“I know it’s wrong but…”
I cringe when a conversation starts this way. I hear this type of reasoning quite a bit as a teacher. I guess this attitude can be expected from teenagers, but it really irks me when it’s coming from the mouth of an authority figure, Christian, close friend, or family member. In many cases, I’ve found myself at a loss for words. I mean, what can I say to someone who is making a conscious decision to do something he/she knows is wrong?
I’ve been guilty of this too, of course. Haven’t we all? Our human nature is so flawed. We’re experts at bargaining with God and tempting fate. It bothers us when the world can see our sins, but it doesn’t bother us enough to turn away from the sins. Instead, we reason that we deserve an opportunity to be bad. “Cut us some slack, God! It’s tough down here!” To nullify our consciences, we make excuses for our behavior. And after all, “You can’t blame me! It’s what anyone in my situation would do.”
If a reasonable person points out the flaw in this logic, the guilty person is likely to exclaim, “Don’t judge me!”
I’m just going to come out and say it. The “don’t judge me” response is a cop out. That’s the guilty party’s way of saying “This conversation is making me uncomfortable and I’d like to end it, now.”
Christians should be recognizable by the good fruit they produce. This concept appears many times throughout the New Testament. (Galatians 5:22-23, Luke 6:43, John 15:8) Likewise, Christians will recognize non-Christians by their lack of spiritual fruit. (Galatians 5:19-21, Matthew 17:16)
But, shouldn’t we just mind our own business at let our loved ones do what they want to do? Absolutely not! In fact the Bible indicates that complacency is the equivalent of taking part in the sin, ourselves. According to Galatians 6:1, Christians are to gently and humbly correct those who have fallen into sin’s trap. It should be quite obvious that, in order to correct a brother or sister, we have to make a spiritual judgment call.
I am so far from perfect; I really don’t enjoy correction and discipline. However, I would much rather be judged and corrected by my fellow Christians than to live my life in blissful ignorance until the day of God’s judgment.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. – Hebrews 12:11
Let’s be honest, it feels terrible when someone points out your sins, but it is a necessary part of the Christian lifestyle. This doesn’t mean we should run around pointing the finger at everyone and nitpicking every action. Don’t forget about Matthew 7:3-5! We should recognize that all have fallen short from the glory of God, and therefore, judge righteously (John 7:24) with a loving and gentle spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
Let’s proceed on this topic, acknowledging that the “don’t judge me” response should never be used, or accepted, as a trump card in these types of scenarios.
Here’s what it boils down to. When we say, “I know it’s wrong, but…” we are either being lazy or cowardly. Neither of these are characteristics of admirable, upstanding individuals… let alone followers of Christ.
Let’s evaluate the root of the problem. Are you lazy or are you a coward?
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. – James 4:17
Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. – Romans 12:11
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. – 2 Timothy 1:7
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. – Matthew 10:28
This is your challenge: Confront those hard issues. If there are aspects of your life or things in your church that you know are not pleasing to God, it is your responsibility as a follower of Christ to do everything in your power to fix them. You have no excuse. Good luck.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. – Colossians 3:23-24