Captain Obvious Christians

How many times have you seen this played out in front of your eyes?  A child is running somewhere where he shouldn’t and in the process slips and falls and gets a bloody nose or a scraped knee.  Rushing to a parent to be comforted he hears instead, “You shouldn’t have been running there.  If you hadn’t been running, you wouldn’t have been hurt.”  Really, Captain Obvious?

How many times have we seen the same scene played out in the church?  Someone gets hurt while sinning and comes to the church for comfort and support only to hear “You shouldn’t have been sinning, should you?”  Well, yes, that of course is true.  But is the ministry of the church simply telling people the obvious truth that they wouldn’t have been hurt by sin if they hadn’t been sinning?  Something is wrong when we think that we are being helpful when all we have to offer are words that are so obvious that it is almost impossible for the hurting person to NOT know he has done this to himself.

Compare our words to the words of Jesus when confronted with the woman caught in adultery. Had Jesus been like us he would have said something along the lines of: “It’s your own fault for being in bed with a man who isn’t your husband.”  But Jesus didn’t rebuke her by saying things so obviously true as to be unhelpful and, yes, even hurtful.

Notice something important, though – very important – Jesus not only did not condemn the woman, he made sure to TELL HER that he wasn’t condemning her.  Unwilling to just hope the woman didn’t perceive condemnation in his words, Jesus made it clear that he wasn’t condemning her for doing something that she already knew was wrong.  He didn’t give her the cold reception that we so often give to people hurt by their own sin – “You made your bed, now lie in it.”

What did Jesus do? If he didn’t offer unhelpful, hurtful words so obvious they don’t need to be spoken, what did he offer her? Jesus offered her a hopeful alternative to consider – change.  When Jesus said “Go and sin no more” he was trying to open her eyes to a reality that she may not have been considering.  Jesus’ words are helpful because they turn her eyes away from what she was doing wrong toward what she should be doing right.

Jesus was letting her know that he expects better of her – that he believes she CAN do better than what she is doing.  In other words, Jesus is offering her HOPE.  Hope that she can have a different future – a better future.

How many people come into the church, still hurting from the consequences of their sin, but instead of hearing a word of hope that they can change – they hear a word of condemnation that they shouldn’t have been doing what got them into trouble?  The church is filled with Captain Obvious Christians who only offer judgmental words that are unhelpful.

Next time someone comes into your church beaten down by his sin – offer a word of hope instead of condemnation.  Try it – God will like it.

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