The Great Engima
by Ken Barnes

Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives. (Jude 1: 23b NLT)

An enigma is something that is puzzling or difficult to understand. How do we love people as God's creation and yet hate the sin that mars their existence. It is like trying to separate dirt from muddy water. Yet for Christians, in the culture in which we live, it is a skill that is absolutely necessary to reach the world around us.

Trying to accomplish this feat is like walking on a type rope. If you lean too much to the side of mercy, we risk appearing to condone sinful actions. On the other hand, if we overly emphasize truth and judgment we fall off of that rope into the pitfalls of legalism. So how do we navigate this bumpy road?

First, there are no magical formulas, other than the life of Christ, " full of grace and truth." On one occasion he drove out the moneychangers, in another he ate with sinners. At times he was like a lion and others like a lamb. With Jesus, one size did not fit all.

What should we do when we find ourselves between the rock and the hard place of choosing between mercy and truth? Jesus only did what she saw the Father doing. We in turn, should do only what we see Jesus doing. We should neither look to right nor the left, but up to God to lead us. Doing this will not bring the approval of the legalist or the liberals, but it will please the one who really counts, the Son of God our example. So keep looking up and he will teach you how to love people and yet hate their sin.

I worked for seventeen years as a missionary with Youth With A Mission.  My missionary work has taken me to Mexico, Canada, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Spain, and the Ukraine.I hold a Masters of Education in curriculum and instruction from Virginia Commonwealth University.  [email protected]

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