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October 19, 2013

Looking in a new direction

(Continued)

Chapter 8 of the Gospel of John starts with the story of a woman, caught in adultery, who was about to be stoned to death. Jesus confronted the would-be executioners, saying that any of them that is without sin should throw the first stone. When they all left realizing that they were sinners, Jesus decided not to condemn her, but did tell her in verse 11, “Leave your life of sin.” In another instance from John chapter 5, Jesus heals a man who was lame for 38 years. He reminds the man to “stop sinning before something worse happens.” These are two of many examples in scripture where Jesus helps someone, and then gives some form of the command, “Go, and sin no more.” Jesus meets the needs of people, and then offers them advice on how to avoid getting into trouble again. He does this because he genuinely loves them. He doesn’t want to see them suffer.

Taking this approach in our lives requires that we love the way Jesus does. We have to care about others enough to want what is best for them. We have to help them in their moment of need, and then offer some spiritual, and also practical guidance for the future.

Our society is comprised of varying levels of two main points of view: “Left” or “liberal” and “Right” or “conservative.” As I write this, our federal government is shut down because of factions within it taking extreme positions on opposite ends of the spectrum.

The extreme “Left” considers all choices to be equally valid. The needy are all “victims” who need to be rescued. It is the responsibility of everyone who “has” to provide to those who “have not” by way of a full menu of government programs offering everything from free rent and food to free phones and health care. The one thing missing is any kind of advise about choices to avoid. Giving any would be considered “judgmental.” Without it, many become perpetually dependent on the assistance received and suffer an endless cycle of consequences. This side is marked by compassion that lacks accountability.

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