As Christians, we are created by God to show His glory to the world as we are raised up as His children by and through Jesus Christ. The best way to do this by loving one another as Christ first loved us. This is a selfless, patient, and incorruptible love that goes beyond our human nature; this is the love of God in us.
How many of us have really experienced and expressed the love of Jesus towards others? How many of us have been wounded most by those who should be brothers and sisters in Christ, but are more wolf-like in their behaviors toward us and others?
I think of when Jesus said:
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. – Matthew 23:23
From my perspective, I see a lot of lacking in judgment, mercy, and faith. In forgetting these things, we reject the greatest commandment as a Christian: Love.
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. — John 15:12
In this article, I want to focus on un-loving judgment.
For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry – Isaiah 5:7
How true are these words from the prophet Isaiah today? How many of us are lacking righteous judgment, instead forgoing the love of God and oppressing others with self-righteousness? How many of us are “calling evil good and good evil” when it suits us? How many of us are holding one set of standards for others that we fail to adhere to ourselves? How many of us are quick to judge others for their sin while justifying our own, even deceiving ourselves into believing we are in the right?
I rarely see judgment that is in the best interest of others, but instead is in the interest of the person making the judgment. I see a lot of “lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,” all the while condemning of others who’s sins are deemed more abominable.
If you have been judged too harshly by Christians, please know that Jesus is not with them.
A gentle word that tells us when we are sinning is a good thing, and we should be thankful for it because we often have sin hidden in our hearts, and sometimes it takes a nudge from a loved one in the right direction. However, if you have gotten more of a stoning than a gentle nudge from those who profess the name of Jesus Christ, I want to assure you that he does not stand by this behavior. In-fact, he probably sides with you over the one who is hurting you with their harsh words, gossip, false-accusations, and unforgiveness (I know this from experience. Both as the one being judged harshly and the one making harsh judgments).
With full confidence, I can tell you that the judgment of Jesus Christ does not consider who is the biggest outward sinner, but who most lacks love. We are all sinners, and we all deserve death. I can tell you with full confidence, that we should not be as the one who says, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.” while we ourselves are full of pride, vanity, impatience, and lack of mercy towards others – all the while oppressing “sinners” with our holier-than-thou attitude.
Who has the biggest fault in the eyes of Jesus? The repentant sinner who shows mercy towards others, or the one who performs less sin outwardly, but has a hateful heart?
I can tell you with full confidence, that a heart that shows mercy, patience, forgiveness, faith–and most importantly, a heart that seeks the righteous rebuke of Jesus before they go around pointing the finger at their brother–is more righteous in the sight of God regardless of their past or even present sin. Why? Because they judge their own hearts first and they show love towards others. On the other side are those who judge the hearts of others first while showing love towards themselves.
We should stand for no sin, and we need to seek Jesus often in order to make correct judgments on what is sin and what is not. However, we cannot be hypocritical and demeaning towards others. We cannot forget the patience of Jesus Christ that leads us to repentance.
If harsh judgment is dwindling your faith, please know that Jesus is for the broken spirited and he rejects the proud.
Didn’t Jesus hang around “publicans and sinners?” I can see why. Often times it’s the people who have had the hardest lives – even the people who have sinned the most – who are less judgmental of the sins of others. They are often more compassionate and empathetic, while those who have “lived right” are hateful and proud. They are less hypocritical and willing to look at themselves critically, and because they have experienced the pains of sin, they want freedom – and not just freedom from the sins others judge them for, but freedom from the hidden sins of the heart!
Of course, there are always those who take the liberty we have in Christ as an excuse for sin and they do not want to be corrected, no matter how gentle we are towards them. These are not who I’m speaking to, however. I’m speaking to those who want freedom from sin but cannot seem to escape the harsh-judging eye of Christians who fail to offer support for growing Christians, instead causing them to stumble because of their own hateful hearts.
If Jesus were walking in the flesh today, he would not stand for the hateful and hypocritical judgment of the Christian community. That does not mean we accept sin, it just means that we understand that we have all sinned and we all need Jesus in order to escape sin. Many have this attitude like they think their righteousness comes from themselves, so they are better than those who sin differently than they do. They forget that all good things in us come from God, and any ability we have to do “good” is a gift we do not deserve.
Find freedom from sin – and the hatefulness of hypocrisy – in the Kingdom of God!
In the kingdom of God, there is no hypocrisy, hatefulness, self-righteousness, pride, vanity, gossip, and all such things you might have been hurt by. In the kingdom of God, there is just judgment rooted in patience, mercy, and love. Once we begin to seek Jesus, he will stir up our conscience and reveal our sins to us, and we might be very surprised to see just how sinful we are – and often times, it’s the hidden sins in the heart that take us by surprise. The sins of hatefulness.
Jesus is the only one who can judge your heart. Let no person, Christian or otherwise, have that power over you. Most importantly, Jesus is the one who can heal your heart, so that you can love all who have wronged you and so you can begin to find lasting peace and all things promised through salvation.
If the Jesus often portrayed by hate-filled Christians is something you want to run away from, then that’s a good thing. If you want to seek the true Jesus who heals the brokenhearted instead of rejecting them, then I hope you will subscribe to KindlingTruth so we can seek the wonderful Physician together!
This article is part 1 of a series, “Have You Been Loved By Christians?” which is contained within an article section entitled, “For Christians Abused by Christians.”