Radical truthfulness about who we are

Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it. God’s saving love in Christ, however, is marked by both radical truthfulness about who we are and yet also radical, unconditional commitment to us. The merciful commitment strengthens us to see the truth about ourselves and repent. The conviction and repentance moves us to cling to and rest in God’s mercy and grace. – Timothy Keller

Star Spangled Banner Lyrics 4th verse

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand

Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!

Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Francis Scott Key

We must be tender with sinners, but not with sin.

The Phantom of the Opera

“You are afraid of me! Yet I am not really wicked. Love me and you shall see! All I wanted was to be loved for myself.”
The Phantom of the Opera

Those words are spoken by a man who was so badly deformed that his own mother forced him to wear a mask when he came near her. He had never been kissed, not even by his mother! While it does not excuse the evil he did, if you can put yourself in his shoes for just a moment. I think you can see how The Phantom Eric became really angry with the world.

We all to lesser extremes have unfortunate things in our past. Those unfortunate things can often drive a person to sin. When we are tempted to judge people we need to remember that we don’t know what that person has endured.

The local bully on the playground might be abused by someone in his/her family.
The prostitute you drove by yesterday could have been kidnapped by a pimp.

We should also remember that we are sinners too, we have no right to have a self righteous attitude toward the people we judge.
We judge to help someone not to beat them down.

While we should be angry at the sins of people, we need to remember that each person was made in the image of God, with a history that may make their sins viewable in a new light. While some sinners do need to be kept away from society because they are dangerous, all sinners need someone who will attempt to take them by the hand and say there is a better way.

The title of today’s blog is a quote by my pastor Bob Fuller.