To my beautiful Christian friends who feel so passionately about sin. I love you. And I get it. God hates sin and so should we. He feels so strongly about it and wanted so much to save us from it that He sent His son to die for us.

I love that you know that, feel that and want to share that. It’s an important truth to tell, and the realization that we need Jesus to do that for us is the whole point of the gospel.

We need to seek good. We need to put aside our old selves. We need to proclaim the good news.

But.

In your zest for condemning sin, have you ever thought the message you are sending is doing more harm than good?

When you sit in your Bible studies, around the table, or in your office building, do you think about the words you are using and wonder what those in the room are hearing? When you rush to point out and label sins, are you accidentally damaging the very people you seek to reach?

That person next to you, that person whose story you don’t know, may be hearing, “ . . . except for you.”

Jesus loves us . . . except for you.

His blood has redeemed us . . . except for you.

We are forgiven . . . except for you.

That woman who was once a scared 16-year-old girl who made a choice, she hears she isn’t loved.

That man who has struggled with sexual sin since he was young, he hears he can’t be redeemed.

That woman who has prayed and fought and wrestled with pornography in her marriage, she hears she’s not forgiven. Not worthy. Not worth it. Not included.

I’m not here to debate whether things are sin or not. I think we all know where we stand on those issues, and nothing I say or don’t say will likely change your mind. I am also not suggesting we sweep sin under the table and never speak of it. Sin is a serious problem, and we need to take it seriously.

However, I want to remind you, in these days of political polarization and sweeping policy statements, that behind every issue is a person. And every person has a story.

They have done things, made choices and had choices taken from them. They have overcome obstacles and been forced to make decisions between something bad and something worse. They may be sitting in the chair next to you in church, desperately wanting to believe Jesus really did come for them.

I was recently reminded of that children’s rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

The truth is, though, words can hurt. They can and do provide either hurt or healing. Words can do more lasting damage than even the biggest stick, or they can offer a lifeline to someone drowning in loneliness.

At the core of things, we are all the same. We are all seeking love. We are all searching for the hope Jesus offers.

Don’t let the words you use take that hope away. Instead, let your words speak life into someone’s life. Use your words to build relationships, to learn stories and to provide hope.

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Sandra Samoska

Sandra Samoska is a stay at home wife and mom of four beautiful children. She enjoys writing about her faith, family, and how her family has grown her faith on her blog Outnumbered. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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