We must guard ourselves against judgmentalism. Sometimes our theological knowledge, personal beliefs, political platforms, and willful blindness of our own sins emboldens us to portray a spirit of condemnation, rather than salvation, on those of which we disagree. It is true we need to urge others to repent of their sins. We must, however, must be willing to repent first.
Although, urging one to repent does nothing if we do not bring them to Christ first. The apostle Paul makes it clear that the foundation of our evangelization should be grounded in the love of Christ. If we do not introduce them to Christ first, then they will not be interested in repentance. Without the Savior there is no salvation. Without the love of Christ there is no Savior.
“When I came to you, brothers, proclaiming the mystery of God, I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom. First, I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (I Cor. 2:1-2)
Most of the time there is a condemnation of sin and call for repentance without first proclaiming the love of Christ that put him on the cross. Jesus never condemned the sinner without first showing them love. The only one he condemned prior to showing love are the religious elites. We must take care so as not to become too theologically minded and arrogant that we place ourselves on our own pedestal and look down upon others in the bondage of sin.
Your sin put Jesus on the cross just like the sins of others. We should take care to not only condemn the sins that make us uncomfortable, but we should condemn all sins. We cannot condemn sexual immorality without condemning pornography and adultery. We cannot condemn abortion as murder without condemning hatred. We cannot condemn only those sins that are visible or political without condemning our own personal sins that hide in the dark crevices of our soul under the cover of our roof. Jesus emphasizes this demand when he is brought the woman caught in adultery. The scribes and Pharisees (‘religious elite’) brought a woman who had been caught in adultery to Jesus. It was a way to test him. In Leviticus and Deuteronomy (Law of Moses), they were commanded that a woman caught in adultery was to be stoned to death. They were all too eager to stone her since adultery was apparently not a sin for which they themselves were guilty. Jesus does something that was unexpected. He shows love before condemnation. Love preceded condemnation. A call for repentance and conversion followed love and mercy.
“But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7)
“Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She replied, ‘No one, sir.’ Then Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from no on do not sin anymore.” (John 8:10-11)
If we are to bring others to repentance, then we must first bring them to the Savior. If we are to bring them to the Savior, then we must do it through the love of the sacrificial lamb on the cross. If we are to do it through the sacrificial lamb’s love, then we must do it through more than words. We must do it through actions. We cannot bring someone to repentance without repenting ourselves. We cannot introduce someone to the love of Christ without knowing it ourselves. If we are to point the vision of others to the life-changing love on Calvary, then we must first live as if that love has changed us. If you want a change in the world, then first live the change you desire for the world. Before you preach it, live it.