“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” -John 13:35
The Church is the only army that kills its own wounded soldiers.
One of our lectures this morning has left this topic burning in my heart. I wonder; how true is this distressing statement within our congregations, ministries, & other social JC-loving gatherings? I am currently striving to be one who doesn’t prove this to be true in the body of Christ.
I am not perfect; I have found myself guilty of this several times. I am learning daily that I am not the Holy Spirit in other’s lives. I cannot convict, judge, condemn, or assume I know what’s going on. In order for anything I do to be of worth; it can’t be in anyway any part of me. All Him, all the time, with zero percent of myself involved. This is how Jesus lived. “Where You go, I go. What You say, I say.”
How often do we rush to the scene with a handgun and badge? We insist that we know what’s going on and understand everything from our outsider perspectives. We are so quick to judge that we leave encouragement and our God-given loving hearts behind. What if, instead of pretending to play the ‘police’ role, we switched mindsets?
Please hear me, I absolutely believe in rebuke from Godly counsel & accountability- or possibly even donkeys. I am so thankful to have the privilege being surrounded by people who I am submitted to. They are far more matured and seasoned than I am. So, I am not at all saying the principle is incorrect, but I do believe the method which we execute in (no pun intended) is often flawed. I absolutely refuse to be a modern-day Pharisee in heels among my peers.
I’ve had my share of disappointments when it seems others are standing in judgment instead of with an honest heart search of truth, or offer solutions in love. However, I’m sure what I’ve experienced only pails in comparison what others have endured within the four walls of our at times; not-so-safe congregations. And yet, we wonder why we have a bad reputation after we strike down our own with our gossip, judgment, and legalism.
It has been said, time and time again that; “Our perception is our reality.” I wish that I would remember the fact that my perceived “reality” isn’t always reality. We each have our own set of customized goggles through which we clarify and define our world & its drama. Without the heart, love, and mind of Christ; these goggles can proceed to hinder the very things the Lord is trying to show, teach, or minister to us. Or perhaps a situation has been brought to our attention so that we could pray, instead of spreading rumors in our “holier than thou” blind assurance.
I believe it comes down to one thing; we are human, therefore; we are flawed, imperfect, and quite frankly- we have no idea what we’re talking about. I’m not saying that the Lord doesn’t give insight, or words of knowledge. I’m simply saying that at times, I find myself standing in judgment while expecting others to stand in mercy on my behalf.
Most likely, my battles are not your battles, and your battles are not mine. So, who am I to judge? As brothers and sisters, it is our mandate that we uphold and encourage each other in the Lord. BUT, the method & motive should ALWAYS be in and through a way which portrays love; not judgment or self-righteousness. Lord, help us. This is far more easily said than done.
My mom always taught me “Throughout life, God will always allow people to portray & exemplify both what to do, and what not to do.” As some kid in the movie said a hurtful word; I distinctly remember when she first instilled this saying in my mind. This whole standing in judgment thing is most definitely, without question; a “not to do”.
We are so quick to point out flaws; we forget that others could just as easily do the same about us. What I sow, I shall reap. Ah! What would the church look like if we realized that the more we sow gossip and judgment; the more others will judge and gossip about us. The higher we feel about ourselves, the further we have to fall. This is such a powerful concept it makes me cringe. “Anybody who thinks they are God’s policeman will be judged.” -Gary Hayness
At the end of the day, we must realize; we are each a work in progress. We are all equally condemned, sinful, awful, hateful, distasteful, miserable, and pathetic- apart from the saving grace & faith in Jesus Christ and His completed work on the cross.
Let us live & abide in love, after all; we serve Love- flawlessly exemplified Himself. Lord, more of You; less of me.