If one were to make a generalized assumption about another for spending time with a sinner (such as an alcoholic or stripper) then one would have fallen short-sited and forgotten what this entire issue is all about; fish seeking. So in generality, if we are remaining stagnant in our own opinions without going and "doing" the gospel, then we need to question ourselves and realize that we are the sinner; not them. We know the truth and are therefore held accountable to spread it. I love how Todd White puts it; "I'm free from me, which makes me free from you". Only then can we completely accomplish something. Everything else is a waste of time and not subject to public approval.
As discussed in the lecture about those who are caught in the same sin, "habitually doing it over and over again" My heart burns for them. They have lost their way and want to gain it back again. However, their hearts and their minds are so hurt. They can't see anything up because they have not received everything they need as a human being yet. These are the ones we need to reach out to show esteem and belonging just the way they were made. "Love them where they are at" is a good saying. These are the ones who will come hungry wanting more and more once it's felt. The Lord is the one who convicts them on the issue, not us. The lost the broken, the hurting and the dying are ready to receive the answers. Only with the living springs of water can one truly find the heavenly presence within to heal. God's love, accessed through praise and worship is key. This is truly amazing, and especially powerful within a church who is truly on fire for God.
One thing about sin is that it does have a way of eating us alive in our consciousness (individually speaking). However, what needs to be addressed is the sincerity of the heart of the internal intent of the individual. So in retrospect, "image-bearers who sin" comes to play. Erickson goes on to discuss; " Sin has a very serious consequence and when it comes to the relationship between the sinner and God. This will always result in guilt, punishment, and death."
However, I believe this can be taken out of context. When one is experiencing this, they realize there is still much good in a believer, despite what others may think. Even in a sinner, "there is still much good". So this is not truly a death sentence administered for application by any member in the body of believers. People have their entire lives to live accordingly, some just might not make it there yet. Give them time and let them come willingly, in freedom. I even just had a conversation with a woman about her belief that people who died sooner than later had the chance to do it all over again. Specifically because they were not ready yet. So if another life span does the trick then why not?
The Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (Samuel 16:10)
“I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” (Jeremiah 17:10)
"Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart." (Provers 21:2)
What one may feel is a sin in one regard, may be something totally different to another. Also, those who are loved much then much is forgiven. I've experienced the complete compassion of a saint in certain situations, however been totally accused of the opposite in the aftermath. Those who are not on your same wave length or playing field have not reached this heavenly perception yet of what the gospal is all about. It's moving, quickly, and we have to hear what the spirit is saying to jump on board with it. This is how satan works and will rip the body of believers apart without true understanding. One thing I have noticed is that it's a catch 22. So if one is trying to fulfill a heavenly purpose in one regards, there tends to be an equal and opposite reaction with the other. It's an automatic pull/ political assumption/ or even prayer against what someone else is trying to accomplish with theirs. Without full wisdom of the entire situation at hand, one should never presume. Where man is, there also will opinion be.
One thing I have witnessed in the religionized and stagnant church mentality; people tend to grow hard towards others whose lives are not so perfect. However, this is exactly opposite of the mentality that Jesus took; he sincerely cared for those who were in deep sin. When one looks at the intent of the heart for spending time with these individuals and building a relationship with them, then one clearly knows what God's heart is. I am a full-time social worker and I have seen the worst of the worst come to Jesus. Maslow's Hierarchy of needs is precisely what's been lost. People lack the primary needs for full wellbeing;
Firstly; safety, water, food, shelter.
Secondly; esteem and belonging (community and family)
Thirdly; self-actualization (knowing whose they are and fulfilling their true intent on earth )
Simply by responding to a harsh rebuke with softness and humility, can angry people become healed. I've worked with murderers and threatening individuals before. By keeping our hearts and mind in heavenly realms can we be poised to show love towards others, despite any negativity. Angry and hurting people tend to the same to others. Which is why most of these people fall into sin; to cover a hurt as a way of dealing. This is why it is very important to respond in love, no matter how amplified the individual comes at you, you are to remain in full control of your own internal thoughts, behaviors and actions. YOU are the one that is responsible for showing them who Christ truly is. We shall know them by their love... Only this can then show them how to live a better way as sheep; gently and easily. One day at a time.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Co 13:1–3). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.