minds (Romans 12:12), extend grace (Colossians 3:13), and forgiveness (Ephesians 4:31-32 ). I have to believe that this cycle of living would free up our minds to much more to love our neighbors, our cities and our world. It would certainly paint much prettier picture of who Jesus is and who we are as His representatives.
I have personally been convicted by this and am choosing to be more mindful of my words. They do in fact hurt, regardless if they are ever heard by the accused. We will never change the large conversation by adding fuel to the fire we create in our own circles of judgment and condemnation. We can however change it by starting smaller, more meaningful conversations among friends and smaller groups. After all, not one of us gets through this life with a clean record. We all need grace and mercy. Extended and accepted. This will change the world.