Accountability as Christians – A Gentle Personal Rant
Before I start getting comments about what forum this gentle rant is appropriate for, this is definitely about work and our work life, among other things. The things that form the foundation of what we believe, are the foundations of what ground our ethics and our conduct in the world and the world of business. Personally, I believe that without this foundation, there is little that can be trusted in the world or business.
I experienced something today that is becoming more and more common and gives me great concern.
I had an encounter with a couple of people that were talking about how hypocritical Christians are and that, as Christians, we are supposed to love all people and are supposed to accept all of their behavior out of love. I am concerned about this because their statement could not be further from the truth. I am also concerned by how this mentality is daily becoming more prevalent in our country, and I believe it to be a core reason behind so many problems we face in society today.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and risk alienating you right away here by saying that The United States of America is a Christian nation. I don’t mean by religion and I don’t mean by the number of Christians in our country. I mean in core fundamental beliefs that help to form the foundation of our founding documents and principles for the United States of America.
There are many that try to engage in a debate of this, saying this person or that person that took part in the writing of our Bill of Rights and the Constitution did not believe in God and so on. Usually this argument goes down the path of religion, not faith and belief. There is a huge difference.
Ultimately, there are some important things to remember, that are a little more telling of intent etc. One would be that the federal government believed that the teachings of the bible were so important and foundational to a moral and prosperous society. I would also point out that many of the Ivy League schools we hold in such high regard, as the foundations of higher education, were founded by the Methodist Church, and that a large number of the “founding fathers” in fact had advanced degrees in seminary. Many the singers and framers of our founding documents proclaimed that following the teaching of Jesus Christ were foundational to all things. They did not say this at the expense of others, but as the foundation of this country. God was an integral part of the founding fathers daily lives. God was not separated from their lives or their leadership. That is a new thing.
Now that I have probably riled you up a bit, I would like to make a couple of points that relate to what it means to be Christian. It absolutely does not mean you are supposed to love everyone and accept whatever they do and be tolerant of it. That is utterly and totally absurd and unbiblical. I hear this mostly from people that say they are Christians. I would say that most of them either do not know the bible very well, or are justifying their own behavior. Either way, that is not a good thing.
Jesus taught that there is one great commandment, with a second one closely following. Love your God with all your heart, mind, body and strength. And then to love your neighbor as yourself. He said all other commandments were included or came out of these two.
This is very commonly where the idea Christians are supposed to love and accept and tolerate all comes from. But Jesus didn’t stop there. He set an example for us to constantly strive to achieve, though we will never be able to attain it, because we can never achieve perfection during our life on earth. Paul speaks of this a great deal in the New Testament.
I would also point out that Jesus repeatedly refused to condemn, but instead forgave. An important element here is that something that is not wrong does not need forgiven. One of the most famous occurrences of this, in the bible, is with regard to the woman caught in the act of adultery and brought to Jesus for stoning. As most Christians and many non-Christians know, this is where Jesus said he who has not sinned should cast the first stone. This is often also one of the first things people point to when they push tolerance.
The problem here is that people conveniently choose to forget the rest of the story. Jesus said he did not condemn the woman, but he finished by saying go and sin no more. He was not tolerant or accepting of her behavior, he showed her love by forgiving. But he also let her know he expected her to stop her sinful behavior. This situation is repeated several times in similar circumstances where Jesus did not condemn, but instead forgave, out of love, and then said to now go and sin no more. He clearly set the example of accountability.
That brings me back to the part about striving for the perfection of Christ’s example. As Christians, we are expected by God to seek this standard. It is God’s standard. We are called to set this standard for ourselves first. We can see this is part of his message where he criticises the Jewish leaders for judging the speck in another’s eye, but ignoring the log in their own.
We are called to seek to achieve a standard within ourselves – eliminating the log in our own eye. Part of that standard is to love in such a way that we don’t condemn, but expect a change in our brothers and sisters to go and sin no more – kind of like an accountability partner.
Judging is easy and nobody does it better than we do in The United States of America. But judging is not the right thing to do. When we judge we tend to leave love behind, stop including ourselves in the view, and instead put ourselves above it, and we tend to label people. Christ teaches us to love the sinner but hate the sin. That can’t be done with labels.
Seek to lose the label, love the sinner and condemn the sin. Tolerance of sin is not biblical. A Christian should not tolerate openly sinful behavior from another Christian. We should strive to be like Christ and not condemn the person, but stand against the sin and encourage the person to stop their path of sin.
God says all people matter, and he loves us all enough that he gave up his son to pay the price of death for our sin. When we become a Christian, we ask Christ to reside in our hearts, and in faith believe he is our Lord and Savior. If Christ is our Lord, then sin can not be.
If we choose to continue in sin, then we choose to separate ourselves from God and refuse the gift of grace that we were offered when Christ died on the cross for our sins. In the bible, Christ said that many would call to him at the end and he would say he does not know them. Choosing a life of sin closes to the door to our hearts and denies Christ entrance. We can not choose to persist in a life of sin and have Christ in our hearts. If Christ is in our hearts, we will constantly strive to turn away from sin.
I am not perfect and I know it. I am not great or special because of me. And I definitely do no see myself as better than anyone else. Anything that may be praiseworthy in me is from God so I can not boast. I struggle to turn from sin every day and it is only by the grace of God that I make progress. I thank and praise God daily for that blessing that I do not deserve.
So where am I going with all of this? Well, I love people. I love this country. My prayer is that all of you could know such grace and that our country could reverse the downward spiral of depravity and sin we have immersed ourselves in. I would hope that Christians would start with themselves before they point a finger at anyone else. I would hope that Christians would stop trying to use the bible to justify their own sin and the sin of others, and instead put a stop to most of the behavior that gets Christians viewed as hypocrites. I would hope that people would stop trying to remove God from their lives and this nation. I would hope that as we do this, we set a new standard of what is acceptable in our lives and nation, and we will see a change in our actions and behavior, for the better.
A new standard would bring about a new level of accountability for our leaders at all levels, a standard that causes us to do what is right and not what is self serving, popular or “politically correct”. A new standard would have us standing with law enforcement against illegal behavior in society, and would have law enforcement standing with society against illegal behavior in law enforcement. A new standard would have us stand against evil, not ally with it, no matter the cost.
A new and higher standard would have people holding each other accountable at work and away from work, and with all activities involving social programs. A higher standard would have people looking to do their part instead of trying to get something for nothing. A higher standard would have us expect the government to do less and the responsibility instead fall to the individual in community.
A new standard would have The United States of America welcoming people to our country and facilitating good people becoming citizens. A new standard would also make it clear to those who come to this country that if you don’t like the way things are here, you will not be forced to stay here, and we will not hold it against you for choosing to leave. But that we will also not stand by and let you tear it down while you are here.
A new standard allows us to remember that God says resist the devil and he will flee. A new standard would have us treat each other with respect, especially when our personal views about the world, politics etc differ.
I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. I hope this somehow makes a difference in your life. You don’t have to be a Christian to understand and appreciate what I am saying, or to rise to a higher standard. You also don’t have to be a Christian, if you so choose. This is a free country and I respect the right to make that choice that was endowed to us by our Creator, as was noted in our Declaration of Independence.
May the love and peace of Jesus Christ be with you all, and I hope that your days are wonderfully blessed.