Monday, May 6, 2013

Preaching Condemnation....

If you have read the page with my testimony, then you know that I got pregnant at 18 with my oldest daughter.  My story is also so different from so many teenage girls that get pregnant out of wedlock.  God used that pregnancy to bring me back to Him in a stronger faith and position than I had been previously.  He poured out His love and mercy on me in ways that no one else could have begun to understand.  I had fully repented of my sinful ways and sought after God's will for me and for my daughter with all my heart.  I was living with my parents at the time and we were all attending a church together.  I will never forget one message the pastor of that church preached from the pulpit. 

He was preaching about premarital sex and the consequences thereof.  Coincidence?  I think not.  I was 4-5 months pregnant, so I was definitely showing and there was no way to hide it.  I found this to be true no matter where I went in the Christian community.  People judged me, looked down on me, and continued to try and save me without asking me what state my heart was in first. 

During the message, he used an analogy of a candy bar in a wrapper.  How nice the wrapping looked on the shelf in the grocery store, but if we pulled that candy bar off the shelf, unwrapped it and took a bite, then put it back on the shelf.  No one would ever want that candy bar. It would be less appealing to anyone who saw that candy bar.  It was spoiled and no good to anyone else. The implication was of course, if you chose to have premarital sex prior to marriage then you were damaged goods and no other man would want you because you were "spoiled."  I cannot describe to you the condemnation Satan attempted to heap onto my head. 

What if I had been someone that did not have the upbringing and foundation I had?  What if I had been a young girl who had never been in a church before and chose to visit this one on that morning and heard that message from the pulpit?  What if she did not have the tools in her toolbox to fight the condemnation of the enemy?  She is already scared to death of what the future holds for her and her baby.  She is already doubting herself and her ability to care for a child on her own.  She is already seeking someone that can give her answers, help, love.  She is already beating herself up for making the decisions she has made.  But now...thanks to the sermon she has heard at this church on that day...Her only impression would be that she was being judged instead of accepted.  She would feel convicted of a crime which pregnancy was the punishment for.  Such a message would cause her to feel as though she had no hope, no redemption, and would find no one that could love her or her baby.  When in all actuality, her Judge is also her Redeemer.  Romans 8:1 -

1 - There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 

The message that should have flowed from the pulpit that morning is a simple one.  No matter what you have done, God will forgive you.  Believe on His Name, believe He died for you, and ask forgiveness for the sins committed in your life with a repentant heart...turn from your old life and gain a new life in the Son of God. 

VERSE 2 goes on to say:

2 - For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 

Accepting Jesus Christ and choosing to live for Him, sets us free from the law of sin and death.  That should have been the message from the pulpit that day.  It is not our job to judge the sinner and bring condemnation to those that don't know the Lord.  It is our job to bring the message of the gospel.  Yes, there is sin in this world.  Yes it is prevelant everywhere we go.  Yes, premarital sex is a sin.  Yes, there is judgement for participating in it. 

Our job is not to convict...that is the Holy Spirit's job.  Our job is to love those that enter into our matter their condition...and show them the Way, the Truth, the Life.  Once they have accepted Jesus Christ into their lives as their Lord and is our job to train and teach them in the ways of living as Citizens in the Kingdom of God.  It is our job to make sure they understand their responsibility does not end at salvation. 

Every pastor or teacher that takes the pulpit has a responsibility to not damage those within the sound of his voice.  You never know who is sitting in your congregation listening to you.  If you are a pastor or a teacher, are you paying attention to what your words are saying?  Are you seeking the wisdom and council of the Holy Spirit before, during, and after every sermon you preach or teach?

If you are not, then are you not a responsible shepherd.  One of the shepherd's jobs is to protect his flock.  He cannot be one to inflict harm or hurt upon the helpless in his care.  I received a set of scriptures during my pregnancy from a woman that has known me most of my life.  I have held onto those scriptures since that day.  I wish every pastor or teacher would tell those young girls that do get pregnant this:

Isaiah 54: 4-7

4 - Do not fear; for you shall not be ashamed, nor shall you blush; for you shall not be put to shame; for you shall forget the shame of your youth, and shall not remember the reproach of your widowhood any more.
5 - For your Maker is your husband; Jehovah of Hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall He be called.
6 - For Jehovah has called you as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when you were rejected, says your God.
7 - For a little moment I have left you; but with great mercies I will gather you.
8In a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you, says Jehovah your Redeemer.

There is no condemnation in those scriptures.  There is love, redemption, grace and mercy in those scriptures.  If God does not condemn, then who we are to preach condemnation from our pulpits?

As always, feel free to contact me.

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