Friday, June 15, 2012

Freeform Friday Week 3

‘Like Jesus said, love the sinner, but hate the sin.’

‘But Jesus never said that.’

‘Yes He did.’

‘No He did not, it was Gandhi, and if you were getting your money’s worth at seminary you would know that.’

And that’s how what almost turned into a shouting match started between yours truly, and a seminary student.

Nobody likes it when certain things which they never said are attributed to them, and that includes Jesus. I’ve had my fair share of ‘brother Mike said’ moments in life, to make sure I document, confirm, and double-check before I attribute a phrase, a saying, or an idea to somebody.

Sometimes the most difficult thing is defending yourself against something you’ve never said. It catches you so off-guard, you don’t know how to react, and that split second you take to process what someone said you said when you didn’t really say it is as confirmation to that person, because, well, you’re acting squirrely, and you wouldn’t be acting squirrely if you hadn’t said what they said you’d said.

So, a few days ago – in fact the day before my flight to Romania – I walk into my favorite local coffeehouse, since chain anything whether department stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, vitamin stores, restaurants, or coffee shops give me the heebie-jeebies, and as I’m ordering my coffee I overhear a conversation between two obvious seminarians.

Admittedly, I was dressed in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, so I didn’t give off the spiritual authority vibe, but the two clean cut, khaki-wearing-with-the-polo-shirt-tucked-in young men, screamed seminary through and through.

Yes, we have a Baptist seminary down the road from where I live when I’m in the States, in cosmopolitan Watertown Wisconsin, so it wasn’t overly difficult to put two and two together.

I had walked in mid-conversation, and the first thing I heard was the tired cliché, attributed to Jesus, of ‘love the sinner, hate the sin.’

Since minding my own business – especially when it comes to things of a spiritual nature – isn’t really my forte, I turn my head and say, ‘but Jesus never said that.’

Who’d have thought that little ole’ me would stir a hornet’s nest by such an inoffensive comment?

‘Yes He did!’ The obviously older of two boys said with such certainty, that for a second I almost believed him.

‘Show it to me in that leather-bound Bible you carry, and I’ll apologize’ I said, handing the girl behind the counter a crumpled five dollar bill.

I waited as the girl made my coffee, keeping one eye on the boy who was violently turning pages left and right. The girl finally called my order, I picked up my cup and took a few sips, and as I walked out, not being able to hold my tongue I said, ‘you can stop looking. The person to whom that particular quote is attributed is actually Gandhi. If you were getting your money’s worth at seminary, you would know that.’

So what’s the point in retelling this story?

The point is as simple as it is profound. As believers, as followers of Christ, and children of God it is important, even paramount that we know what Jesus did say, as well as what He did not say.

We cannot attribute words to Christ just because the words seem to support our preconceived notions, nor can we take away from what He said because His words might be misconstrued as offensive to unbelievers and those who do not yet know Him.

When we utter the words ‘Jesus said’ we’d better make sure He did say what we purport He said, because ignorance is a booming industry. The world is overflowing with experts in theology, men who readily reinterpret, add to, and erase from the word of God without a second thought. The seminaries are cranking out a new batch of bright eyed and bushy tailed molders-of-the-future every year or so, who are as ignorant of what Jesus said as they are of what it means to be a true Christian, but to the last they know how to take an offering, and feign an altar call.

We are the epitome of superficiality, possessing a faith absent obedience, desiring forgiveness absent repentance, and even those who pay good money to be taught in the ways of God remain blissfully ignorant of truth.

Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

That, Jesus did say!

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.


Anonymous said...


I love it. Whup those seminarians.

Anonymous said...

I agree.

One of the most often "the Bible says", but it does not, is "God helps those who help themselves." - Not only is it not in the Bible, in some ways, it is contrary to the biblical principle of turning and trusting in God.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! So many times I cringe when I hear the phrase "on earth" instead of" in earth" when people say the Lords prayer. Since the kingdom of God is within the believer, doesn't it make more sense to ask God to work within us than upon us? God's will occurs on the earth whether we ask or not, but not within us without our permission or desire. It must be the despising of my catholic upbringing.

fishermanpete said...

Thanks Michael.
How many times have we all heard that one before. You have just supplied us with ammo to battle the lies and deception that is running rampant in the church. 2Cor 10:4,5
I can't wait to hear it again.

Anonymous said...

Great story! Thank you Michael for sharing this story and thank you for having the courage, and compassion, to speak the truth. At prayer meeting tonight we were talking about false doctrines which like honey-suckle, appear to be beautiful, but choke out the fruit bearing plants and trees.

mr.mann said...

