Q. When the Holy Spirit convicts a person of one of their “multiple” sins and repentance follows to the point of not doing it anymore (removing the plank from one’s own eye), and out of a true heart of wanting others to do the same (on any given sin), how does a person come across as “graceful” without sounding like a Pharisee or too much like the “letter of the law”?
Seems like I get convicted by the Holy Spirit all the time of sounding like a “lawman” rather than a “spiritual” man. Even though Jesus gave us the new commandent of “love God and love your neighbor”, the NT is still filled with “do’s and don’ts” that sound a lot like laws. I don’t believe they are true written laws but are used to identify the means of fighting the flesh.
I’m finding this is probably my biggest and most fought struggle, trying to speak the language of “Grace!” without being thought of as a “better than thou” type person. And I don’t just go up to a person and say “hey you need to quit doing that”. I do try and find more subtle ways but seem to always end up in “lawman” mode.
A. You didn’t say whether you’re dealing with believers or unbelievers here. Either way, remember Romans 2:4. It’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. Conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit. It begins after salvation and He doesn’t need our help. The word Gospel means Good News and the Good News is that Jesus didn’t die so that bad men could become good. He died so that dead men could live.
The so-called laws in the New Testament are meant to describe the kind of life the Lord wants believers to live to demonstrate our gratitude for the free gift of salvation. If they’re not obeyed with that motive in mind, they’re better not obeyed at all. If they are obeyed with that motive, they’ll be accompanied by all kinds of blessings.
So if you’re talking with unbelievers, focus on the free gift of eternal life in Heaven. If it’s believers, leave the work of conviction to the Holy Spirit, and focus on the blessings that accompany a victorious life on Earth.