So Jesus doesn’t condone the sin, but He also doesn’t condemn the sinner. He is the only One who can rightly condemn, and yet he offers overwhelming, astonishing grace to all of us.
While many Christians are out condemning sinners, Jesus did the opposite—He gave His very life to bear sinners’ sin and condemnation on the cross—he showed us how to treat sinners.
3. But Jesus didn’t hide the truth about sinners.
Some conclude Jesus was only gentle with sinners (and he often was) but we must also remember there were times when his hard teachings caused great crowds to leave in droves (John 6:60-68).
Jesus was clear about the truth, even when it was not popular, and even when it caused crowds to scatter. He wasn’t just trying to build a large following—He was on a mission to share both truth and love in profound ways, ways that still shake the world today.
Keep in mind that the crowd didn’t scatter because Jesus was rude and judgmental. If our attitude or anger turns people away from Jesus, we are dead wrong.
However, there are times to share truth gently and respectfully (1 Peter 3:15), but stand for it nonetheless. Even though sometimes the world will hate us for it (John 15:18; Matthew 10:22; John 3:19-21).
There is a time to warn people, even non-Christians, against the deadly effects of the ways of this world (see Ezekiel 3:18; Acts 20:26-27). Although mainly we should focus on preaching the hope and truth of the gospel—because only the gospel can change hard hearts—it is the only thing that worked for us.
When it comes to how to treat sinners, we need both gentleness and holy truth. We can’t be afraid to be clear about Christ’s truth. It makes me sad when Christian leaders, or Christians in general, won’t admit to the truth of God’s Word simply because it is unpopular in culture and might turn people off. There may be times when the crowds leave us too, as they did for Jesus, and only those true remain.
We shouldn’t be surprised by times of declining Christianity—if the crowds left our Lord Jesus because of hard teachings, there are bound to be times like this for us too. Even in America.
So, when it comes to how to treat sinners, no more angry judging. Offer overwhelming, astonishing mercy to sinners. But don’t hide the truth or be afraid of the crowds scattering.