It bothers me more when I see this judgment of others come from those who call themselves Christian. The Bible tell us in Matthew 7:1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged". When we look at people in certain situations or those who have made certain decisions and judge them, we too, will be called upon to be judged for the decisions we have made in the past. And it will not be humans judging us. Psalm 9:8 tells us "He rules the world in righteousness and judges the peoples with equity." Heaven help us if He chooses to judge us, for we will be found wanting.
While you read this you may question my statements for 2 Timothy 3:16 states "
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness". Indeed it does, but nowhere in there does it say to hate, turn from or turn away those who need the teaching, rebuking, correcting and training. Instead, Jesus tell us
"You may have heard 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
Do you know there is a book out there called "They Love Jesus, but They Hate the Church"? What does that tell us about our attitudes towards others? What are we showing people? Why is it that people who are outside the church feel like outcasts and scum? Because that is the image so many Christians are projecting.
Not me, though, right? I'm nice to everyone, contribute to charities, pray, and attend church. Now, I challenge you to take a look at your email, your Facebook, your Twitter, and even yourself as you watch the news. Did you pass on that "letter to the President"? Did you post that abortion is murder status? Did you hashtag gun control? Is there anything in your media that reflects the love and mercy of Christ?
Again, you may challenge me...you may say, April, those things (abortion, gays, women in the workplace, guns in the hands of every American) are wrong! Many of those things are clearly stated in the Bible. Now, I challenge you to think of the young lady who had been busted for adultery. The story is found in John 8:1-11:
At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Can you imagine how different the story would have been should He have called her a sinner and turned from her? Now imagine that sinner is you and He turned away from YOU? Wouldn't that defeat the purpose of His coming? And are we not to be Christ-like? 2 Corinthians 3:18 says (we)
"are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."
I write this today in the hopes that I will encourage all of us to pay more attention to our actions, spoken, written and bodily. Next time you think about posting something on Facebook, ask yourself does this reflect my love of Christ? Does it reflect mercy and grace? Would Jesus be proud of you or would He feel the need to remind you that "all of sinned and fallen short of the glory of God"?
I know it's hard...it's hard to tell people the truth but still love them. It's hard to see the sin and not turn away from the sinner. It's hard to be merciful when we really just want people to stop doing things that are such blatant sins in the eyes of God.
But if we turn people away with our "correction" and insistence in our righteousness, then we will loose people to the kingdom. Why should they want anything to do with a God who is represented by sinners who insist your sins are worse? How much harder will their path be, if we turn them away from our love and forgiveness?
I don't know about you, but I want Jesus to say "well done, good and faithful servant", not ask me why He should have mercy on me when I had mercy for no one else.