I recounted a story that changed my perception years ago, at Shaey Anthony on YouTube.
If you are interested, give it a view as it places this blog in a fuller context.
Perception: a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression.
There is a saying as old as I can remember that has never really sat right with me.
Love the sinner, hate the sin. I feel we should be loving the sinner without viewing them through a lens of their sin. We need a new lens of perception, one not of judgment but of love.
As a believer, I definitely think it is important to be held accountable by my sisters in Christ. When I am struggling, they call me out and remind me who I belong to.
But they do not see my sin first. They see me. They love me. They encourage me. Galatians 6:1-6 confirms restoring our brother’s and sisters and to watch our own selves from temptation.
But this comes from a place of built relationship, trust, and love as it truly does hurt the heart of the father to see sin devouring the lives of His children. And it also hurts the body of Christ when children of God allow the enemy to destroy what God is building.
I lived in the self-destruction of isolation and fear far too long until my loved ones called it out. The life-giving transformation has been unreal! I am so thankful for the truth in LOVE.
When I am looking at Gods creation, mankind, the ones that have not come to Him yet. I need to see THEM. What does He plan for them? What does He hope for them?
Yes, there is a need to let the unbeliever know, they can’t come to the father, except through Jesus. It is the relationship the Father is after. If I focus on ones sin through my own perception, I miss the full picture of what God is doing and beginning in that individual life. We are all a work in progress. I think this is why the Lord was so adamant that the greatest commandment is to love. It is through love, that one is open and willing to grow closer to the father, and with that, a desire to please Him, without barriers holding us back.
John 13: 34-35
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
God created each and everyone, for a personal relationship. He longs for the ones that are walking in their own path and life with no connection. He desires that they come to Him and walk in salvation through Jesus Christ and sin no more. As we love on others, as we encourage and build up, the Lord will open the doors for us to share the truth in love.
Jesus did not come to this world to judge them but to save them! John 12:46-47
Now I know, that by telling the world the truth, they may perceive that as judgment. That is their perception and we may not be able to change that. But if we are viewing them through the lens of love and sharing the JOY of salvation, it may be received in a different manner.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
I am not saying that we should hang out with someone who is sinning in a way that will affect our walk. If I was an alcoholic, I should not be hanging out in bars for the sake of loving on others. There is wisdom and lines in our own walk that need to be drawn.
But let’s look at one area of judgment. For example: Holding up signs stating the sin you hate on the sidewalk, is not showing the love of Christ. Jesus was so sought after, sinners came to him, they followed him, they laid their lives down for him.
Recently someone shared a thought, and I truly wish I could remember the source, but it hits home so much with what I am trying to convey.
What if the protesters of abortion, instead of holding signs up stating that the women are murdering their children and will go to hell, were at the back door ready to hug those woman and show the love of Jesus in possibly one of their most tender moments they will ever walk in.
Again, it is perception. Our perception dictates our action, so we must make sure that we have on the correct lens to view this world with.
If our goal to move someone to a relationship with the Father, we must love them. We show the power of what HIS love has done within us.
1 Corinthians 16:4
Let all you do be done in love.
Please hear me, as a Christian, I think accountability and hearing the truth in love from our brothers and sisters is so important. (Galatians 6: 1-6)
But that comes with relationship and trust. It also comes from a place of love and wanting to see my sister or brother thrive if the Holy Spirit prompts me to correct. It does not come from a place of judgment, or less than mentality.
Let me challenge you to look through a different lens of perception. We all have our ‘stuff’ and that is a good thing to remember. No not one was without sin, except Him the Father sent. And He said… He without sin cast that first stone. When only He was qualified to throw a stone at that woman caught in adultery, He chose not to!
God has taken me to new places in my walk, He is faithful every day.
If I have judged you in a hurtful way in the past and not had the proper perception, let me be public with my apology. I am sorry. I love you and am praying you to know His goodness in new ways. Please forgive me for when I have not looked at the truth of what He says about you. You are loved.
Here are more scriptures to follow-up with yourself this week if you are wanting to dive even deeper!
Romans 14: 1-13
John 3: 17
John 12: 46-47
1 Peter 4:8