A judge is separated from the people who come before him (or her). There’s a big desk, a lot of floor space, and tables behind which the prosecutor and defendant sit.
The judge does not personally know the people being tried; all he knows is what he’s been told and what he observes of the person while in his presence (and not in the best of circumstances, to be sure!).
He’s never spoken to them before. He knows nothing of their history, their character, or the intricacies of their relationships. He’s never had a meal with them, or seen them in a social setting of any sort.
He only has the “facts” as they have been presented to him by the attorneys – each with their own agenda, by the way.
When we judge people, don’t we do so in like manner?
I am as guilty as the next person of passing judgment on others. I judge by appearance, by my preference, by what I consider to be right and wrong, and based on what others tell me about the person.
Often, I know little or nothing of the person. I haven’t talked to them, eaten with them, or have any idea what they are like as a person.
I was stopped dead in my tracks by Jesus’ words in John 3:17:
“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world;
but that the world might be saved through Him.”
And this one, too:
“And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him;
for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.
He who rejects me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him
– the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.” John 12:47-48
Check these out:
“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” Hebrews 9:27.
“Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts.” 1 Corinthians 4:5
“For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:13.
If Jesus didn’t come to judge the world, but to save it…
…and we are His body…
…then He is still here…
…to save, not to judge.
That day is coming, but is not yet.
There are many evils taking place around us. Our propensity is to hop onto the judge’s bench, pass judgment, and sentence people to hell.
This isn’t Jesus’ heart in the matter. He came to save, not to condemn.
At the deaths of people like Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Ladin, and even Hitler, heaven did not rejoice. These were people that the Lord created. He loves them too. He wanted so much more for them.
It grieves His heart to have anyone choose hell as their final destination.
If we are to be Ambassadors for Christ – accurate representatives of the King of kings and Lord of lords – we will need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
Jesus set an example for us:
In Mark 2, Jesus is found eating in Levi’s house with tax collectors and sinners. The “good” people took exception with this and asked how He could do such a thing. Jesus heard them and said,
“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Verse 17)
Is it possible that we’ve gotten off track? I think perhaps we have.
I leave us with this:
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,
keep yourselves in the love of God,
looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire,
hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.” Jude 20-23
It’s not the “religious” folks who need the body of Christ. It’s the unlovely, the hopeless, the desperate. These are the ones who will respond.
They may not all look like street people, but instead more like politicians who know in their hearts that what they are doing is wrong…but can’t see a way out of where they are. They are prisoners of war, compelled to do the bidding of their captor.
Mercy will win far more hearts than condemnation ever will. Jesus needs a body here on earth to do His bidding…one who does justly, loves mercy, and walks humbly with Him…not judges.
That day is coming…
…but now is not that time.
Faith, hope, love…
the greatest of these is