“Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”
Lloyd Bentsen’s insulting comment to Dan Quayle during a 1988 presidential debate. It stands as one of the best political zingers ever and I remember it very well.
Have you ever been the victim of a zinger? I’ll bet you have, we all have. Isn’t it funny how those comments stay with us, I mean, I am talking a lifetime. I have had things said to me for the same purpose and intent as this exchange above and I will never forget how it felt, and how it still feels.
Lets take this thought right into our spiritual lives. I think we can do without this type of approach when it comes to addressing the wounded and hurting souls of our own faith. There is a tendency sometimes to belittle or minimize the person who is struggling with sin. Why is this? Does it give us a sense of superiority and distance between us and them, allowing a purely self-righteous spirit to flourish?
If what is said ultimately drives a wedge between two people, was that really spoken in love and with the hope of restoration?
Now don’t go and get all crazy on me and say, “Well, truth is truth whether you like it or not!” Yes, I do agree with that, there is a moment to call sin sin, but isn’t the proof in what gets built from the speaking of truth and not what is irreparably damaged?
Are our words meant solely to encourage and equip others, and in the process help them find a pathway to healing and most of all God? Not always. We are human and we make mistakes, we can have personal agendas, and sinful pride of our own.
- We get frustrated when others fail to live up to our expectations. Many of us have set the bar so high for ourselves that any sort of slip is a catastrophic fall from grace. Therefore, when a brother or sister is diverted by trouble we can pile on and fail to see the part we can play in helping them find their way back to the truth.
- We also become offended by them because we don’t struggle in that same way. We have no understanding of their challenges and so it is easier to cast stones. All the while we seek God on behalf of our own faults, which aren’t nearly as “bad.”
- We, as prime defenders of the faith wrongly believe we must relinquish the fallen to their fate among the lost for the good of the church. We justify our attitude with a belief that they taint the church, and so also the faith we hold dear.
Here is what we don’t consider.
- The sinner is trapped in their behavior and needs help to regain freedom
- There have been countless efforts to be healed, and just as many failures and those who reject them
- They haven’t quit, but need the help of someone with a compassionate heart
- They need a community of believers, that’s how we are all healed
- Its more than a prayer and Bible study problem, there may be deeper traumas
- They are sitting in church on Sundays right next to you
Hear the desperation in Davids voice in the passage link below, envision it, hear the mocking voices and rejection he suffers.
Let us not be the one who further drags the struggling away from the truth. I want to stand with my fellow believer, in prayer, in faith, in unity, in love; for the cause of Christ that reaches every soul in distress and error. My God is a restorer, He makes a way, He builds a bridge, He opens doors, and He grants true peace.
Oh God, help me to see my fellow believer just as you do, and reach out to them with Your love. Help me to open my heart to trust others so I can also be healed and live a life of restoration and freedom that You desire for us all!