A few years ago, I wrote this piece here on Parchment and Pen about how we use condemning statements under the rubric of Christian affection.
I was listening to a Christian broadcast the other morning on the way into school and the topic of the sermon was Christians and alcohol. The preacher took a rather hard stand against alcohol and insisted that the Bible expressly forbids the use of alcohol. While I don’t agree with him, I was intent be gracious to his points as to why. That was until he made the statement at the end of his broadcast that he did not want to condemn any Christian who drinks alcohol BUT (yes you knew there was a but coming, right?) you Christian, should really ask yourself does your use of alcohol really glorify God. If you love God and offer yourself to Him….skreeeeech! My first thought was ‘how is that not condemning’? That person who may have a glass of wine or beer on occasion, and has a conviction regarding this liberty, has now had their Christian devotion challenged.
I find this all too common – shaming to the glory of God. Well, of course it’s not to God’s glory. In fact, I’d take a gander and say it is to our own to show we have the upper moral ground. Shaming happens when you highlight deficiencies and then show the other person how they are not measuring up. It happens on issues of Christian liberty and demonstrating the superiority of doctrinal positions, as I highlighted in the article. Shamed based preaching usually involves some condemning statements to motivate people into doing something because the preacher feels they aren’t doing enough.
Most Christians don’t [insert statement about how people aren’t measuring up]
Then follow it up
If you really loved the Lord, you would….
Is that love? Dr. Anthony Bradley said it well.
Shaming people into doing things “for God” is not love.
— Anthony Bradley (@drantbradley) May 6, 2013
Love does not shame people into compliance or service. Love does not pull out the measuring stick then smack them over the head with it. Love let’s people know that they can’t measure up and points to the One who has. Love encourages that we rest in the completed sacrifice of Christ. Love encourages not condemns.
Let us consider how we may spur one another on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24)
Oh and the good deed? That would be loving neighbor, not productions to satisfy our sense of what we feel somebody ought to be doing for God.