Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Dealing with Sin: Illness vs. Symptoms

I recently came across these few paragraphs, written years ago by my wife Bessie. I hope they will be of some benefit to you.

“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted” (Gal. 6:1).

How do you help someone who is not a Christian when you see a problem in their life? Well, what is the main problem of non-Christians? They do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Instead of dealing with that, so often what Christians do is jump on the symptoms of this problem.

Imagine that you are sick; there are spots all over you. You go to the doctor for help, and all he does is say, “We’ll cover these spots up,” and he doesn’t do anything about the sickness itself. We would be better witnesses for Jesus Christ if we didn’t get hung up on the symptoms of sin.

A friend of mine is discouraged sometimes when her mother says something detrimental to her. But that is just a symptom. She is expecting her non-Christian mother to act like a Christian. That’s stupid! She can’t. After she is a Christian, you can help her to act like a Christian. The Scripture says, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?” No, he can’t. You can paint that leopard all over with calamine lotion, but he’ll still be a leopard.

Had I been told this early on, I would have been a better witness to my family as a young Christian. I saw the symptoms of my family’s sin of being away from God, and I thought, “If only they would stop doing this, if only they would stop doing that, if they didn’t have this bad habit, if they didn’t go there…” Every time they did those things, I would be grieved, instead of realizing that they were just acting as non-Christians.

Sins are the symptom. The illness is sin. And the only remedy for sin is the life-changing experience of Jesus Christ. Don’t try to change the non-Christian’s views. If they say, “I don’t see anything in the Bible,” agree with them. Say, “No, of course not; you can’t. You’re spiritually blind. There’s no point in you even trying to see. But you can pray and ask God to open your eyes.”

It is the illness that we should be concerned about, not the symptoms. The illness is that people are out of touch with God. We are to be witnesses to what Jesus Christ can do for people. We need to make them hungry for God by what they see we have.

1 comment:

Marny Lemmel said...

A good reminder .... you and Bessie always put things so clearly and practically.