So I need to admit something. There was a time in my life – not really all that long ago – where I thought it was okay to judge people for all different kinds of things. I thought it was not okay for illegal immigrants to cross the boarder. I thought it was not okay for people suffering from drug addictions to collect food stamps. I thought it was not okay for people to have abortions. I was conflicted with my acceptance of the LGBT community and what “religion” tells me about them. I know each one of those strikes a nerve one way or the other with people, but I’ve come to realize something all together different about the perspective Jesus is asking us to have.
More than likely you have your own opinion on each one of those topics. I know that if you’ve made it this far you are waiting for what I say next to determine if you are going to shoot me an angry, scathing, email, or one to pat me on my back. Here is the thing though. As I slowly start to understand just how much Jesus loves each and every one of us I am constantly drawn back to scripture.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye.” -Matthew 7:1-3
“…Let any one of you without sin cast the first stone.” -John 8:7
“There is only one lawgiver and judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you – who are you to judge your neighbor?” -James 4:12
As I focus on these words more and more I continue to feel God expand, in my mind and in my heart, the understanding of what this means. We end up, ingrained by the world, with this idea that at least someone is not savable. It can come from parents, experiences, fear of difference, and any other number of things. We find someone we can point at and say, “Well at least I am better than them.” We all do it, and I have been guilty far beyond others. I even did it while I still held true to my understanding that “I don’t judge” as I saw it in my own perspective. The fact of the matter is I still did. Surely Jesus didn’t love everyone right? Wrong!
Jesus strolls through the entire series of gospels showing just how much he did not condemn the sinner. In fact the only people who he condemned were the ones who believed their lives were without sin, or that their sins were not as bad as others. He condemned people like me. So why is that? Well to know Jesus is to know love, and the only way to understand the level of love Jesus had is to understand that it was for every sinner on earth. That’s who he came to save. If you think your sins are better than others, or you are lying to yourself and think that you are living a sinless life, Jesus can’t help you until you realize that just isn’t true. If you hold your nose up to others, if you wear your fancy Sunday best, trying to cover your sin in fancy garments, or if you think that you are doing any good telling others how bad they are; then you are exactly who needs to step back and let Jesus wash you clean.
If Jesus were walking the earth today he would be the first one in our churches shaming us for trying to push away people who are part of the LGBT community.
if Jesus were walking the earth today he would be standing in between the angry mob outside of the abortion clinics and the scared young women trying to make one of the most difficult and scaring decisions they will have to make in their lives.
If Jesus were walking the earth today he would be at the boarder shepherding people across; all the while sending angry glares at the sneering boarder patrol who think they are entitled to a better life because of where they were born.
If Jesus were walking the earth today he would be the in the prisons finding disciples to minister to the others in the prison.
If Jesus were walking the earth he would be wittily battling against his own church because of their snide misunderstanding of His love.
The thing is that Jesus may be up in heaven, but he sent the Holy Spirit to be his likeness for us to inherit. We must ask, daily, for ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit so that we do not fall to our own understanding. We must be the example that Jesus intended when he offered up the Holy Spirit in his place while he is gone. He asked us to mentally understand what He meant by love, and let the Holy Spirit lead us where we must go share it. It isn’t just a full reliance on the Holy Spirit either. It is also us continuing to better our own minds and purging out the wrong thinking this world has taught us.
Do not judge. Not ever. because it is not our place. It is exactly what Jesus told us NOT to do. Show everyone love so that they can find their way to Jesus.