Not that it was ever a favorite topic. Sometimes it’s simply more fun to preach about love. But I have also carried a nagging thought that maybe I should turn it up a bit about the things that weigh us down in our Christian race to heaven’s finish line. I think Paul certainly did.
The “sins du jour” of our world is racial hatred and injustice. These are worthy of plenty of attention from our pulpits. Environmental worries seem to likewise be appropriate to bring up at our pulpits with energy. Is that it?
Some sexual sins can be considered off limits for legal reasons. Appetite and food choices seem high on some members’ sin lists and are often well covered, but perhaps this isn’t very mainstream. So what things CAN be addressed? Like mentioning politics, there can be much more heat than light produced.
While I was a pastor we rarely were able to discipline members because of sin. There is a universal tendency to not condemn people, because after all “we are all sinners.” So true, and yet do we never frankly talk about the areas we stumble in? Pastors, are you as aware as I am about the personal weaknesses that we have wherein Satan plays us like fiddles?
Do you know where I am really puzzling about this? It is the disturbing comparison of our last day movement with John the Baptist’s “prepare to meet the Lord” message at our Lord’s first coming. He was not silent about sin. In fact, talking about Herod Antipas’ public sexual sins led to his martyrdom. And John’s predecessor Elijah likewise wasn’t inclined to preach easy things. He had to flee for his life.
Yes, I get it! Matthew 25! The “best way” to prepare for Christ’s return is to simply love — especially those whom society has largely ignored. I see that repeated by many Old Testament prophets. Ancient Israel was not taking care of their poor and the necessary sermons came.
But I hate being divisive! Coming from a divorced family I love unity and hate disunity. I learned the family dynamic of being funny would ease tensions. That’s my model. It’s one major reason I don’t talk much about sin anymore. Related to this, I want to be liked. I am drawn to being the star up front, and who wants to share bad news? The gospel is GOOD news.
So, I don’t talk much about sin anymore. I want to be liked. I like unity. I don’t want to be accused of hate speech. I don’t want my bosses to fret about me. And there are already too many harsh voices in the world today.
But, when I am preaching about the evidence of the Flood and how the second coming will likewise surprise all of us with its suddenness, the eyes of the congregations are large and intently focused on the subject of being ready to meet Jesus!