In-Sight: Lifted Up, Not Beaten Up

     A reading of the writings of the early desert fathers and mothers reveals their outright refusal to condemn another person.  They did not do this because they felt sin did not matter, but rather because they did not feel someone else’s sin was worse than their own.
    To them, condemnation was a form of self-righteousness, that is, a conclusion that they were superior to the other person.  They could not bring themselves to do this when their starting point was, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
    Instead of condemnation, they offered compassion, and encouragement toward confession, so that the fallen brother or sister could find the healing grace of God.  The sinning friend felt “lifted up” rather than “beaten up” by this approach. 

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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