On Selective Denouncement


The author of Hebrews says this about Jesus:

You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

Hebrews 1:9, ESV

One thing we should keep in mind as church leaders is our tendency to be selective in the things we denounce. I have seen this tendency in myself and others and it has been a persistent problem for my entire church experience.

It is quite easy to find reasons to be angry about stuff that we don’t struggle with or stuff that we think we have straight in our own lives. We can fuss over our pet peeve and ignore some other things that God would like to see changed in us.

In my lifetime, I have heard angry rhetoric about the “culture war” and complaints about the erosion of morals in our country. While we may have a case that the sin we are condemning is truly condemned by God as revealed in the Bible, we also need to understand that our anger is not tempered, as it out to be, by the intensity of love that God has displayed through his Son Jesus.

The danger is that we can fail to admit to our own hard-heartedness and lack of love for those we denounce as sinners. When we do so our hypocrisy is on display for everyone to see, even if we fail to see it in ourselves.

We should constantly keep in mind Jesus’ parable about the log and the speck. My neighbor’s speck can only be confronted after the log is removed from my own eye. The trouble is that my log-eyedness is a chronic, not an acute, symptom of my sinful nature. So, I must admit that I have never been in a log-less state and am therefore unqualified to condemn anyone else.

Recognition of the logs in our own eyes should mediate the tendency to jump on the issue-of-the-day and keep us from being out of balance.

Yes, we should hate the things that God hates, but we don’t have the option of being selective in which ones we condemn.

Also, we are not in a good place if we do not at the same time love all the things that God loves. We don’t have the option of being selective in our loves either.

Perhaps this would be a good place to quote one of the most familiar of Bible verses:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 (ESV) (Empahsis Added)