Thursday, October 9, 2014

Condemnation Or Forgiveness?

Recently I sat across the table from a young man who was in a tough spot because of his decisions. His sin was about to become obvious to others and most likely would bring with it a long list of people who would judge and condemn him. But I would not be included in that list. Yes, he blew it, messed up, sinned and now  would have to face the natural consequences for that, but at this moment my only concern was his relationship with Jesus.

As I sat across from this young man in trouble, all I could think was "Been there; done that". His sin was no greater and no less than mine. My past was his present. The difference was I was now covered by grace because of Jesus. I deserved no credit for this fact; it was the work of Jesus that provided such grace. So, having been in the same place as this young man, how could I condemn that which I was forgiven? What this young man needed to hear was how he could receive this same forgiveness.

Listen to what Jesus said about a woman he had forgiven:

"Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little." (Luke 7:47)

Jesus was not saying that there are people who have little to forgive, because we are all sinners, all rebellious against Yahweh. What he is saying is that those who think they have little to be forgiven will never love passionately because they do not understand what has been done for them. When we realize and accept what we are and what Jesus has done for us, we cannot help but treat everyone around us in the same manner. Having been forgiven we find it a simple matter to forgive.

Paul the apostle presented it from a different angle:

"Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things." (Romans 2:1)

This young man who sat across from me was no different from my past, so having sinned how could I condemn him for sinning? Of course I couldn't. That would be hypocritical, making me an actor, pretending to be something I wasn't. And having been forgiven, it was easy for me to forgive. This is the response of those who walk in Christ and minister to a dying world. May they know his love through us.

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