Why are we surprised when we see lost people defy God? Some of us react to them with anger when they sin without remorse, like we can’t believe what they are doing. Don’t we know that they are enslaved by their flesh and selfish desires? They steal, lie, commit abominations and murder and teach others to do the same because they are blindfolded and bound in locked chains without the key. Following the broad path of voices they hear, they cannot see any other path. Blind and bound is all they have ever known, so they don’t recognize their condition. They don’t know where the path before them leads. We forget that they have no means on their own to break free, and their fate (without intervention) is worse than our imaginations can speculate.

We stand on the narrow path holding the keys in our hands angrily saying or screaming, “Stop what you are doing! You are hurting people!” We complain and lament their actions and even ask, “Why can’t they see how awful they are being?” It is as if we don’t recognize the blindfold and chains.

There is no value in getting angry and attacking them for what they do and teach because our anger will not correct them, teach them or save them. There we are holding the keys in our hands….Don’t we recall the day our blindfolds and chains were removed? Have we forgotten the path that we were on? Even though our blindfolds have been removed, we aren’t seeing that their path ends at a place of suffering. All the descriptive words in the world will not reveal what lies before them. The punishments we may wish for them and more will be poured out on them if we don’t walk over with the key.

Our hearts should have fear for them as they walk to their destruction. Yes, we have a duty to protect the weak and innocent, but our primary response to the person who acts with evil should be compassion. We can have compassion for their souls without condoning their behavior. Compassion starts by understanding that without Christ, we were on the same path. We committed the same violence, stood in opposition to God and were His enemies. Have we forgotten who we were before Christ? Have we never accepted that we shared the same future until someone loved us enough to tell us about the key that released our chains of bondage?

God has chosen to work through us to reach and teach each other. The key we hold is the knowledge and reliance on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. His death on the cross is so we do not have to be on the road to destruction. Some may reject the key and call you arrogant and foolish. Maybe they need some time to accept that they are blindfolded, bound and on the wrong path. What is not helpful is focusing on the sinfulness. Without the key, even if they changed their minds and corrected their behavior, they would still be on the wrong path. Behavior is not the ultimate problem; it is that they need a Savior.

We can stand for truth, but truth without love is pointless.