The Danger of Following Orders Given To Another

As servants of the Lord, as warriors, we are responsible for the orders given to us. I am not responsible for the orders that he gives to someone else, and they are not accountable for how I carry out my orders.

In Ephesians 5, the apostle gives specific commands to husbands and wives. It took me a couple of decades to realize that v22 was not written to me. I was cheating, eavesdropping on a private conversation if I even read that verse.

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” is clearly written to wives, not to husbands. It does NOT say, “Husbands, make sure your wives submit!” which is how many husbands have interpreted it, and which has led to immense sin in untold thousands of Christian homes.

It’s hard to acknowledge that the command doesn’t apply to me in any way, shape or form. There’s another command that is not given to me to obey. Let me explain.

As some have pointed out, “homosexuality is not acceptable in either the OT or NT.” That is clear. What it doesn’t say is “Condemn homosexuals,” and the church is finally figuring that out (thank God!). 

I observe that neither does the Word say, “Condemn homosexuality.” There is no such command for me to obey. We have (fairly glibly, I fear) spouted “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” but our application has been condemning. We say that we don’t condemn the person, but we condemn an aspect of their lives that they experience as an aspect of their character, who they are. Condemnation is also not in our commands. 

“Love homosexuals, hate homosexuality!” is perceived (how I meant it is completely irrelevant here) as if I were to declare to my daughter, “I love you as a person, but I hate the fact that you’re a woman.” It’s deeper and more powerful than shouting at Billy Graham, “I respect you as a person, but I reject evangelism.” Billy can no more stop being an evangelist than my daughter can stop being a woman.

Of course, we don’t reject women (any longer) or evangelists (mostly), but this is the conversation that we still have with the homosexual community. “I love you, but I hate who you are!” has functionally been our message. No wonder our message hasn't been heard.

There’s a second part to this conversation.

I’ve had people tell me how important it is that we warn them of their sin and the consequences thereof. (I observe that the vitriol with which they declare it disqualifies those very speakers from having any right to speak to the issue. We are commanded to approach people through love, NOT through compliance with the law as interpreted through us.)

So the question I have had to ask is this: Whose job is it to convict the world of sin? Whose job is it to convict the believer of sin? At what point does it become my job to convict you of your sin?

We could - and in my opinion, should - apply the answer equally: if we are called to convict the sinner of his sin, then the need to call out the sin of homosexuality is accompanied by the need to call out the sins of pride or gluttony, which are from my perspective more prevalent in our world than homosexuality.

Ironically, those who are willing to call out others’ sins but not their own are, by that choice, committing the sin of hypocrisy.

I’m NOT advocating “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” When we teach, we must teach the Word. We must teach that sin is real, and that it opens the door for hell to torment us. We must teach the way to freedom, which is NOT through obeying rules, not your rules, and not God’s rules. 

When we prophesy, we must prophesy the word of the Lord. We must prophesy hope. We must prophesy comfort, edification and encouragement. If we speak words that minister death or rejection, it is not the Spirit of the Lord that is speaking through us, but another spirit.  

Our call is to minister life, never “right and wrong.” We were specifically prohibited from eating of the “Tree of the knowledge of good and evil” in the very beginning. “It will bring death,” we were commanded. It still brings death.

The tree that we must eat from is the Tree of Life. The fruit we give to others must be from the Tree of Life.

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