Friday, August 17, 2007

Should We Hold Non-Christians Accountable?

Mark, over at Hot Coffee, asks "Should Christians hold non-Christians Accountable?", should we hold them to the Christian standard of living?

Good question! Tough to answer!!! I started posting a comment, then my comment ran so long, I decided to post it here instead, so as to not monopolize Mark's comment box and also to keep things going on around here.

Here's my response:

We can't expect non-believers to live up to the same standard expected of Christians. Marcie's example about feeding an infant is a good one.
We don't give an infant a plate with real food on it and expect them to eat it. Why do we expect non-believers to hold to the principles that believers do? They don't have the same tools. They don't have Christ in their hearts, they aren't submitting their life daily to God's will.

There are however certain things, BIG things, we do need to hold non-believers accountable for, and most governments do, and is accepted by the majority of humankind: One would be murder. God says "Do not murder" and we punish those who do.Handcuffs

Human's recognize how detrimental the act of murder is on society, therefore it is unacceptable to humans as it is to God.

Even though murder is considered wrong by most, and murderers are punished...there are those who seek to make that all relative. Consider the terrorist, murder to them is not considered murder at all, but a kind of ritual. The sanctity of life just doesn't exist for them, not for their own life, and not for the lives of innocents.

We have the same issue with abortionists. I wonder sometimes why we have a government adamant about fighting terrorism, but not so much about fighting those who bring terror to the womb?

Most humans, Christian or not, believe marriage to be between male and female. Unfortunately, a minority of people are raising such a ruckus, people are starting to get confused (satan) and the whole homosexuality thing is getting way more attention than it should have. I think the majority of humans also recognize that homosexuality is, like murder, detrimental to society as a whole and that is why throughout human history, it has been unaccepted by society as a whole. There would be plenty on non-Christians voting to ban homosexual marriage. I don't think the marriage amendment is so much about holding non-believers to God's standard, but rather protecting the marital union and society in general. One could also say that pornography, which by the way is a huge issue in the church these days, and even worse, child-pornography, is also detrimental to society, and to marriage. Most non-believers would even agree to that which is why there are secular laws on the books that forbid it.

One could actually argue that marriage, and the ceremony around that, is holding people to the standard of a Judeo-Christian tradition and belief. Marriage is representative of Christ's devotion and love for His Bride, the Church, so, if we aren't holding non-believers to God's standard, why do people marry anyway?

Since I now live my life as a Christian, I have a totally different worldview. I can remember listening to certain songs back in the day and I loved them. I'd sing them at the top of my lungs, and when they come on the radio today (which rarely happens because I don't listen to much secular music radio ever anymore) and I start singing along, I can't believe my ears! (Not because I sing bad) but because of what I'm saying! The other day I was rocking out to an AC/DC song and was like WHOA! I was "editing" out all the BAD stuff and found myself singing very little! Totally unacceptable to be listening to it, but before I was a Christian, there was absolutely NO conviction whatsoever.

Television...I don't pay for cable, so I get WBBJ (local ABC affiliate), that's it. Most of what is on TV is so bad it is ridiculous. We watch DVDs of old wholesome shows like The Walton's, Little House on theAlert for children Prairie, and some other things like M*A*S*H and the Dick Van Dyke Show, but one day we popped in Doogie Houser MD. I remember liking that show back then, but now, I can't even watch it for all the sex talk! It is sooooo inappropriate and I never even noticed that in my non-Christian days and would have resented someone telling me it was bad. I went and traded it in for something much better.

God sees consequences for certain behavior and therefore gives us standards to live by that will keep us happy, healthy and safe. Like a parent setting rules for children to live by: "Don't play in the street". Parent's know what could happen if the child disobeys, but the kids don't see it that way, they see it as an infringement on their "fun".

I think that as believers, we have learned to better see things as God does...not perfectly like He does, who can, but with more discernment. We do see the consequences of certain things and therefore are obligated to protect fellow man...through punishment for crime, and/or through laws like banning homosexual marriage. God's Law was written for the Isrealites to protect them and teach them how to live, now we Christians have the Holy Spirit writing God's Law on our hearts. We know that a man reaps what he sows, and we can see one reaping destruction. We should do what we can to keep that from happening. This is doing good for all people (Galatians 6)...even though it is not seen that way to the non-believer, neither is the punishment for the child who played in the street.

To turn the tables a bit, I would also like to offer this does the Bible teach us to treat believers when they fall into sin and refuse to let it go?
Matthew 18:17
"If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector."
This verse speaks volumes to me about a believer who is behaving as a non-believer. We are instructed to do what we can to bring a believer back into fellowship, but if the efforts fail, we are to treat that person as a pagan...a non-believer. This doesn't mean shun, this means treat with mercy, compassion and love, but the brother/sister relationship is invalid until that person is restored to fellowship, by recommitting to his/her relationship with the Lord.

So, yes, we should hold them accountable and treat them as a pagan, with mercy, compassion and love. This is hating the sin and loving the sinner.


  1. Wow, this is some of the most ignorant demoic stuff I've ever read. If you are the example of a Christian then I would choose to renounce Christ and turn away from any believers such as yourself. Way to go Sister, with believers like you we don't need a devil...

  2. Sorry you find it "ignorant" and "demoic", could you give me an example of what it is you have a problem with here?