I've been thinking a lot lately about love. Loving others and what that looks like. Which has made me listen more intently when others talk about love. I hear a lot of the time that we need to love one another more. That we don't want to be people who are "Bible Beaters" and shame one another.
But I wonder if in this effort to change the way Christianity once came across if we've swung the pendulum too far?
This morning my Bible reading plan had me in Deuteronomy 17. A very exciting part of the Bible let me tell you (please read with sarcasm).
But there was a part that really caught my attention:
That word presumptuous struck a chord with me.
So did the "from your midst" part.
First, I'll start with the later. When it comes to sin, we like to point outside of our circle. We like to call it "the world." While we know we sin, we hardly notice it because it's nothing compared to what the world is doing. I love that this verse is directing the clean up to take part among you, not outside of you. As Christians, we need to do some cleaning house.
Which brings me to the presumptuous part-- We need to stop looking at "bigger sins" (which there isn't such a thing) and thinking we are in the clear. Thinking we are above falling into something. Because we aren't. We aren't above falling into the "bigger ones" and the "little ones" we have are doing plenty of damage on their own.
So what are some of the evil we ignore in our midst? What are evils we justify?
Gluttony. Debt. Gossip (our as we like to say, "prayer requests"). Slander. Envy. Greed. Lust. Witholding yourself from your spouse. Idol worship (we have so many of these). And I could go on and on.
So how are we to respond? How are we to "purge the evil" as the text says?
First, I would say to go to that person with love and compassion. Don't wait and wait and wait. Go to them... for their good and God's glory. Make sure that you are going because the Word is clear to speak against what you are rebuking. 2 Timothy 4:2 says, "Preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season: reprove, rebuke and exhort, with complete patience and teaching." The complete patience part is important. You don't want to go in there angry and self-righteous. Also, teaching implies that you would help the person with finding a way out.
Second, pray earnestly for them. Pray freedom over that brother or sister. Also, I have heard lots of moms say before that they prayed for their child to be caught if they were hiding things. I pray that all the time, that the truth would come out. That, for their good, they would be found out.
I don't say all this to be the Debbie Downer of the day. But to remind us to be on guard.
Be on guard in your own life.
Be on guard in the lives of those in your midst.
Let us not become presumptuous or complacent in where we are.
Not out of an iron fist heart, but one of deep love.
Don't you desire more? Let us not presume we can have more of Christ without purging the evil in our lives and in our midst.