“Two wrongs don’t make one right. Two wrongs won’t right a wrong.”Dr. Benjamin Rush
“Self Justification – when a person encounters cognitive dissonance, or a situation in which a person’s behavior is inconsistent with their beliefs, that person tends to justify the behavior and deny any negative feedback associated with the behavior.” (Wikipedia)
I’m a Christian . . . a cover to cover, literal bible believing, every single word, jot, and tittle . . . Christian. I believe salvation and forgiveness come only through Jesus Christ; I believe in the sanctity of life from the moment of conception; I fully support marriage and relationships as God created them from the beginning . . . the list goes on. Agree with me or don’t, but none of those things are up for debate. They are absolutes based on God’s Word.
I write that because I think it’s important that people understand exactly where I stand. And while I completely believe in and desire to live out those things, I cannot do it while ignoring the rest of what God has told me to walk out in His word.
He has called us, as Christians, to be different. Yes, God’s judgment is always righteous, and always, always, always (I cannot emphasize that enough) comes from a place of desiring what is best for His creation because God’s motives are always pure. My own judgments, even when on the surface they seem right? Well, sometimes the motives behind the judgment are the bigger issue. My judgment may be biblically sound, but the motive, not so much. When our motives, my motives, come, not from a place of love and desiring what is best for others, but from a place of wanting God to “get those sinners” that is a problem. And when I try to justify wrong actions, by saying I’m standing up for what is right, then the problem grows exponentially while my witness is also completely minimized.
God has called us to reach a world that is lost and confused and searching. And He has called us to reach them through both love and compassion. Trying to scare people out of hell and into heaven has never been particularly effective, and yet, we continue to do it. While there are most definitely moral absolutes in the bible (see above), there are also many things we tend to hold up as absolutes, especially as Christians in the United States, that are not addressed biblically*. They aren’t the moral absolutes of God but the opinions of man (this includes my opinions as well), and I see Christians, daily, trying to justify their opinions (which are neither inherently right or wrong) through wrong actions and responses by measuring them against those of the world. Sorry folks, that just doesn’t cut it. Sin is sin. Wrong is wrong, and you’ll never justify it by saying “Well ____________ did it first.”
“You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” Romans 2:1-4, NLT
I think, too often, we look at non-Christians and expect them to behave as if they’re saved . . . newsflash, we shouldn’t . . . while we simultaneously excuse and even cheer on bad behavior from Christians. I look back at all the times I’ve done this very thing, and I pray that God will change that in me.
“Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?’ This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.’ And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’ Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’ ” John 8:2-12, NKJV
Jesus never excused sin. Not the obvious sin of the woman in adultery, nor the hidden sin of wrong motives from those about to cast stones. He called them all on it, but He did it not to condemn but to draw them to Him.
I’d like to think that I wouldn’t be standing there with a stone in my hand, but the truth is, I’ve been standing there with a stone in my hand more than I care to admit. I’ve justified my wrong actions and motives with the sins of others countless times, and as the saying goes, two wrongs do not make a right.
“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing. For the Scriptures say, ‘If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.’ ” 1 Peter 3:9-12, NLT
*Note . . . I love our country. I am proud of where I live and where I’m from. I respect and pray for our leaders, but I refuse to hold them in a position in my own heart that God never intended for them or idolize them as more than they are (no matter who it is or how much support them). So don’t even think of coming at me.
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