I've always heard that as well... but even though it is not in the bible, theologically speaking, it makes sense. Christ died for sinners "Romans 5:8" and also we are commanded to "love one another" John 13:34-35. If I do recall, there is also a story about Ghandi that goes like this:

Mahatma Gandhi, the renowned leader of the people of India, in seeking to overthrow British colonial rule of his native land, was an avid reader. Although a Hindu, in his quest for freedom, he read the four Christian Gospels. He wanted to know more about Jesus of Nazareth. In his reading of the Gospels, Gandhi was impressed with this man whom Christians worship and follow. Where could he find out more about this Jesus whom Christians refer to as "the Christ - the Messiah?"

One Sunday morning Gandhi decided that he would visit one of the Christian churches in Calcutta. Upon seeking entrance to the church sanctuary, he was stopped at the door by the ushers. The ushers told him that he was not welcome, nor would he be permitted to attend this particular church as it was for 'high caste' Indians and 'whites' only. He was neither 'high caste', nor was he British. Because of the rejection by this church, 'the Mahatma' turned his back on Christianity. With this act, Gandhi rejected the Christian faith, never again to consider the claims of Christ! He was 'turned-off' by the sin of segregation that was practiced by the church. Gandhi later declared, "I'd be a Christian if it were not for the Christians!"

"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ" ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Here's another for you: "cleanliness in next to godliness"

A Sister in Washington said...

desiring forgiveness absent repentance

I've been pressured and read books that pressure victims of abuse to forgive the unrepentant abuser. Well-meaning, even loving people, believe that you have to forgive anyone who sins against you, even the unrepentant, because GOD FORGIVES YOU (when you repent). They confuse the unconditional love of the Father with unconditional forgiveness. Gives me a headache sometimes. I've stopped arguing with people. I usually just send them to Luke 17:3 (forgive your brother IF HE REPENTS) and then let it go. Most mean well, but they really don't understand that forgiving an unrepentant abuser is just enabling the abuser and leaving the victim feeling lost, unhealed, and even more victimized. God doesn't forgive the unrepentant (if He could, there would be no need for Hell), so how can we? Instead you leave the abuser to God and let Him deal with it. Anyway, that's just my own pet peeve of things that get said about Christianity which aren't supported by scripture.

Keep up the good work!

Paul said...

The most commonly attributed misquotes are from Ben Franklin.

"Spare the rod, spoil the child."

Just one of many.

Anonymous said...

True, there is no one verse in Scripture where the Lord Jesus Christ said these exact words: "love the sinner, and hate the sin"

BUT, Jesus, who is God Almighty, does hate sin and also admonishes us to: LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THY SELF.

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit

Anonymous said...

To the Sister in Washington: I hear you about the unrepentant abusers. I totally understand. But think about this: a lot of horrific sins are committed in this world, and have been since the fall. Child abuse is one of the worst. I would go crazy over this if not for my belief that in the end, there is perfect justice. If someone is genuinely repentant, fully realizing how evil their actions were, stopping altogether and making restitution to the extent possible, God forgives them. If not, they burn in hell for all eternity and how could anything be worse than that? If they are unrepentant, they are not going to be terribly affected by whether you forgive them or not. If you let go of your own anger, you'll feel better and your blood pressure will improve. You're not saying what they did was OK, you're just saying that they ruined enough of your life and you're not going to let them ruin the rest of it. But it won't do a thing to prevent them from getting exactly what they deserve when the time comes. God will take care of that, and he'll do it better than any of us ever could.

Anonymous said...

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why [Hardcover]
Bart D. Ehrman (Author)

Zachary said...

Where does il say in the Bible that it has to be in the Bible?

Unknown said...

An interesting analysis of that statement ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’. Jesus did not say those words ~true. But I can see where the idea was formed to cause one to make such a statement about what Jesus expects of us. How Jesus ate with tax collectors & sinners & redeemed the adulterous woman in front of the crowd by pointing out how everyone is a sinner!! (Mark 2:15-17; John 8:2-11)

I can see how this statement is confused for being ‘real’ scripture~ as the scriptures show that Jesus does indeed ‘love the sinner’~ as, in general, we are all sinners & he loves humanity=yes and he hates sin=yes~ however, in all of the situations where Jesus was reaching out to ‘sinners’ he was indeed trying to help them to change their ways and to get on a path that leads to righteousness. He NEVER just accepted them as they were in their sinful state & ignored their lifestyles!! He rebuked & challenged them to change & when healing the sick or redeeming the adulterous he would often state, ‘Go & sin no more’!! He required them to stop their sinning!! (John 8:11; John 5:14)

