Repentance

Romans 2: 1 - 4, You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? NIV


According to Paul, we can be harder both on ourselves and on others concerning the matter of sin than God is. As fallen humans, who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus, it would appear that we would extend more mercy toward others' transgressions, but that isn't always the case. Since we have a tendency to be more critical toward others' sin than our own, it can cause us to begin to struggle in our own walk of faith and grace.

A guilty conscious can cause the recipients of grace to forget just how God has found us, and where He has brought us from. A guilty conscience can also cause us to judge people who are in sin and demand swifter justice, and yet turn right around and beg God to extend His mercy and grace to cover our own shortcomings and failures. There is a perfect example in John 8 of how a guilty conscience can cause people to be very judgmental and condemning of others... even after they have committed the same sin and/or received forgiveness themselves.
While Jesus was teaching early one Sabbath morning, some men brought a woman to Him that was caught in the act of adultery. These men were ready to try her case, convict her of sin, and condemn her to death until Jesus spoke up. He reminded them of something that they had not taken into account... they also had a sin issue in their own hearts. Once Jesus reminded them of their past, the men saw the error of their ways and dropped their rocks. Once they were gone, Jesus told the woman that He didn't condemn her either. Then He said to the woman, "Go and sin no more." Don't you find it interesting that the guilty men wanted to stone her, but the GUILTLESS Man forgave her and released her without punishment?

Through the teaching of Paul and the love that is demonstrated through Christ, we can begin to see that God is LONG SUFFERING when it comes to sin. He doesn't "fly off of the handle" like people do when they find out that others have sin in their lives. When you think about the difference between man's point-of-view toward sin verses God's point-of-view toward sin could it be that we also know, through experience, what it is like once we have tasted of God's goodness, and we want others to taste of it as well? When we mix God's goodness with our zeal and judgmental attitude, we will fall short of God's grace every time... as it pertains to reaching out to people in their faults, failures, and sin.

God is long suffering; it's not that He winks or permits sin. Instead, He is giving humans an opportunity to repent of the error of their ways before it's too late for them. It is the goodness of God that produces true Biblical repentance and not man's hellfire and brimstone judgments. If Jesus didn't condemn sin in people's lives, then how can we, as His ambassadors do so?  I'm writing this to you because the Lord revealed a scripture to me today that ties in with Paul's writing in Romans. Now, hopefully, we can clearly see the heart of God and change the way we go about confronting sin in other people's lives.