Too Busy Straining The Gnat To Notice The Camel?

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence."
Matthew 23:23-25

This message needs to be taken with a grain of salt due to the emotionally charged state of the internet right now. Just so we're clear from the beginning, this has absolutely nothing to do with the recent presidential election. This is actually a message God has put on my heart a while ago, but other messages were already in queue.

I don't know about you, but my facebook feed is filled with Christians who make very strongly-worded posts regarding personal convictions. This is fine until they start making condemning conclusions about anyone who disagrees with them. If I had a dollar for every time a Christian made the accusation of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit to another Christian, I could pay off my student loans lickety-split! Keep in mind that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is considered the only unforgivable sin.

If every accusation were true, then every Christian is in constant danger of hellfire if they:

  • Are Calvinist

  • Are Arminianist

  • Vote Democrat

  • Vote Republican

  • Vote 3rd party (because it's actually voting for the "other guy")

  • Listen to worldly music

  • Listen to contemporary Christian music

  • Dress up for Halloween

  • Put up a Christmas tree

  • Call it "Easter"

  • Go on Easter egg hunts

  • Use the NIV Bible

  • Work on Saturday

  • Go to church on Sunday

For the sake of my brothers and sisters in the Lord who hold some of these convictions very dearly, let me clarify that there is a difference between being convicted about something and condemning all those around you. If you hold convictions about any of these issues, please know that I'm not making fun of you. I'm only pointing out how people will accuse others of not being Christian if they do these things.

With all of those things in mind, it sounds like either blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is super easy, people missed the point of what it is, or they have an agenda to push onto people. I'll give you a hint, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit isn't that easy, otherwise every Christian who ever sinned after salvation has been condemned without chance of redemption even while they live.

What people are doing when they say things like that is a pharisee-like practice called "straining a gnat" which is when you cast doubt on a Christian regarding their salvation. Sadly, it's a practice widely used by cult groups to draw in their victims. The pharisees would go to great lengths to make sure no unclean thing ever entered their presence, even to the point of gagging themselves if a gnat fell into their beverage. To prevent that, they would strain their drinks before sipping. The reason Jesus used the expression and added the swallowing the camel is that the Pharisees were so busy looking at the small things that they neglected the much more serious things.

What serious things are we neglecting when we squabble about personal convictions? For one thing, to tell someone they're going to hell without chance of forgiveness here on earth despite being saved will have a very negative impact on their spiritual growth. Christians don't grow when they're worrying themselves sick over what music they listen to or who they vote for. If it's a serious issue and they're born again, love them and be a good godly example to them and God will work in their heart if it needs to be worked on. If they don't change, yet you're loving them and they're born again, don't cast doubt in their minds regarding their salvation.

Another thing, more importantly, is we neglect our most sacred task of sharing the Gospel with those who don't have Jesus when we war with each other over small issues. People are dying without Jesus, and as a result are ending up in hell. Yeah, that's a serious issue! Is an argument over music preferences or Bible translations really worth the souls who are lost in the meantime? So ask yourself, is being right so important that you're willing to allow the unsaved to burn in hell? Is being right so important that you're willing to destroy friendships that God made for you?

If the answer is no, then you need to let it go. We as Christians need to go back and take a look at what really matters. If we truly understand what matters, then we can spend more of our time and energy building each other up in the Lord and reaching the world for Jesus.

"Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one."

Colossians 4:6

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