Handle With Care

Tuesday, Sept. 30
“If I accept you as you are, I will make you worse; however if I treat you as though you are what you are capable of becoming, I help you become that.”—Goethe. This is much like the commonly expressed statement that we love the sinner but not the sin. But Goethe’s statement seems to have an added element. Loving the sinner and hating the sin is a rational position and does not necessarily imply that we are responsible for how we treat the sinner. Goethe gets at the nature of the relationship, which is critical in our being a witness for Christ. Our secular world doesn’t call on us to reach out to sinners. It’s more “live and let live” or “I’m OK, you’re OK” Phrases such as “I’m as good as the next guy” or “Everyone’s doing it” reflects this pattern. But for the Christian, it’s not that simple. So how we respond to unbelievers is really important. I don’t want to gloss over sin an though it doesn’t matter, but on the other hand, I don’t want an unbeliever to think that he’s acceptable to God or that he will go to heaven because God loves him. He has to know he’s lost and he has to know how to be re-instated with God. This seems like a fine line to draw, but a necessary one. I’m not sure just what Goethe meant by “what you are capable of becoming,” but for me it means becoming a Christian. How I can help a person come to that life changing position is the issue, and I believe that I need the Holy Spirit’s guidance, along with a demonstrated love attitude and a good deal of gentleness. Perhaps above all else, I need to pray.

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