Have you ever heard the term "you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar"?
Who is catching flies?? This is 2013 - we use fly strips. You can probably catch more flies with those hanging strips than anything else.
I think they have mineral oil of some sort or something.
Anyways, I think it has a good moral. You are more *attractive* when you are sweet than when you are bitter. But when it comes down to it, why do we have a goal to attract and why is it important that we are successful?
We are meant to bring people to the Lord. And one of our biggest assets in this is our attitude. It's easy to see that when you are speaking to someone who is specifically seeking Christ that you should be gentle and sure of what you say. You don't win people to Christ by telling them that their sinful ways are sending them to hell in a handbasket. But you don't always have control over who you are influencing with your attitude. Jesus set the best example when he was found among the lowly sinners, not pointing out their detestable sins to those around them, but showing love and understanding to them.
I've seen it thrown around so much when Christians say they "love the sinner, hate the sin." But when you *hate* a sin to such an obsessive degree that it clouds your ability to speak with love, you CAN NOT love the sinner.
When Jesus spoke with a PROSTITUTE, whom the Pharisees dragged to Him, He did not stand in the middle of the crowd letting everyone know that He loved her, but he still thought prostitution was a revolting sinful thing and that she needed to be prayed for. He spoke in LOVE and said "Let he who is without sin among you cast the first stone." This is pretty deep, if you think about it. Not because of the "new" interpretation of that quote - as most people have skewed it's meaning to imply that everyone should be allowed to sin as they please and you should have nothing to say about it. Because that is simply NOT the case. Rather, the emotional impact of what He said is the fact that He really did not even say how He felt about the fact that she was a hopelessly lost sinner! He stood up for her! This has nothing to do with the thought process of "oh well, it's not my business if she chooses to sin." It was out of his Jesus-Christ-Perfect LOVE that He reacted the wayHe did. He specifically told her he did NOT CONDEMN HER.
I have so many "christian" friends on my facebook page. And every day, I see countless instances of Christians with a negative, hateful attitude about many things.
Abortion post: "THIS IS HORRIBLE!"
Legalizing gay marriage: "OUR NATION IS GOING TO HELL."
OPEN YOUR EYES.
You cannot show hate and love at the same time. Maybe you do hate the sin, and love the sinner. But you CAN NOT show love and hate at the same time. And if you are showing hate, you are being seen as hateful. And that is not what Christ wants for us. Your attitude speaks volumes! Out of the mouth comes the overflow of the heart.
You know the story of the woman who washed Jesus' feet with her tears and all that. Everyone chooses to take from this story what the *woman* did.
"Oh, she was in such a dark place in her life and she gave Jesus all that she had, which was tears...and hair."
That is GREAT. I'm very happy that she laid herself down at the feet of Jesus. But another important part of the story gets lost. READ THE STORY AGAIN.
Here, I'll paraphrase so you don't have to open another tab (but still you should):
One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to come have dinner and while he was there a woman came in, cried, washed his feet, etc. Yay.
Then the Pharisee saw it and was like "Well, if you were really God you would know what kind of woman is touching you, cause she is a [prostitute]." So Jesus is like "Okay let me tell you a story. Say there is a guy who lends two other people money. He lends one of them $500 and one of them $50. When the time comes, neither of them have any money to pay him back. He forgave them both. Which of the two is going to love him more?"
The pharisee says "I guess the one who was forgiven of more."
And Jesus says "BINGO."
Because her sins, which were many, were forgiven because she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little. The "perfect" Pharisee was hopefully humbled before the unrighteous!
The person who is already the "perfect" Christian can not serve God with the same humility as one who has had MORE bought for the same price.
When I first turned my life to truly serve Jesus, I was sure I was doing great. After all, I did not have a lot of "problems" that many people have when they come to the Lord. I wasn't, to excess, a drinker, a liar, an adulterer, an idol worshipper, or a blasphemer. Since I never had these problems to deal with, I was very haughty about my abilities as a Christian. I could look down on people because I knew right from wrong.
Now don't misunderstand - I did not think that I was better than anyone because I was a "better" christian (or a christian at all). I mostly just thought that I knew everything about right and wrong and that everyone who thought differently was wrong. That attitude came across in what I said and did and how I conducted myself.
Those who are showed Christ's perfect LOVE when they are at their lowest do not struggle as much as the rest of us, who were not so far off from living a Godly life.
Because those of us with the least to lose also have the least to gain.
I realize more now that I'm not always right, and there is a fine line between indifference at another's sin and understanding. Indifference is inaction, uncaring, and leads to no change. Understanding is correction with reflection of Christ's love for us... but only without the bitterness of attitude. We have to reflect that love all day every day and in all we do. The World will automatically hate us; but we have to consciously choose how we conduct ourselves so as not to infect them (or even other Christians) with our bitterness.
Be vigilant in what attitude you are putting forward and extending to those around you, because sometimes being right with vinegar is worse than being wrong with honey.
"Thank you, Thank you."
*Takes a bow*