I read a great short devotional this morning from the ever-so-consistent pastor Greg Laurie. It helps us get back to basics, which is to love people into the kingdom of God. We are not here to condemn, to judge or to castigate non-believers, but because they will “know that we are Christians because of our love”, love them like Jesus would, all the while pointing them to the healing, restoration, forgiveness and hope found in a relationship with the Father.
The Heart of the Matter
“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” – (Matthew 9:13)
When Jesus walked this earth, He reserved His most scathing words for self-righteous, religious hypocrites. When a woman caught in the act of adultery was brought before Jesus, the religious elite said to Him, “Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” (John 8:5).
Jesus stooped down and began writing something in the sand. Whatever He wrote must have been very revealing, because one by one, they all left, from the oldest to the youngest. Then Jesus turned to the woman and said, “Where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” (verse 10).
“I have none Lord,” she said.
“Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (verse 11).
He could have said, “Haven’t you heard what the Bible says? Why are you breaking the commandments of God?” But Jesus didn’t give her a lecture. In fact, He got rid of the religious hypocrites and dealt with her graciously. I think Jesus knew she already had realized the enormity of her sin and was willing to turn from it. Thus, He pardoned her. Does that mean Jesus approved of the way she lived? Far from it. God is very clear about how He wants us to live.
I think we spend too much time boycotting what nonbelievers do and not enough time giving them the answer to their problems. There is a place to say what we’re against. But the bottom line is that people are empty. They need to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s expend our energy there. Let’s expend our energy in proclaiming the gospel, because the heart of the matter is that people are lost. They need Christ, and we need to take that message to them. – Greg Laurie