Don’t you hate it when someone misquotes you or quotes you, but misrepresents what you meant? I’m sure that Jesus feels the same way. And when it happens to Him, we can be certain that He didn’t say anything wrong to cause the misquote or misrepresentation.
Example #1- John 8:1-11
Especially in our modern culture, this event from the life of Jesus may be one of the most popular of all. It is the occasion when a group of hard-hearted, lying Pharisees and priests use a woman to set a trap for discrediting Jesus. As always He saw through their trap and their lies and turned the tables back on them. “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Even these hypocrites saw their sin and walked away. Then the only person there who was “without sin” said, “Then neither do I condemn you.” No stone from Jesus.
That is where the misrepresentation happens almost all the time by preachers, teachers, Christians and non-Christians. This is the story where usually only the compassion and forgiveness of Jesus is emphasized or even mentioned. In fact, most people walk away believing that Jesus, out of His love for her, just overlooked her adultery. This story is used to challenge Christians to take a soft line, or no line at all, with homosexuality, transgenders, abortion, adultery, pre-marital sex, etc. Christians are supposed to take a soft line because Jesus did. AND THAT’S A BIG FAT LIE!
Jesus ended their encounter with, “Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’ ”
Jesus called her adultery SIN and then He told her (not asked her) to STOP living that way. Does that sound like a “soft line” with SIN? Not hardly. Believers need to STOP misrepresenting Jesus. Does He love sinners? ABSOLUTELY! Will He tolerate their SIN? NOPE! No repentance, no forgiveness. Repentance = forgiveness.
Example #2 – Matthew 7:1-2
How often have your heard the words, “You don’t have a right to call what I do sin because Jesus told you DON’T JUDGE So stop judging.” Did Jesus say the words DON’T JUDGE? Let’s see. In Mt 7:1 Jesus said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” So, yes, He did say the words, “Do not judge”, but then He spent 4.5 verses explaining what He meant. Why? Because He knew how His words would be misused by everyone, believers and unbelievers alike.
He first explains that those who do judge someone concerning their sin, will be judged in the same way. If you confront someone about their lying, then God will examine you closely to see if you are a liar also.
Then He clarifies His meaning by saying, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from the other person’s eye.” He isn’t saying not to talk to someone about the sin/speck in their life, but to examine yourself for your sins first, “then you will see clearly to remove the speck/sin from the other person’s eye.” You see, confronting a fellow believer concerning sin in their life is scriptural (Gal 6:1; Mt 18:15-18; Ja 5:19-20; 1 Jn 5:16; Jude 22-23) However, only for those who have examined themselves first.
Conclusion? Don’t misrepresent Jesus. Know what He says and know what He means. Then represent Him accurately. God bless.
Mike Sublett is a pastor at Hi-Land Christian Church, 1615 N. Banks St., Pampa, Texas 79065. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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