Don’t you feel guilty telling young people they have sinned?


When you look over these posts and see how miserable and guilty the children that you advise feel about their "sins," don't you regret the way you teach? God loves us all no matter what mistakes we make and it would be nice to find some Christians who teach the love and not the wrath. Unless the reader can read and clearly understand Hebrew, Arabic [sic.] and many of the other languages of the original Bible, I think it is almost hypocritical to spread guilt based on third and fourth level translations. I don't mean to criticize and I definitely respect what you are doing, I think it's great trying to help young men and women with their most intimate of problems, but maybe sometimes the answer shouldn't just be 'you've sinned, you're making up excuses.' It's clear that some people have justified pre-marital sex in their own lives and you will likely be unable to change that, but your practical advice on what actions to take, should they continue their ways, I'm sure would be much more valuable to them than judging them. It's not our place to judge or dictate who has the rights of passage into our father's kingdom. Although I don't expect it to, I will pray that my wisdom has a flicker on your thoughts.


[The advice being referred to can be found in the Question and Answer sections of Growing Up in the Lord: A Study for Teenage Boys and Growing Up in the Lord: A Study for Teenage Girls.]

I find your letter fascinating. You "don't mean to criticize" but that is exactly what you are doing, and I freely admit that it is what I am doing in response. You state "It's not our place to judge" while you deliver judgment on the advice I give from the Bible. Tell me, who is putting on the act (the definition of "hypocrite"), you or me?

My job as a preacher is to help people out of sin, not to make them feel comfortable while they sin. As Ezekiel was told, "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless, if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul" (Ezekiel 3:17-21).

Obviously you don't believe in the concept of sin since you placed the word in quotes. You don't accept the fact that some actions are wrong and harmful both to the individual and to society. Yet you simultaneously take the book that teaches about forgoing sin and try to justify tolerance of sin. How disgusting.

You stated, "God loves us no matter what mistakes we make." Just can't bring yourself to say "sin," can you? But even so, the statement is false. "Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off" (Romans 11:22). God has a great love for us in that He has done more than we could justifiably expect to save us from our sins, but when a person rejects salvation and prefers to stay in his sins, well, "The LORD tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain coals; fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup. For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright" (Psalms 11:5-7).

It probably hasn't occurred to you, but the reason many people write to me is that their sins are making them feel guilty. They know deep down inside that what they are doing is wrong, but it is so muddled in their minds, they have a hard time separating truth from falsehood. I don't spread guilt. It is already there. I help people see where the problem lies. I help them see the sin clearly so that they can take the appropriate steps to remove it from their lives. Then, when the problem is resolved and the weight of sin is lifted from their shoulders, they see that life can be much happier than they suspected. The judgments aren't mine. I point people to what God has judged to be right and wrong and tell them they need to conform their lives to God's judgment.

You, however, want people to stay in their sins. You want to sweep the dirt under the rug and pretend the house is clean. Yet the truth is that the dirt remains, and the soothing words you want to offer are only temporary. Do you not realize how angry God is with people like you? "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known of God is revealed in them, for God revealed it to them" (Romans 1:18-19).

Take a look at the judgment God brought on Israel, "Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as if with a cart rope; that say, "Let Him make speed and hasten His work, that we may see it; and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near and come, that we may know it." Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe to men mighty at drinking wine, woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink, who justify the wicked for a bribe, and take away justice from the righteous man! Therefore, as the fire devours the stubble, and the flame consumes the chaff, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom will ascend like dust; because they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel" (Isaiah 5:18-24).

Finally, your disbelief in the Bible is well illustrated by your lack of knowledge concerning it. The Old Testament contains Hebrews and Aramaic. The New Testament is mostly Greek and a little bit of Aramaic. There is no Arabic in the Bible. The Bibles we have today are direct translations from the original languages. They are not three or four levels away as you wish to claim. But I understand why you want to state such a falsehood. You want to believe that the Bible is hard to understand and even if it could be understood, you want to believe that it isn't what was originally stated. Only then can you justify to yourself that the Bible can be mostly ignored as a fable and that you can do as you please -- making up your own rules and condemning others for not following your "wisdom." Of course, your world view is built out of cards. It has no foundation and doesn't stand the test of time. Kind as your offer might have been given, I will stay with the Rock. "Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, "The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone," and "A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense." They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed" (I Peter 2:7-8).

I don't feel guilty, I'm honored that people ask me to help them apply God's holy book to their lives.

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