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white printer paper with be kind text on plants

It’s the kindness of God that leads to repentance. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. Those things are in the Bible.

I’m kind of surprised that there are so many Christians roaming about the intertoobz who seem to believe that pointing out sin is how you bring people to repentance? All in good fun here, but I shouldn’t be surprised because I get a good half dozen emails demanding I repent nearly every week. Just the same, there are sensible people, people I kind of like, who seem to believe this very thing.

Has anybody ever told an alcoholic, “you know what your problem is?” You drink too much. Then they go, “Well shoot, thank you for telling me! I had no idea.”

How about some gang banging skin head with a swastika tattoo? You know what’s wrong with you? You’re really racist. And then they go, Wow, I had no idea!  Thanks for telling me.

It’s illogical, it defies common sense, and it’s unbiblical. Absolutely nobody has ever repented and changed because some helpful individual came along and pointed out their sin to them. Like come on, that’s really dumb. In fact, 90% of the time we probably just drive people farther away.

Also, this is how the secular world functions! Seriously! They “name it and shame it.” “You’re a racist, deplorable, sinner,” and then they shun you and cut you out for having what they perceive as bad think, for not submitting to the correct mindset. You cannot be restored to the cool kid’s club until you repent of your “sin.” Of course they usually don’t call it “sin,” but that’s the idea. Usually it’s called “privilege” or wanting to maim puppies and kill grandma.

Trust me, there is no fundamentalist quite like a recovered fundamentalist who wants to rid the world of the demon they’ve now become.

I lived trapped in this world for a long time. In silence, smiling politely, trying desperately to please people, trying not to become a victim of that, “name it and shame it” secular mindset.  I failed, wrecked the whole train, and went right off the tracks in a  ball of smoke and flames. I deconstructed, no, not my faith, my politics, my worldview, my understanding of the nature of social structures, and my newly acquired understanding of secular spiritual abuse.

Yep, I call it, “secular spiritual abuse.” It’s when you demand someone else change what they think, believe, who they are at their core essence, in order to accommodate YOUR needs and feelings. We like to mask that kind of thing as just, “for your own good,” or “God’s will,” but we’re masterful liars. Sometimes we lie so well, we actually believe ourselves.

So, I really need that foundation in place, that structure that is willing to call sin, sin. I walked into church one day trapped in moral ambiguity,  all confused, emotionally and psychologically abused  by a large dump truck of manure that had backed over me,  and the pastor goes, “lying is still sin.”

I was like, wait what?? When did that start? Laughing here, but I so needed to hear those words. I had spent a few weeks in a place where good was evil and evil was good and up was down and down was up and lying was okay in these circumstances and wrong over here and.…..I just had a splitting headache and could hardly function anymore. I needed that affirmation, that reminder, oh yeah, I know what’s wrong here, lying is a sin! Boom, order restored to my chaos. Yayyy…

So yeah, you betcha, call sin, sin and just stand there. But that’s a whole different thing that running about thinking you can save people and change the world by pointing out people’s sin and shaming them into repentance. That kind of attitude is the epitome of all arrogance and it fails to honor Jesus, it fails to trust in the blood of Christ, it refuses to acknowledge the kindness of God. Actually, it’s really abusive.

So, I make a point of loving people because they are made in the image of God. You don’t have to agree with me, think like me, act like me, dress like me, wutever. You could be wrong about everything, but you’re still made in the image of God. I see Him in you.  He is definitely easier to see in some than in others and I do need to be around some like-mindedness for my own sanity, my own emotional well being. But that said, I don’t honor people because they think like I do, or sin like I do, ha! I honor people because we are made in His image.

It is the world, the culture, the nature of people that tries to play the “name it and shame it game.” That’s not the Christian way. That’s not what Jesus taught us. That’s not the path to repentance. That’s not how you build a better world. That’s not how you demonstrate your faith and trust in nothing but the blood of Jesus.

photo of chicks perched on wooden chair

Racism is a good example. When you “name it and shame it,” you simply polish the outside of the cup. Recently someone said there is either hatred or there is love. Doesn’t really matter if the cup is shiny or not. Love always finds a way to invite you in and lift you up. Hatred always finds a way to keep you out.

We really are not called to walk around naming sin. We are called to walk around demonstrating the kindness of God.  That’s what leads to repentance. Maybe even our own.