Saturday, July 20, 2013

Judged by Martin Wiles

“Most times you can't hear 'em talk, Other times you can. All the same old clich├ęs, ‘Is that a woman or a man?’"

In Bob Segar’s song, “Turn the Page,” he talks about the pain of stardom and life on the road. Among them the caustic remarks by some who thought his appearance lacked character. So they poked fun and judged.

I’ve felt the pain too. Sometimes personally and at other times for someone else. Divorced, tattooed, unpaid debts, repossessions, living together, addictions, long hair, married too many times, unkempt appearance, not a churchgoer, mixed marriage, mixed children. All messages shouting “These aren’t our kind of people.” Sadly, they frequently come from Christians—the last people on earth who should spout them.

Most of the religious elite didn’t like the caliber of people Jesus hung around with either: tax collectors, prostitutes, lower class, divorced, multiple marriages, living together, cheats. But he quickly reminded them that I have come to call…those who know they are sinners and need to repent (Luke 5:32 NLT).

God’s church should be the place walking wounded come for healing…and it often is. If I’m not careful, my traditions and prejudices will keep me holding at arm’s length the very people Jesus wants me to help heal. So when I’m feeling a little superior, I remind myself that only God’s grace keeps my life from being the shambles theirs is.

Jesus didn’t reject anyone who sincerely turned to him…nor did he judge them for their mistakes. Accepting everyone—not necessarily their actions, is a challenge I’m only up to with God’s assistance. But it fulfills God’s command to love everyone as he does. After all, it’s not the well folks who need the doctor.

When you’re tempted to judge, find a reason to love instead.

Prayer: Merciful Father, as You forgive our foibles and accept us as Your own, so enable us to look beyond other’s shortcomings and love them as You do.

Why not share this with a friend who needs a word of encouragement?