Posts Tagged With: judging

Condemn Not

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Pieter Bruegel, Oil on panel, 24cm x 34cm. Courtauld Institute Galleries, London

John 8:4-11

“Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

To professing Christians: Are you known more for what you stand against, or for what you stand for?

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I am a hypocrite!

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I have a sinful nature that sometimes rules my being and leads me down darkened paths. This might be shocking to my readers. It wasn’t shocking when Paul revealed his nature to the Romans (7:14-25)

There are things about ourselves that we clearly leave out of conversation. Those things about us that we confess in our closets that only God knows about. You wouldn’t buy a used car if the salesman told you all that was wrong with it. We fear the rejection and condemnation that comes with the revelation of our true selves.

If the camera followed us physically and spiritually, viewers would be shocked to find out who we really are. So why are we so quick to condemn in others the very vices we carry. Or do we condemn all but ours?

Yes, carrying a certain label (clergy, teacher, leader, parent, spouse) implies a certain standard or code of conduct. But even on our best days, we don’t score a perfect 10 on that code.

Or is hypocrisy reserved for those who yell the loudest? Are those who bomb abortion clinics but yet condone tax evasion excused? What about those who condemn homosexuality but struggle with porn addiction?

I know this is a sensitive subject. But if we are to be real in our relationships we need to be honest first with ourselves by admitting our own personal hypocrisy. We don’t have it as together as we think we do. I know I don’t. Every week in the news we read about some public figures personal struggle and we instantly shake our heads in disgust.

Paul tried and admitted his own failings. There’s always a “but” though. He declared deliverance from this cycle was available (Romans 7:25) and that the very One who delivers would not condemn (Romans 8:1) but would set us free!

I don’t know about you but that statement alone lifts such a heavy burden from my shoulders. It says I don’t have to be shackled by the chain of guilt. But it’s also not an excuse. A recovering alcoholic probably shouldn’t live next to a pub. Neither should a food addict move into the apartment above a donut shop. We have a role to play in our own deliverance and that’s to avoid trying to combat our vices with sheer willpower–a losing venture. If willpower was all it took, we wouldn’t need a savior and The Cross would have no meaning.

I believe my (our) hypocrisy is a symptom of a God-sized hole only He can fill. So let him.

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. (Psalm 34:8 NIV)

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