Christian By Comparison
Sin - those actions that are the evidence of our rebellion against God - is happening right now. Yup, its going down. That shouldn't be a shocking statement. If it is you need to look in the mirror and then take a look outside. At this very moment:
- Folks are having sex with someone other than their spouse.
- Little children are being sold into sexual slavery.
- People are turning to alcohol, drugs, and other substances to evade reality.
- Employees are stealing from their employers.
- Lies are being told by everyone from politicians to preachers.
- Gossip fills social networks and itchy ears from coast to coast.
All this and more is currently happening somewhere on this globe - perhaps even in your neighborhood or in your own home. It is not pretty and it is not something that I like talking about. But if we don't talk about these things we have zero chance of eradicating them - or at least slowing them down.
My Sin < Your Sin
I hurt because these things exist. I ache because there are people dying without knowing that Jesus could really help them. I weep because some of these people doing some of these acts will end up in hell tonight.
But what kills me more than anything is that there exist some people, who claim to know this Jesus that justify the shortcomings and sins of their own life by telling themselves that "at least I'm not as bad as so-and-so" or "at least I don't do such-and-such." If not careful, we can easily compare our lives to "worse" sinners and not to a Holy God. We must strive to be like Jesus instead of settling to be better than your neighbor.
These "Christians by Comparison" have settled their own righteousness by comparing their actions against those who "struggle" more than they do. They have figured that they are pursuing God enough because they aren't acting like the scandalous person down the street or in another country.
When a person starts evaluating their righteousness on the actions of another and not by the standard of Christ, he or she has completely missed the concepts of grace and forgiveness. Grace acknowledges that every person, despite their actions, can have a second chance to make it right before God. Forgiveness acknowledges that no one is perfect and all mess up. These concepts put every person on the same playing field in God's eyes.
Somewhere along the way some folks attitude shifts from responding to Jesus' call to "be holy for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:16) and begin to measure themselves by the actions of others. Don't they remember that without Jesus all of our righteousness is filthy and worthless (Isaiah 64:6)?
The Christian is called to a higher standard, to continually pursue becoming like Jesus. There is always stumblings and bumblings along the way. But the pursuit of perfection keeps us from settling into complacency. Looking to Jesus as the example and not trying to do a little better than the guy down the street.