Saturday, April 28, 2012

Thou shalt...

by Charity Pence

This Week’s Verse: Psalm 9:8 “He shall judge the world in righteousness, and He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness.” (NKJ)

…not lie.
…not steal.
…not commit adultery.
…not murder.

Sound familiar? They should. Christians ought to have the entire Ten Commandments committed to memory. As soon as we learn them, they become our creed. We live by them. Take a moment to take an inventory. Which commandments have you obeyed today? Now what about this:

Thou shalt not judge.

Hmm. Feeling uneasy? I am.

Sometimes in our eagerness to be “good little Christians” we judge those who do not appear to be as “good” as us. But who are we to judge? Has God appointed us with that task? No. In Matthew 7:1-5, Jesus says, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (NKJ)

Nowhere in the Bible will you find a ranking system for sin. However, don’t we rank sin anyway? For example, wouldn’t we say a murderer is worse than a liar? But you know what? God views all sin equally. A sin is a sin is a sin. Period. Case closed. So why is it we judge others based on their sins?

Now what about this:

Thou shalt love thy neighbor.

Feeling convicted? Yep, me too!

When we judge others, we show condemnation rather than God’s love. We treat others as if their sin defines them. “She’s a liar.” “He’s a murder.” “She’s an adulterer.” “They’re sinners,” you think. We’re all sinners! Ask yourself what sin you struggle with the most. Do you want your life to be defined by that? Do you want God to judge you for that sin as harshly as you judge others? I sure don’t. Jesus died for every single one of us. As Christians, covered by the blood of Jesus and saved by God’s grace, our focus should be on showing that love and grace to others rather than behaving as if we are better than they are. “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” Luke 6:35-38 (KJV)

How many people do we turn away from God with our hypocritical attitudes? How many people could we save if we were truly obedient? Think about that.

Dear Heavenly Father, I am a sinner. I have judged harshly and neglected to show Your amazing love to others. Please forgive me for being a stumbling block to those who would otherwise come to You. Thank You for forgiving me, despite my sins. I thank You, dear Lord, for offering Your grace, which allows me to come to You without condemnation. Continue to convict me so that I can be truly obedient to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

God does not intend for any to be condemned. We are not condemned; we should not condemn others. If this week’s devotion has convicted you, seek God’s guidance. Repent, and God will forgive. Then take the grace God has offered you and share it with those around you.

Power Verses:
1 John 2:10 “He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.” (KJV)
1 John 4:11 “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” (KJV)
1 Peter 3:8 “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous.” (NKJ)

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