Shonebarger

A significant lesson in life is realizing that good people do bad things.

Every one of us can look at choices we have made in life with deep regret. It is a possibility that a reader of this article is involved in actions that miss the mark of appropriate behavior, yet continue in their choices. Without a doubt, we have all heard (or read) of a neighbor’s misdeeds and we are deeply shocked about what we have learned. We shake our heads in disbelief.

From a Biblical perspective, the Scripture teaches us that none of us are good. Yes, the Bible teaches us that everyone is a sinner and has fallen short of the glory of God. Everybody has faults and failures.

The gospels’ message is that God loves every sinner and sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to pay the price of their sin. That price was His sinless blood, shed for the remission of sins. Jesus died a sacrificial death for each of us, was buried and rose from the grave on the third day. Through repentance of personal sin and faith in Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary, a sinner is forgiven and given the gift of eternal life by God’s grace.

Yes, we expect bad people to do bad things. That is in their “sin nature.” Sinners do bad things. However, people who have placed their faith in Christ for their salvation, continue to battle their old sin nature while they grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Christians will not be perfect until they get to heaven! Salvation by the grace of God does not make a person sinless, however, they should “sin less” because they are being conformed to the image of Christ in their journey of faith. Christians are all a work in progress.

We may hear of a pastor who has fallen to immorality. We may hear of a church member caught embezzling money from their company. There may be a neighbor overcome with depression who committed suicide. There may be an esteemed college professor caught plagiarizing someone else’s writing for their own literary work. There may be a politician doing favors for personal gain. All of these individuals have had a history of good deeds, humanitarian efforts and compassionate benevolence. Leaders, teachers, mentors, colleagues, and a good family. However, these good people have done bad things.

What should our response be to those who have committed bad things? Should we shun them? Should we condemn them? Should we refuse to forgive them? Should we abandon them and remove them from our lives? Should we gossip about them?

The fallen need to be loved in this moment of disgrace and humiliation. Forgiveness and restoration are key principles in the word of God. Jesus taught us that he that is without sin, let him cast the first stone! We need to be compassionate to the fallen individual. We must offer our friendship, presence and unconditional love. We must offer them the hope of restoration and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. He alone is our Judge, Advocate and Redeemer.

The greatest criticism people have about Christians is their hypocrisy. Those who have a “superiority complex” without the superiority! None of us has the right to dispose a relationship because of sin, regardless of how heinous the action. The gospel testifies of God’s love for sinners. Unconditionally.

How God-like are you? How willing are you to restore a fallen church member, or forgive a disciple who denied Jesus three times? What about the father waiting for the return of his prodigal son? What about Ananias and Sapphira keeping back money that belonged to God? The Biblical examples are innumerable, good people doing bad things.

Let us weep for the fallen, but go forth in Christ-like love with compassion, forgiveness and restoration. We are Christ’s Body, who are called to bind up the wounded but not shoot them. Let us demonstrate, through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, the ministry of reconciliation. We must lift up the fallen and never forsake them. Yes, good people do bad things. Let us endeavor to live holy lives but remember, if we fall it’s not the end of the story. God is the God of a second chance. The comeback awaits the one who fell. To God be the glory!

Have a great week and remember, God loves YOU!

Contact Jon Shonebarger at jtshonebarger@gmail.com.

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