Also, the scripture supports that if people have been shown love & have been challenged to stop their sinning & choose to harden their hearts & keep on sinning, he does not keep showing them the same kind of grace & love!! He cuts them off & punishes them. (Ezekiel 33:9,Titus 3:10) When people are thrown into hell~ they are not separate from their sinning lifestyle~ it is part of them!! (Matthew 5:29-30)

I will also add~ that I have heard this statement being misused so many times~ I completely understand how it stirs up so much distension in the hearts of people who truly love God & all his goodness & are sickened by the sins of the world. I’ve heard many misuse this statement ‘love the sinner hate the sin’ as an excuse for acceptance of the person’s sinful lifestyle!! An excuse for not rebuking~ don’t point it out & make them feel shame in their acts. Accept them even though they are living in sin & darkness~ turn a blind eye to their evil lifestyle~ this is completely NOT what Jesus referred to…. ever!! Jesus loving all humanity is not to be taken in vain~ there must be a response from people to love him back & to STOP the sinning lifestyle!! (1 John 4:19-5:4)

Unknown said...

In reference to the above comment by 'A Sister in Washington' on forgiveness, this does not mean if they do not show repentance we have any right to hold bitterness, anger or oppression over that individual who has sinned against us!! We are to forgive 100%= no matter what!!!

You must read: (Matthew 18:21-35; Matthew 6:14-15; Colossians 3:12-13) When someone hurts you or sins against you in any way~ we are to forgive them. Point blank!!! This does not mean that the person ‘got away’ with the sin they committed~ but it does mean that you will have to let go of any bitterness, rage, anger or oppression towards that individual. This restores your peace and most importantly~ you will be rewarded in heaven when you allow God to forgive you of your sin!! (Matthew 5:43-48; Luke 6:27-35)

& if the perpetrator repents~ great!! That is what we can only hope for~ for everyone to do what is right & not fall short of the glory of God!! However, if they don’t repent~ there is a great white throne judgment where God will take care of it!! (Revelations 20:11-15)

I will also add~ that every person is a sinner & everyone has sinned against someone in someway over the course of their lives~ so to have a self-righteous attitude & feel you are entitled to harbor a sinful attitude towards someone because they have sinned against you is just leading you to a place where God cannot forgive you. Is hanging on to this temporary pain worth an eternity in hell?!? & what about the person who wronged you?!? If they repent to God & forgive others who have sinned against them~ they will be forgiven & enjoy eternity in heaven~ but for you……~ I hope you chose the right path!! To humbly forgive & give it to God to deal with~ he will work it out in ways we don’t always see!! God is just!!! (2 Thessalonians 1:6-8)

Unknown said...

In reference to the above comment by 'Paul Andrulis' the ‘spare the rod spoil the child’~ I understand how annoying it is when people misquote the bible!! But~I can see where the basis of this statement came from if you read Proverbs 13:24~ where it states, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” In today’s world it is considered extremely abusive to used a ‘rod’ for discipline~ however, back when this was written~ I can understand & see their purpose in it when considering the cons of lack of discipline potentially leading their children to debauchery~ which in essence leads to hell. A thought process of~ a little pain now to correct or an eternity of torment later?!? I do not condone child abuse~ for sure!!! But there definitely needs to be some sort of ‘reprimanding’ for this generation up & coming~ who, for the most part, seem to be on a pathway that leads to destruction with their lack of discipline or respect of any kind for authority or spiritual teachings!!

Unknown said...

Not specifically Zachary~ but statements or 'people's sayings they make up' that are of truth generally line up with the teachings in the bible. John 1:1-18; John 17:17; Matthew 5: 17-18; Matthew 22:29; Revelation 22:18-19~ are just some of the scriptures that discusses how important the word of God is & how it is truth!!

Anonymous said...

The Word of God is not a book, or any writing of any sort. And if you can't see Him (the Word) for who He actually is, then relationship with Him is almost impossible. GOD is everything, all of it. invisible and visible. Thats why he's the alpha and omega because he's omnipresent. But in expression, in an action from, He is Jesus Christ the Word that was with God, and is God. that came into flesh. Just like John 1:1 says Furthermore, Jesus Christ is the way the truth and the light. Literally. With out the light of Jesus Christ none of this physical "reality" would even exist. So in all respect I personally would not limit the Glory of Jesus to a book that was only inspired by Him the Word of God.

Anonymous said...

Thank you well said, just want to add yes we can say Jesus loves the sinner but let's not forget that he is a Holy God.

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