We Christians can often get sucked into the legalism of "doing the right thing" or "doing things right" or... "doing things in the right order".
Now just to calm the fervor of all the uptight legalistic Christians and the people who follow the religion of Atheism that will inevitably come frothing at the mouth at me for this post. I'll state plainly three things:
- Sin is still sin
- My opinion is imperfect, because I am human
- You opinion is imperfect, because you're human
Awesome, now that we've gotten that out of the way.
I'll use an example everyone can connect with. Romantic relationships. There is definitely a Godly way to go about how you go through that journey. There are right and wrong things to do before you are married. There is definitely a right order of events.
However, why is that the end all be all of the story?
Why do we pressure everyone and their grandmother to do things "right"?
Now depending on how rigid you are as a person you will read that statement as either being about:
- The "right" things
- The fact that we pressure people
To be clear I am not talking about the "right" thing. And many people reading even this clarification will still be unable to see anything other than the "right" in my words. I am however talking about the pressure factor. Why are we sooo concerned with how everyone else is living their lives?
Especially people not asking for our opinions or our help!
Why does it matter if you do things in the wrong order? Yes of course there are paths for optimal outcomes. Yes of course there are consequences for sin whether we like to admit it or not. But why are we acting like if you do things in the wrong order everything is doomed? Or that you are a horrible failure as a Christian?
Not everyone is in the mental, emotional or life place where they can do things the "right" way!
God is not limited by us doing things the "right" way. Or in the "right" order. You can still be happy and blessed if you did things "wrong". And you can absolutely find peace, love, happiness and God's blessings if you also turn things around into the "right" in the end!
A great example is a couple I knew. They didn't start things right. They did things out of order. And when God called them out on it, they fixed it. They got married immediately, rather than continue to sin. Now people around them were concerned it happened too fast. And probably hundreds of other criticisms. But you know what? It's like almost 10 years later and they have a wonderful marriage. You see God didn't "punish" them for doing things in the wrong order. And he certainly has blessed them for making things right!
Good advice is always good advice. But bad timing is always bad timing.
Let's stop cramming "right" down people's throats and start loving people well. Some people just simply cannot do things "right" first. Some people because of their history cannot do things in the "right" order. Who cares?!? Really. Who freakin cares?!? Why are we so uptight and bent out of shape because of the choices of people who aren't even a part of our own lives?
Why do we not have compassion and grace for the people who are good people, loving people but have struggles and dysfunction that make it really really hard for them to make the right choice first?
Besides I know from personal experience that while I might be critical of one thing... I am often a walking double standard because I do something similar in another area of my life.
And besides, how certain are you that God doesn't intend to use that "wrong order" situation to bring Him glory and work good out of it like He literally says in Romans 8:28?
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."
Romans 8:28 ESV