Crossing the Line

Prayer-Religion-SorrowI’ve been thinking a lot about the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14). I’m sure most of us read the Pharisee’s prayer “God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector,” and we bristle with offense. How dare he?

We know that we are not like this Pharisee. “God, I thank you that I am not like this Pharisee.”

We know, those of us who have warmed more than a few pews on more than a few Sundays, that God accepts anyone who comes to Him through His Son Jesus Christ. No holds barred. Right?

And yet, all of us seem to have lines drawn somewhere that place the other person beyond the pale. We won’t use the word “unforgivable,” but it lingers in our minds like the smell of stale fish in a trashcan.

Where’s your line?

I am an adulteress. I am addicted to pornography. I am a gossiper.

Have I crossed your line yet?

I am envious. I am a thief. I am a drug addict.

You see, there seems to be this idea floating around in some people’s heads that some sins are worse than others.

I am gay. I had an abortion. I have murdered.

There seems to be this idea floating around in some people’s heads that some people need to clean up their lives before they come to Christ.

I have cursed. I have lied. I am an alcoholic.

There seems to be this idea floating around in some people’s heads that spiritual pride is not a sin any longer.

I am a coward. I am a pedophile. I am a bigot.

There seems to be this idea floating around in some people’s heads that the blood of Jesus Christ doesn’t mean much when put against some sins, that some sins cross the line. God, though, has a different agenda for us, and it may not match up with what other people think. God’s greatest blessing is reserved for the one who does not look around at other people and compare or judge, but only looks at his own heart in light of the cross and says “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

I am under the mercy. I am forgiven. I am redeemed.

3 thoughts on “Crossing the Line

  1. Thanks for the reminder to focus on my own life and stop comparing my life, sins and deeds to others. It is so easy to do. It is hard to look at our own failures and not get dejected and feel like life will never change. That is definitely the wrong thing to focus on. Turn your eyes upon Jesus!

  2. So many Christian operate on massive guilt swings. We go about our daily lives doing what we normally do then we hear something in church, on the news or from friends and family and we are thrown into a tailspin of guilt. We decide we have to be better, do better, do more and for a while we meet the requirements we see as Christian. We give more and for a time we try to meet the needs of everyone around us. Then we fall back into our “who cares” lifestyle or we look at people around us and begin, if only to ourselves, to criticize and ridicule those around us who aren’t just like us.

    My suggestion. Jesus didn’t mean for us to live guilt filled lives, He didn’t leave the church for us as a place we go to be better than everyone else or where we can stand looking out the window at all the “sinners” who aren’t in church. Instead, I believe, He intended for us to set a course that will keep us focused on Him, to be steady and as constant as we can. This means we have to make adjustments from time to time to reset our course. Along with that He intended for us to set a course that will provide support for our families (spiritually and financially) and to rudder the ship into waters that bring us to His service.

    Guilt is Satan’s trap just as pride is.

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