“We plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.” 2 Corinthians 6:1
As often as I peruse the ‘net, the number of times I see judgment about others outnumbers the stars in the sky. Whether it’s conservative or liberal, religious or non-religious, finger-pointing has risen to an art form.
As Christians, do we have the right to call others out on sin? Well, Jesus did, didn’t he?
Yes, he did – but we’re not Jesus! Jesus is God. You and I are not God!
Jesus never told us to call one another out. He told us to meet privately with our own brothers and sisters in Christ, and handle it within the church body. He never told us to admonish anyone outside the body of believers. Let’s face it, we have our own sins to deal with.
Jesus gave us two warnings and two commands.
Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:20) Jesus tells us that it is more important to love in our hearts and be merciful in our actions than to hold onto law and dish out judgment.
Judge not, lest you be judged. (Matthew 7:1; John 8:7) Jesus warns us that in our judging, we forget about the grace God bestows on us. We forget to offer that grace to others, refusing to see past our perception of them to their real stories, to their real hearts.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind.
The second is like the first; love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and prophets are based on these two. Matthew 22:37-40
Jesus reminds us these are the most important commandments; if he tells us this, who are we to say or act otherwise?
A former pastor at my church, Matt VanCleave, who has moved on to a church of his own (Blue Oaks Church), once spoke about the difference between “balcony people” and “basement people.” Balcony people support you, engage with you, and uplift you. Basement people put you down, separate from you and judge you. I think Jesus was a balcony person. And I much prefer to be one, too.
As I was writing this blog about loving and being uplifting, a heartening fellow blogger, Shaun Gibson from Edinburgh, Scotland, sent me a comment on one of my posts with this Six-award, (see below) asking me to accept and pass it forward. How could I say, “no?”
Shaun is incredibly courageous. He’s a dad of two with a gorgeous woman in his life and lives with immense pain every day…yet he moves forward, gives praise and encouragement, and walks with God because he’s a hero to those two kids.
So to you, Shaun Gibson, @ Looking for Reasoning to a Complicated World , my courageous, encouraging and loving friend, whose sign-off is more love, less hate: Love and prayers from 5,000 miles away, for this 6-Award. I humbly accept and pay it forward.
As part of the rules of accepting the award, I promised to respond to the simple questions below, and nominate ten others. The nominations are here: My responses are below because the nominations deserve more attention than I:
Here are my 10 nominations for this 6-Award, beginning with my former pastor, Matt VanCleave. Thank you to these authentic, uplifting, Spirit-led, balcony people. I pray you, too, will accept and pass it forward:
- Matt VanCleave @ http://www.mattvancleave.com/
- Patrick Lencioni @ http://www.tablegroup.com/pat/
- Anita Davis Sullivan @ anitadavissullivan.com
- Bullying Prevention @ terkinn.wordpress.com/
- Tric @ http://mythoughtsonapage.com
- John Fletcher @ www.ourpersonaljourney.wordpress.com
- Scottish mum @ http://scottishmomus.wordpress.com/
- Rick Henderson @ http://churchismessy.com/
- Steve Rebus @ http://steverebus.com/
- Adeline Oh Velarde @ http://adelineohvelarde.wordpress.com/
Questions to Answer:
Favorite colour? – Green (or new life)
Favorite animal? – Birds in the wild (they awaken me every morning)
Favorite number? - 7 (biblical completion)
Favorite nonalcoholic drink? - Strong coffee w/ lotsa flavored, non-dairy creamer
Favorite alcoholic drink? – Baileys Irish Cream (especially in my coffee)
Facebook or Twitter? – Twitter (helps me write succinctly)
My Passions? – Writing and coffee (see above!)
Giving or Receiving Gifts? – Giving – it delights me!