Two words that don’t seem likely to go hand-in-hand. I’ve been thinking lately about holiness. I used to think of it more like perfection. But now I think of it more like a glass of water that is continually being poured through a filtering system to get the impurities out. It’s the result of being set apart for a divine purpose. A love & a striving for all that is holy, or of God. Remember that song by Sonic Flood? It went:
“Holiness, Holiness is what I long for. Holiness is what I need. Holiness, Holiness is what you want from me…So, take my heart and form it. Take my mind and transform it. Take my will and conform it. To Yours, to Yours, oh, Lord. ”
What a fantastic prayer. Dictionary.com puts it this way:
Ho”li*ness\, n. [AS. h[=a]lignes.]
1. The state or quality of being holy; perfect moral integrity or purity; freedom from sin; sanctity; innocence.
2. The state of being hallowed, or consecrated to God or to his worship; sacredness.
But QUESTION: How can anyone love or strive for holiness without hating that which is not holy? Enter, Anger. That’s why Jesus turned the tables twice in the sacred temple. Greed, abuse & manipulation were inhabiting the house of a holy God. His Son was not about to sit quietly and let it go on.
In a country, even a world that is becoming increasingly and uncomfortably comfortable with the ideal of “embracing tolerance”, can I just suggest that Jesus was not a tolerant Man? Intolerant of sin, that is. Lemme break it down like it’s in my head – in James it reads that to him who knows something is wrong and does it anyway…and to him who knows what is right and does not do it…to him, this is sin. We are not to identify ourselves as sinners (according to author & spiritual warrior, Neil Anderson who backs it up by scripture), but as saints who sin. I struggle with sin every day. Lately it’s been laziness, a judgmental spirit, idolizing other things above God…& more. I hate that my sin separates me from & angers & saddens the God I love. But if we’re to strive for holiness, then sin, as defined above, should anger & sadden us too! It directly opposes everything we stand for as its deceit craftily drives a wedge between us and our amazing Creator.
A Heavy Burden for People we Love
I believe that God has placed a heavy burden in the heart of each one of his people. Different burdens, of course, for different people. Some may have a strong desire to reach out to women who’ve had abortions. Some are brokenhearted & feel empathetic toward pregnant teens. Some have a burden for abused or neglected children. Some want to reach out to homosexuals. Some, like me, for prisoners…
If we have been given a burden for a people, then we gotta start expressing some anger. Not toward these people, but toward the sin that has affected their lives, whether they’re engaging in it or are they are affected by someone else’s sin. Let anger come out in prayer… or why not give in financial support for a cause to fight against suffering?!
See Sin for What it is – DEATH
We can’t just sit around & let sin infiltrate our lives! We can’t just let it continue to seep through the cracks of society and affect those we love. If we love them & they are open to truth in love, let’s keep them accountable. The Bible is clear: a sinful lifestyle’s price is death, even if you once professed Jesus as Lord. And God would have no one die. He wants all of us to be in constant self-examination, in a state of humble repentance, and have eternal life.
So if you’re pissed off about something you hear about or see on the evening news, don’t just sit & squirm in your overstuffed sofa. Don’t turn the channel. Listen to what bothers you and volunteer and pray for those people! God did not give you a burden for them for you to ignore it or become bitter. Not that everything that bothers you, you should have a burden for. But I’m thinkin’ we should all just ask God to reveal what it is – what certain sins or sinful lifestyles make us deeply sad – what cause will we uplift, what people will we support- and do it with a holy anger.
Ask for the courage to go out & turn some tables of your own.
How can anyone strive for holiness without love and compassion for everything in their world, including– especially!– the things they disagree with? Hate is anathema, the ultimate source of violence and pain. Feeling fired up and self-righteous may be exciting, but it’s in that state that people commit the worst evils of all.
Oh, and if ‘reaching out to homosexuals’ involves telling them you’re angry about what they’ve been putting where with other consenting adults behind closed doors in their private lives… just give it a rest, it’s none of your business.
My main point is that for every virtue, there must be an opposing stance. If God is a loving God, that means there must be things he has hatred for. The Bible states many times the things which He hates or “abhors” or finds detestable. We can strive for holiness, love & compassion and hate sin at the same time. Being self righteous is a sin that we should all be very careful about, as Jesus spoke fervently against this so often regarding the Pharisees. In now way do I think I am better or more righteous than anyone else, but because of Christ’s blood shed for me on the cross, because he did this for me and is alive today, I can live in more freedom than others who are bound by the sin they are in. The Bible is clear that we are not hate the person, but hate the action – hate the sin that has much potential to destroy their lives. That is how I feel about homosexuality, along with every other kind of sin, that if done as a lifestyle, will most definitely lead to eternal separation from God…and a life here on earth that is one without his freedom and blessings. My heart hurts for them. I am not angry at them, but my heart hurts for what will become of them if they do not recognize sin for what it is, or God for the love and kindness he has toward them, which leads us all to repentance.