I was ‘trolling’ through a friend’s pictures on facebook recently. Actually, I suppose you could call this person more like an acquaintance now because we haven’t had an actual conversation in years, nor do we live in the same area anymore. At any rate, a few of the pictures seemed to indicate that my friend no longer held some of the standards I once thought we shared.
With some chagrin, I must admit to jumping to snap conclusions and quietly judging my former friend in my heart. I also must ‘fess up to feeling a fleeting dart of self-righteous pride, because I hadn’t waivered in my convictions, unlike some people. And of course, there was that underlying disappointment, as though my friend had let me down personally for not believing just like I did.
As you may imagine, the Holy Spirit dealt with me pretty quickly on that one…
What came out of our little chat was me musing over the nature of sin versus standards. Of course, our desire should be to live as close to Jesus as we can, and not to try and live as close to the line as we can. The Lord’s requirements for how we are to live our lives vary according to our specific callings and ministries. However, we can get caught up in judging each other when one person’s version of “living close” is different than ours.
Some friends and I were discussing Hebrews 10 last night, and gripped with the sobering reality of verses 26-27:
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. (Heb. 10:26-27)
Obviously, the Lord is very serious about deliberate sin, and our attitude toward sin. But where do we draw the line between sin and standards? Do we sin when we break a personal standard that might not be a requirement of someone else, or is sin, sin across the board? What do you think? And do you have a list of absolutes for your own life?