“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.” (Jesus – Matthew 7:1)
One of the easiest things for Christians to do is to be judgmental.
It is easy, because we believe we are right (which may be true) – and because we think we are right, we conclude that we have the right to judge/condemn those who are “wrong.”
But, according to Jesus, being right does not give us the right to judge others.
It would be easy for us to conclude that because we have accepted God, and His ways, that one of our tasks should be to set the world straight… That it is our duty to show them the standards of God – then hold them to those standards. And if they don’t listen to us (to God) we are right to condemn their misguided rebellion.
If we really think about it, Jesus’ words about judging don’t seem quite right to us.
If Jesus is the way, the TRUTH, and the life – then those who reject Him, and His ways, should deserve to be judged… and condemned. Those who do wrong should be held to account for their wrongs – especially those who do terrible wrongs.
If we are not really careful, we can find ourselves more intent on seeing the “wrong” punished, than redeemed. Our hearts can become more consumed with “justice” than compassion. And we can begin thinking those feelings are right, as well.
But this is not the Heart of God.
How do we know that? Because Jesus said so:
Jesus came as the living demonstration of the Heart of God. He could have come and brought wrath and punishment with Him. But instead, everywhere He went, He had compassion and mercy as His only agenda – even for the guilty. Every person He encountered, He touched with the Heart of compassion and restoration.
He was love… unreservedly unleashed.
This is surprising because Jesus was pure and sinless. Of all people, He had every right to come and condemn those who were impure and sinful – but He didn’t.
Instead, He allowed Himself to be condemned and judged… in their place.
This tells us all we need to know about God, and His love for people – even people who just might be terrible human beings.
We forget that God did not come only for the “good” people of the earth. He came for the rancid souls that most people feel justified in despising… and hating.
That is the real arena of most of our problems as Christians. We spend so much of our time deciding who deserves our love and attention and (more importantly) who doesn’t. And, so often, we are not even aware that we are doing it.
It is so much easier to sit in our churches and cast a disdainful glance at those who are not with us – than it is to desire that they were.
And that is the problem. We are called to, first and foremost, represent the Heart of God – and when we judge and condemn the world, we have set ourselves up as god, passing out judgment on all those we deem as undeserving of mercy.
Our job, as God’s people, is to bring people into direct encounter with a God of infinite mercy and love. Especially those who may deserve His wrath.
And, oh yeah… the Bible tells us that ALL of us were those kind of people.
Prayer focus: God, open my eyes to see if I have a judgmental heart… and to fix my heart on being a living example of your unlimited mercy.