Continued from Chapter 1
You could have been a prostitute on the street who wondered into the church doors and decided to give God a chance to clean up your act. You could have been a drug addict who was strung out to the point of abusing your spouse and stealing to get that next "fix"; or, maybe you were a sex-offender. Maybe you were Muslim, until you came to know who Jesus really is.
There are a lot of faces that make up Christianity. All of them are worthy of salvation. None of them are sinless.
8 And not [rather], (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just. 9 What then? are we better [than they]? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
This sort of puts us on equal footing with each other. How is it, then, that some people who go to church, think that they have the right to decide who is and who is not a Christian, if the victimized party has been washed in the Blood of Christ?
It is not our job to tell a person they are wrong. It is our job to be the example that Christ set before us.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
What does this mean? First, let's look at the definition of "edify": to teach (someone) in a way that improves the mind or character.
Does embarrassing someone in church by pointing out their sins edify them? Would it edify YOU?
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
Now, lets go back to Ephesians 4:29. We should not speak to others in such a way that it makes them feel condemned if they have been saved. Being saved means that they have been forgiven by God. The fact that they are still sinning not only makes them human, but also makes their need for instruction and guidance obvious.
"that it may minister grace unto the hearers"
Grace is defined as getting what you do not deserve. (Mercy is not getting what you do deserve).
Grace is also defined as a "disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency".
Have you ever heard the old saying, "You can catch more flies with honey"? This is what this verse is saying.
For example: Let's say a church member went to a local bar and got drunk sometime during the week before Sunday came. You happened to see him leaving the bar as you went to the local restaurant across the street. He was stumbling, and cursing. At church Sunday morning, you could tell him, "You are a filthy sinner! a DRUNK! a GLUTTON. Get off my pew until you straighten your act up!" in front of all your friends; but, would this be edification? Would that be administering grace in any way?
OR, you could make it a point to quietly approach him, give him a hug, and tell him, "I just want you to know that I saw you leaving that bar this week. You didn't look good. THAT didn't look good. Would you mind if I prayed with you? I think you need some help with your problem. If it's something I can help you with, I'm here!"
Which way sounds more "edifying?" Which way is more graceful?
Stay tuned for chapter 3