3 Misunderstandings By Christians
The statements written in this post are based on my personal experiences, beliefs, and interpretation of the Bible. These are by no means the only misunderstandings, but I did not want to make this post too long. I may add more in a separate post if readers enjoy this. I am heavily generalizing here, but my encounters are all true. Feel free to agree or disagree with my viewpoints in the comments below!
1) Adversity is God's Punishment
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
One day, there was a shooting at my university, and a student was harmed. A few days later, a pastor was preaching on the lawn outside the student center, claiming that the shooting was a result of the student's sins. I was struck by how blatantly wrong that was, and nearly threw a Bible at his head. Alas, I'm writing this article instead.
Many Christians often attribute misfortune to punishment for sins. However, that is untrue. The only punishment for sin is death/eternity in Hell, as stated in Romans 6:23 above. The sole cost of sin is death.
Adversities do not stem from sins. Instead, misfortunes and challenges in a Christians life are God's way of strengthening you and building your faith. Without struggles, trials, and tribulations, no one would need God. God allows bad things to happen in order to test you and build up your faith. By no means are they punishments for your sins.
For example, Job was severely tested in the Bible, losing his wealth, children, and more. His friends mocked him, blaming his struggles and tragedies on his sins, claiming that he is receiving divine retribution. However, both God and Job know that he is blameless. All of Job's miseries are instead a result of God allowing Satan to test him. Despite being nearly perfect, Job was afflicted by catastrophe after catastrophe. God gave him the strength to endure, and Job was rewarded in the end. God's planned trials will be difficult, but you will emerge from the storm stronger as a result.
2) Some Sins Are Worse Than Others
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. James 2:10
Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.1 John 3:4
Let's start this off with a definition of sin. A sin is the act of disobeying God. This can range from screaming, "JESUS CHRIST!" when you stub your toe to murder, or even eating the fruit that led to the eternal damnation of the human race. All sins are equal. There, I said it. Maybe they are not to the government, but they are in the eyes of God. No matter the sin, they are all the act of disobeying God, which is the first and ultimate sin. No matter what, the wage of sin is death.
What is implied in 1 John 3:4 is that sin is an active violation of God's laws, otherwise known as disobedience to God. Every time we transgress His boundaries, we commit a sin. The cost of any and all sins, regardless of transgression, is death.
3) We Can Condemn Each Other's Sins
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard. Romans 3:23
Here's another story about crazy preachers at my university. This man stood out even amidst the large population at the student center. He was surrounded by a mob of angry college students, and he wore a bright red sign declaring, "YOUR Whoredom has caused YOU to err. REPENT NOW to the GOSPEL! Hosea 4:12 ." For reference, Hosea 4:12 states, "My people inquire of a piece of wood, and their walking staffs gives them oracles. For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray, and they have left their God to play the whore." Interesting, but nowhere does it say that the students led themselves astray with their own whoredom. But I digress.
I was horrified by both his atrocious grammar and his message. He was calling girls who wore shorts whores, among more amusing choice words. By condemning her (and others among the crowd), he was placing himself in a position of superiority where he did not belong.
Only God can condemn us. However, we can advise each other when we see each other straying from the path of God. Despite this, we must keep in mind that we have neither the right nor the God-given authority to condemn others. Whether or not someone has committed a sin is for God and God alone to determine. As we are all born in sin, we are in no position to chastise each other. Instead, we must look inwards and improve ourselves first before attempting to guide each other.
While these points may seem quite disheartening (i.e. we are all equally bad in the eyes of God), we must always remember that there is hope. This truth can never be overstated or misunderstood. We have Jesus Christ, who died for all of our sins. No matter who we are or what we've done, our sins are washed away, past, present, and future. Now, I am by no means endorsing intentionally disobeying God. When we choose to walk the path of Christ, we are also choosing to stay on that path through trials and tribulations, rain or shine. Whatever happens, God is by our side, and we can do everything through Him who strengthens us.