Should we accept people for who they are, even when they sin?
We always here the phrase, “Come as you are,” when offering an altar call. It’s one of the greatest phrases one can hear. It’s all at once accepting, loving, and inviting. I love it. But we never seem to ask the question that comes next: What for?
An idea so many of us believe is that we must love people for who they are. I’m not talking about personality or quirks, things that come out when you be yourself. Do not change those, they’re awesome! No, what I’m talking about is who we are apart from Christ. Our broken selves. Our fallen selves. Our sinful selves. We should accept people for who they are, but we take it too far, accepting their sin also as a part of their identity.
The problem with this kind of acceptance is that we love the person they want to be, instead of the person Jesus made them to be: a person who’s made holy and beautiful through His blood. A person who’s restored. In accepting sin as a part of who we are, we’re neglecting the life Jesus wants us to live in Him.
So what about being with those who live in sin? Jesus attended parties with them, even made wine for them. This is true, of course, but we again take things out of proportion. Jesus never once accepted sin as something that was ok. He accepted their sin as something that was wrong, something that needed to be changed. Jesus left His throne because He knew we were sinners, He accepted it because He wanted to restore us, deliver us from the death laying in sin’s hands. He never said, “Come as you are, stay as you are,” He’s saying, “Come as you are, be made new.”
One of the worst things we do when we accept sin is deny our brokenness. Accepting sin is not the way to salvation, it’s in realizing our brokenness and need for a savior. Without this realization, the weight of sin is never felt. In never realizing our brokenness, we never realize our need for holiness. It’s why partaking in the sin of those unsaved, hoping it would lure them to Christ, doesn’t work. We’re living as if our brokenness is a good thing instead of something that’s meant to draw us to Christ.
It’s a truth that everyone is loved, everyone is welcomed, everyone is invited, but the invitation is not to a life no different, but to a life beyond the one we’re living now. If only we would show them.