I work for a plumbing, heating and pipe-joining systems manufacturer. It’s actually a really great company, and I really enjoy my work (even though it does tend to stress me out a lot of the time, but most of that is just my failing to deal with it properly). My company, Viega (pronounced VEE-guh), is honestly a pretty unique place. Once of their claims to fame is that they hold themselves to a high standard of quality in manufacturing. And, although I’ve never visited the manufacturing plants in Germany, I have seen the one in McPherson, KS, and it really is pretty incredible. Everything has a place, and everyone knows what they’re doing. And it’s so clean most of the time you could eat off the floors.
The are passionate about plumbing, which sounds really strange, but it’s true. They are devoted to quality assurance and making sure that customers get the very best products possible. I know, I know. I sound like I work in their marketing department . . . well . . . I do. =)
But when I read the verse of the day this morning, I actually thought about Viega and their high standards of quality.
Now, maybe this is a stretch, but hear me out.
As a followers of Christ, we are supposed to live a life above reproach. We are supposed to hold ourselves to a different standard than other people who don’t believe the same way. Now, does that make us better than them? Absolutely not. All people are 100 percent equal in God’s eyes. None of us are good enough to get into heaven without Jesus’ help. But those of us who have chosen to follow Christ — who claim to be Christians — we know right from wrong, we have the power of God in our lives, and we are expected to live life the way Jesus did.
So what happens when we screw up?
It does happen, you know. A good example? If you read this blog with any consistency, you know I truly struggle with my temper against bad drivers. I just have no patience for them. Well, I don’t know what happened yesterday, but I was turning right on Maize road at Kellogg (it was near 5pm; that was my first mistake). And I waited until all the traffic turning off Kellogg had gone past, and I didn’t see anybody coming so I went. But apparently the light had turned green and the traffic from Maize on the other side of Kellogg was closing in. There was a black truck heading straight for me. So I stayed in the merge lane until he passed and jumped in right after him, flooring the gas pedal. Unfortunately, it was a little closer than I like to push it, and I might have caused the driver of the white car behind me a slight bit of distress. . . .which he gestured quite abundantly in my rearview mirror, though he didn’t even need to hit his brakes. (I felt bad about it . . . and then he swerved around me and tailgated other people in the left-hand lane until he turned off on 21st and then I didn’t feel so bad because he was obviously an impatient driver anyway . . . but that’s probably rationalizing).
So even I, who have a terrible attitude about bad drivers in Wichita, can accidentally pull out in front of somebody sometime.Everybody screws up.
What do we do?
13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
As believers, we are held to a higher standard of life. We are expected to live a life that is as blameless as possible so that we can bring glory to God, but God knows we’re not perfect. And God knows that at the moment, every believer has two natures — the redeemed nature and the old black sin nature that drags us down and tempts us to sin.
We have to recognize that people sin. And we have to realize that other Christians sin. And while we are never to condone it, we also need to expect it to a certain extent. Not expect it as in, “eagerly anticipate the day when So-And-So will make a terrible mistake and commit some kind of attrocity.” No. Just understand that everyone sins. And when a Christian makes a mistake, don’t hold it against them. Forgive them. I guarantee that whatever they’ve done isn’t as bad as what you’ve done.
And half the time, you don’t even know what’s going on. You may perceive something as a sin, and it might not be. After all, we’re not the ones to judge sin. The Bible is.
It’s our job to love. That means forgiving people. That means understanding that although we believers ought to live a life above reproach, there are moments in every Christian’s life when we will be less than perfect.
However, there’s a big difference between sinning once and repenting (which is just a fancy religious word for being truly sorry and purposing never to do it again) and sinning repeatedly. Repeated sin is rebellion, especially when it’s coming from a Christian who knows better. And that’s a different topic altogether.
But, Christians, we all need to get along. We’re family, after all. And we’re going to spend eternity together. So when your brother or sister makes a mistake, don’t be so hard on them. Don’t lecture them on what they’ve done wrong. Don’t keep bringing it up time and time again. Don’t hold it over their head, and don’t put them on guilt trips about it. Just forgive them. Then do your best to forget it and keep loving them. Encourage them. Help them. Hold them up. Build them up.
I guarantee that sort of response will be more beneficial than a lecture anyway.