Generosity Toward Sin
By Mike Stickler
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
In James’ first chapter, we read the anatomy of temptation and sin being formed in the human heart, and how it will lead to our destruction, both here on earth and, potentially, eternally. But, in its 17th verse, there is a moment of respite in this narrative—along with the hope in understanding that every good thing, every perfect gift, comes from the Father. This one, simple verse allows us to set our course in trials and receive God’s mercy and grace to heal.
Today, we are inundated with information. The news of the day pops up on our cell phones, is available to us 24/7 through e-mail, newspapers, TV, radio and social media. We can even customize these news streams as to the types of stories we wish to receive. So, if we’re conservative, we can decide to only receive conservative news. As liberals, we can opt to receive strictly liberal news stories. If you’re Christian or atheist, it’s the same process. You get the picture.
The problem I see with this approach is that we become susceptible to the “group think” of our preferred news-group. As a result, we become outraged or disgusted by the audacity of ‘sin’ (as our news-group sees it). This results in ‘we-they’ positioning and, ultimately, isolation from the greater reality. For me, I believe this is evidence of the root of much of the anger in society today. We begin to lack grace for people who have differing views than our own. Ultimately, condemnation for their ‘sinful nature’ (as ‘we’ define it) follows.
But, with a different approach, gracious living would include a broadly-based, free-flow of ideas and a deeper understanding of the human nature. Not approval of unbiblical thought; but, a gracious acceptance that people can think differently than we do. God can use us to bestow good things and perfect gifts when we care more about the human being ‒ than about the way they think.
Today’s Generosity Challenge:
Are you different when on the Internet than in person? If your mother read your social media postings would she be ashamed? Do you find yourself only associating with people that share your own worldview? How can God increase the capacity of your heart to love and encourage those who do not necessarily share your views? As you work though these questions, write the answers and thoughts down below.
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column.