As the Lord’s church, what is the best thing we can do for people living in sin? A great many are living outright wicked lives. Some seem to be just plain evil, mean people. Their rule in life is to do whatever they’re big enough to get away with. If it means stealing what belongs to others, no big deal as long as they don’t get caught. They force their will on others through violence and intimidation. They have virtually no conscience about anything they do.
More people than we realize are caught up in a lifestyle of drugs. Some use, some sell and some sell in order to support their own use. Some even sell their own bodies to support their addiction. Theirs is a world that is almost unimaginable to most of us. Many live in the fog of active alcoholism, seldom experiencing a moment completely free from its effects.
Living a lifestyle of sexual immorality seems to be the norm these days rather than the exception. Many individuals regularly move from partner to partner, exercising less thought and consideration than they would give to buying a new pair of shoes. They live with a partner outside of marriage until the relationship grows tiresome, too complicated or they find someone else who excites them more. Others are married but find little remorse in having one adulterous fling after another. Still others exist in the nightmare of homosexuality and lesbianism.
Then, what about all of the people who lie and cheat and gossip and use profanity and tell dirty stories on a daily basis just as a normal part of their lives? Sins of the tongue are a natural feature of their lifestyle.
What about all of those people who belong to a church but seldom attend. They don’t even know much about what their church believes? And, what about all of those people who are dedicated to a church that teaches and practices things that contradict what the Bible teaches?
What about those members of the Lord’s church whose lives outside the church building don’t look very Christian? What about Christians who bear ill will toward their brothers and sisters in Christ? What about supposedly faithful Christians whose lives simply do not exhibit the active dedication and commitment that Christians are supposed to exhibit?
What should we do as the church in regard to all of these people in all of these ungodly lifestyles? The answer is the same in every instance. We should teach the truth. The Bible offers God’s wisdom to all who will accept it. His word holds the answers to all of life’s difficulties and challenges. The scriptures light up the pathway of safety, security and hope for one’s life.
Some folks might think that such an answer is too simplistic, but the best thing we can do is to simply show people God’s love and God’s way, the way that is revealed in the Bible. We need to couple correct teaching to an attitude of love, compassion and concern. We need to show people living in sin that we are not just a people with the truth, but we are also a people of love. Love alone is impotent. Truth without love can be arrogant. We must teach the truth without compromise. But we must teach the truth with an attitude of love. For all of those people living in sin, this is the best thing we can do...
Gary L. Hutchens