Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope. – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Does Jesus want us to call sin like we see it? Does His indwelling Spirit want to use us to judge the lives of those around us? First Corinthians 5 encourages leaders in biblical communities to pass judgment on willful sin to protect the community, but that isn’t what I’m talking about here. I’m discussing a judgmental attitude, when we define people by their behavior.
Or perhaps the pendulum swings the other way – maybe He wants us to be okay with everything. Maybe we aren’t supposed to intervene in the lives of others, and let everyone find his or her own path.
This is the tension between grace and truth. We know Jesus lived full of grace and full of truth because the Gospel of John tells us so (1:17). But we also know it’s difficult to live this way. Sometimes we look at others’ mistakes and we’re tempted to become judges. Other times we stay silent, inadvertently withholding the Gospel from someone who needs Jesus.
Where is the point of peace inside this tension?
It helps to look at Jesus’ purpose for coming. John 3:17 says, God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
The first time Jesus came, He didn’t come to condemn but to save. (And it’s working.)
But one day Jesus will return for a different reason. Second Thessalonians 1:6-8 says, God is just …. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel….
During the second coming, Jesus will judge. But between His first and second trips to earth, we live in the age of saving. We live in the age of grace. This is why we’re free to stop judging and start giving grace.
If you need some help finding peace, I’d like to suggest that we start by erasing the following statement from our lives: “That person can’t possibly be a Christian because ____________.”
This is Jesus’ job and we’re free to let Him do it.
Jesus, thank You for firing me from the job of judgment today. May I hold that pink slip and sing songs of praise for the age of grace that we live in. This is truth. And the more grace I share, the more people will know You as the Author of their salvation. Amen.
Listen to Pete, Jill & Stuart Briscoe on the Telling the Truth broadcast at OnePlace.com
Renew your spirit for the year ahead!