In the life of the church, there are a lot of things we want to get right. We want to be doctrinally sound. We must be biblical. We want to honor the Lord in our worship and with our lives. We certainly want to stand against error and sin.
But there is a failing that we can run into if we sharpen ourselves to oppose the wrong without also being made gentle by the grace of God. I think that error is something Jesus condemns the religious leadership of his day for in Matthew 23.
Matthew 23:4 – They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.
This is who we do not want to be. There are Christians who are great at burdening other people. Many of us are wonderful at telling you what you must not believe or what you must not do. Many of us are great at piling on other people guilt and man-made standards of righteousness. And when we do it, we often do so because we think we are helping the ministry by smacking others with the truth.
But the Savior does not seem to love the idea of loading people down with burdens if you are not also getting under that burden with them to help them move along. That kind of religion is not Christianity. True, biblical, Christ-honoring faith is a faith that will most certainly call people to faith and repentance and obedience to the word of God. But true Christianity is also a faith in which we love one another as brothers and sisters in Christ and where we all know that we are in this life together on purpose.
Christianity should include a relationship of fellowship, mutual edification, and progressive sanctification. You most certainly should help me know when I’m messing up or missing the point. I most certainly should call you away from error and toward truth. But in our lives, we should also be walking together, side-by-side, helping each other toward that faithfulness. I do not help you if all I do is smack you with the truth and walk away from you without helping you. You do not help me if you tell me all that I should be that I am not, but then you do not actually come help me become what God wants me to be. This is why Christianity is lived out in the local church and not solely on the Internet. We need each other. We need to be in each other’s lives. May we learn to press forward with truth, but never to press without grace too.