Casting Stones

Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.

I have had something on my heart for a number of days and although I may offend or even alienate some of my friends, know that is not my purpose of writing this. After searching the scriptures, the tugging of my heart by the Spirit won’t let me even finish the job I was doing until I wrote this down. If I inadvertently offend, I apologize for your hurt feelings, but I will not apologize for the truth of God’s word.

I have come across yet another story of just how horrible so-called christian people can be (yes, the small c is on purpose), just how judgmental and self-righteous; the main reason that my husband and I have been out of organized church for several years. This story affects a fairly new friend, but one that has proven the love and servitude of Christ to me and my family in the time of need. But it has affected them in the worst possible way – the crushing of the spirit and a loss in faith in Christians.

Without going into detail, as this is not my story to tell and enough gossip about the subject has been floating around the internet already, but it has to do with sin. A young Christian was discovered to be involved in a subculture that is very unhealthy for anyone, much less an impressionable and naive young Christian. What the Christians surrounding this friend did was to ostracize my friend’s family, turn their backs on them (for the “good of the rest of the community”) and kick them out of their community, even though when what this young Christian was involved in was explained and repentance was sought, the community still turned their backs on them.

Do we all want to protect our families from harmful influences of the world? Yes, but at what expense? We can claim that we judge and past judgement of other Christians for the good of the whole, but scriptures has very specific guidelines ending with trying to bring that person back into the fold before the LAST resort of kicking them out. I’m not a scholar, but everything I read puts more stress on the LOVE and FORGIVENESS of Christ. I recently read in John 4 about Jesus’s encounter with the woman at the well in Samaria. He knew her sins (and God is the only one who can not only truly know our sins but has the authority to pass judgement), but He spoke to her anyway and loved her. Not only that, He sent her back into her community to tell others – and the result was her receiving forgiveness and eternal life, as well as others in her community. When a community in Jesus’s day wanted to stone another woman for her sins, Jesus rebuked them in John 8:7 by saying, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (NIV)

I don’t know about you, but I’m a sinner saved only by the grace of a Loving God, and my Bible warns me that no one sin is greater or lesser than any other sin. We are all judged the same. The importance is if we are willing to repent. James 2:10 says, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (NAS) When we act out of our own moral superiority, we are guilty of lying – because we are all sinners.

Yes, it is true, we as parents need to be diligent to protect our children from harmful influences, but when we do that to the point of exclusivity, what are we teaching our children? How are they learning to be a light unto the world? Instead of teaching them to shun and reject fellow Christians who have fallen, we need to teach them the love and forgiveness of Christ in order to help that Christian get back on the right track. Matthew 5:15 warns, “nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “ (NAS)

When my girls were in their teens, they were intelligent, creative young girls who had a gifting for music. They wrote lyrics and music and played instruments as well. They could have chosen any style, but they saw a need in the subculture of grunge or punk music. Because of this choice, many “christians” (little c again on purpose) judged them – many times harshly – because of their hair, clothes and makeup. They didn’t know them or their hearts, or the amount of supervision I gave them in this ministry. They wrote beautiful music teaching of the love and forgiveness of Christ. One day, we were at Mardel’s Christian Bookstore looking at music. The music listening counter was full, so my girls were on one side of a woman with a stack of Christian books, and I on the other. When Micah sat down, the lady shifted her items (and not subtly) away from her. I was angered, but not so much for her actions as for the hurt I saw on my daughter’s face. I wanted to say to her, “you don’t even know her, but if she was indeed lost, your superior christian actions may have lost her forever.”

In the absence of true Christian support and friends in the time of trials and sin in our lives, those who are judged without grace will turn to the only people who will love and support them – the lost. Lost subcultures don’t judge, they accept anyone’s faults they are truer friends. How as Christians can we let this happen?

Jesus Christ commands us to love one another. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Paul teaches us, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (NIV)

Christ also says show mercy not judgement lest you be judged without mercy. Christ teaches us to lift each other up – to support one another. Yes, we are to hold each other accountable, but to do it in love and then forgive each other. After all, Christ first forgave us and then he forgets that sin. And then we are to come along side that person and help them not fall back into that same sin. That is why not forsaking the fellowship of believers was deemed so important.

Show the same mercy and grace that God gave you

Unfortunately, in this day and age, the fellowship is not all it is cracked up to be. Often times the Christian community causes more harm than a whole internet of peverted websites.

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. stuffitellmysister
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 23:54:22

    We encountered similar incidents (Mardel) with ours kids in those teen years. As a parent…ya wanna smack some “love” into the people. Instead you just try and process it and remind yourself that it’s not right and you will not succumb to similar actions! Our True Oak kids were so awesome and accepting….and taught me so much ~ Thanks for your honest words….sadly they are true~

    Reply

    • Darla Welchel
      Mar 25, 2012 @ 17:15:57

      Thanks Paula, Unfortunately, we didn’t have the same experience at TOF as you did. But I’m glad it was so wonderful for you. Everyone is commenting on the church, this incident didn’t happen in a church, but in another Christian group.

      Reply

  2. Carol Peugh Jeter
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 15:50:53

    Darla, I just read this to Jerry, my husband, and he said to tell you “it is good to hear a true picture of what a Christian should be than what the example of what most christians give in the Church today”. We also have had a hard time finding a church in the past few years that we feel comfortable in. I think there are many more like us out there. As you get older you see the hypocrisy that is in the leaders of many churches. One thing that really bothers me also is how so many are trying to mix politics with the church and tell others from the pulpit how they should vote, etc. But we must press on, and I know that we can be followers of Christ still. We must teach our children to not believe everything that they hear even from the pulpit. They must check it out in God’s word and in their own mind deciphering truth from untruth…..that is why God gave us a mind to think with. Thanks Darla for writing from your heart.

    Reply

  3. Darla Welchel
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 17:17:20

    Thanks Carol for such an uplifting feedback and pass along my thanks to Jerry.
    Everyone is commenting on the church, this incident didn’t happen in a church, but in another Christian group. But I appreciate the confirmation of my heart tuggings. Often it is so hard to know if I’m hearing from God or from my own offenses. That is why I waited almost a week to write. 🙂

    Reply

  4. Carol Peugh Jeter
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 20:01:37

    I was not just talking about what happens in the church but the whole attitude of “Christians” today. We cannot reach others for Christ if we think we are better than them and have all the answers. Our country is not the only one with people in it who God loves. I know that it is what is in the heart that counts and God looks on the heart and not on the outward experience. We are all sinners saved by grace who keep on sinning no matter how good we think we are!

    Reply

  5. Trackback: While I Am Away ~ | stuff i tell my sister
  6. LaWanda LaVarnway
    Apr 22, 2012 @ 18:35:22

    Well said good and faithful servant. Christians are to forgive and accept others in Christ love. If one should fall then the others (Christians) should help pick that person up. But sadly in todays world they are shunned and some called christians turn their backs on them. How are we to bring the lost to Christ when we (Christians) turn against each other.

    Reply

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