Friday, January 23, 2015

Romans 2:1

Romans 2:1 
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 

Holy & Righteous Judge,
Forgive me for donning the robe, stepping behind the desk, and pounding down the gavel to announce the "guilty" verdict. I am just as bad! I have no excuse! It's easier to look straight ahead at someone else, than it is to look down at myself. If I point a finger at others, four fingers are pointing back at me.

When I put on Your holy robe and thump Your sacred gavel, playing judge, I'm setting myself up for discipline. You do not like when I step behind Your divine desk because I'm unworthy and unqualified to be there. Forgive me for filtering Your grace through my opinion, and watering down Your mercy with my own narrow-mindedness. I can't understand Your holy standard, let alone reach it!

I don't know the whole story. How can I judge a book when the chapters aren't all written? Only You know the whole truth. You are the Amazing Author of every story and uniquely write each ending. If You began a good story about someone, You will finish it with a perfect ending. I believe You.

I think of the thief dying on the cross next to You. In the last paragraph of his life story, he acknowledged You and asked You to remember him.  In the end, You pounded the gavel and proclaimed him "not guilty", assuring him a place in Paradise. While the watching world convicted him, You patiently pardoned him. You are so kind and merciful. Teach me, Your Honor, to be non-judgmental for Your name sake. Amen.

God is a Father of many chances. He holds back His judgment on us, allowing us time to change our mind. He expects us to do the same to others. Talk to God about who you need to show mercy today. Then, step aside, remove the robe, put down the gavel and let Him announce the verdict. He alone is worthy.

When trouble strikes, a question I hear commonly asked in Christian circles is, "Is he/she saved?" I used to be quick to answer. However, as I've studied God's Word, and grown to be more like Jesus, I've learned that I cannot answer that question. It's a matter of the heart. I can judge what I see, and I can't see the heart. Only God can.

My 79 year old neighbor lady lived promiscuously and partied hard most of her life. Now she is dying of cancer. My two little dogs and I visit her every day. While she feeds my dogs treats, we've talked about the gospel and eternal destiny. She knows the gospel, but I'm not sure she knows Jesus. Nothing I observe in her life would indicate that she does. However, I can't see her heart; only God can. One day we will both stand before Him. On that day He alone will judge our hearts. In the meantime, I can honor Him by freely lavishing her with the same love and grace He's lavished on me. 

With all my heart, I think we will be very surprised on Judgment Day by who is in heaven and who is not. I believe many Bible-thumping, church-going, do-good people could be left out, while promiscuous party girls go in. It's not a matter of knowledge, routines, or works. It's a matter of relationship. Do you know Jesus?  

No comments: