Lord's Day Liturgy

Sinful Exhortations

One of the hazards of exhorting a church-full of believers to confess their sin every week is that I usually don’t give an exhortation about every possible sin and I know that not everyone has committed the particular sin receiving attention. If the net is too loose, nothing is caught, and if the net is too tight, it might just be dragging up junk.

I’ve been especially mindful about this recently because calling other people sinners, or at least calling them evil, is popular. There are numerous assumptions slung out in our society that others are wicked, and numerous calls for others to confess their wrongs, and those calls are manipulative lies. The exhortations themselves are sin.

Here’s one example, followed by an admonition to the flock.

You can’t open up the Kindle app these days without seeing ads for books related to racism and Black Lives Matter. One of the books I’ve seen promoted the most is called White Fragility; it’s good business and a lot of businesses are apparently using it for employee training. Here’s one review of the book by Samuel Sey, White Fragility Is Pro-Racism, with a variety of quotes from the book, and wow. The author says that you do not need to have hatred in your heart to be a racist, in fact, failure to think about how racist you are is itself damning evidence. You must be anti racist, meaning that you must acknowledge your indifference to how oppressive you are, by definition.

But remember that God defines sin, that while it is possible to sin without knowing it, it most certainly is not appropriate for me to call something sin that you don’t realize if God hasn’t said it.

So in the church, be careful calling other people liars when you don’t know if they are lying. Be careful calling other people cowards because they don’t stand at your spot on the wall. Be careful calling other people proud because they have chosen a time and place/person to fight. Be careful calling other people indifferent because they aren’t as cautious. There are choices, such as eating or not eating meat, that aren’t the kingdom (Romans 14:17). Paul both rebuked Peter for a crucial time when he didn’t eat (Galatians 2:11-14) and rebuked the whole Roman church for judging each other both ways (Romans 14:3).

There are no commands in the Bible about masks or political parties or locations for worship. There are many principles, and we want to be wise and bold and loving and do what is best, fully convinced in our own mind (Romans 14:5). But while you seek to be provocative, seek to do it in a way that does not falsely accuse your brothers.