Saturday, December 13, 2014

December 13 – Giving and receiving grace

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37 HCSB)

“Don’t judge me!” is a phrase thrown around by people who don’t like their faults being pointed out.  They assume that this command of Jesus means that we can never make an assessment of what is wrong in our lives or in others.  That’s not what Jesus is saying here, because in John 7:24, Jesus does teach us all to, “judge according to righteous judgment.”  

The kind of judging that is meant here is better described as slandering, degrading or backstabbing.  When anger at injustice arises in us, our natural inclination is get back at the ones who did this, hurt them, tear them down never let them do it again. But Jesus is showing us a glimpse into the spiritual world.  When we judge and condemn, we give permission to the devil to do the exact same things to us.  Our mistakes (or perceived mistakes) become open targets for the devil to humiliate and degrade us. 

When we reign in our riled up emotions and refuse to judge (degrade) or condemn anyone, we allow the Holy Spirit to speak and He gives us wisdom to react calmly to what’s unfair.  We can use our heads instead of our feelings and be merciful, forgiving and gracious.  That doesn’t mean that we condone any evil that was done, or that we won’t fight against that evil or injustice, it just means that we will have a level head about how to go about it in an effective way.  We can destroy the power of the demons that were at work, while still loving our enemy with a pure heart.

We protect ourselves from the devil when we discipline our emotions and actions. When we blurt out judgments and condemn others, it’s only a matter of time that others will do the same to us.  But even more importantly when we forgive, we are forgiven.  We are sinners and need to give each other grace – we’re all in the same boat.  Another verse in Matthew 6 says that if we don’t forgive, we will not be forgiven.  

These commandments and promises of Jesus are not just about how we can avoid the devil’s traps here on earth, but also about the final judgment that we all will face at the end of our lives. A great day is coming when all mankind will be judged fairly, and many will be condemned because of their own choices to ignore God’s commands.  

Jesus spoke these words to the crowds that were all clamoring for healing, but He knew they would still be broken and incomplete without a transformation of their hearts and minds.  His teachings are painful for our pride, but they are the key to entering into the Kingdom of God.  These promises of escaping judgment and condemnation, and finding forgiveness is what we all need.  Let’s make sure we don’t miss any opportunity to do what is right. 

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