The world is full of sinners. The church (and this church) is full of sinners. This office is full of sinners, and I’m the only one in it! The Bible is full of sinners. It’s important that we realize that there is sin everywhere. This seems obvious, but it always shocks me that it shocks people when they realize that there is sin everywhere. The important thing is learning how to live with sinners. Now it’s important to realize that I am talking about all sin. Sin is anything you do (or don’t do) that goes against God. This includes what some have deemed “little sin, acceptable sin, or justifiable sin.” Those are all theologically incorrect terms. Trust me, gossip is just as much a disobedience to God as anything else. Now that I am off of that soapbox, let’s look at how the Bible deals with living among sinners, because that gets a little uncomfortable for a lot of people.
Don’t avoid it completely
In the Bible, we see every example of Christ and His followers meeting sin and sinners head-on. From the woman at the well (John 4:27), to Zacchaeus the tax collector (Luke 19:7), to being anointed by a prostitute (Luke 7:39), we see them diving headlong into living among sinners. The fine line here is to not get sucked in. In high school, I heard dozens of times that people were “only going to that party to witness to people.” Before too long, people get sucked in. Make sure you don’t. Don’t cross the line. “Well, I know that woman has been flirting with me, but I am married. So, I think I’ll spend some time teaching her about Christ.” Guys, that doesn’t work. Don’t do that.
Don’t forget where you’ve been
It’s amazing, but I think Christians have the shortest memory of any single group of people. It seems that the second that a person is redeemed by Christ, they forget that they used to live in a life of sin. Don’t forget that. Remember where you’ve been. In Exodus 22:21, God even puts in the Israelite covenant that they should be good to foreigners because they were once foreigners. God understood that they would forget that quickly, so He wrote it right into the covenant. This theme and this reminder shows up all over the place in the New Testament.
Live with grace, not with hate
I hate that the place that gets the most attention in the media is Westboro. These guys are doing it wrong. They are living filled with hate, not with grace. Grace is a powerful tool.