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GROWING IN CHRIST

"Judge Not"

Date published: 06/10/2017
John 8:6b-7 “But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with His finger. When they kept on questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, ‘If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’”  (referring to the woman caught in adultery) (NIV) 

   Have you ever wondered what Jesus was writing on the ground? Was Jesus preaching to them, teaching them, challenging them, condemning them, or as I suspect, was He just writing down a list of sins to which most of us fall prey. The majority of Christians understand that all sin is equal. Romans 6:23a tells how the consequences of all sin are the same: “For the wages of sin is death.” (NIV) Though you may believe this, do you inadvertently equate sins differently? Such as: Homosexuality is worse than heterosexual promiscuity; Lying is worse than gossip; Stealing is worse than coveting, Murder is worse than anger. Remember the consequences for all sins are death. Thinking of sin in degrees of “bad” can quickly take you into dangerous territory.  

   Grading sins can take your eyes off Jesus. In Matthew 7:4-5, Jesus challenges those listening to Him, “How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.” (NIV)   

Judging others can cause:

  • You to take the place of God in your life
  • You to subjectively begin a constant dialogue of potential compromise with sin
  • You to harden your heart with God as you justify sin in your life. 

Worse than that is how it reflects a misunderstanding of the atonement of Christ. You are a sinner not because of your degrees or amounts of sin, but because you were born into sin through the sin of Adam. Christ died for your sins as He paid the price for your sins with the sacrifice of His body.  

   The crowd was ready to impute judgement on the adulteress when Jesus probably began writing everyday sins of which we are all guilty: anger, hate, selfishness, disrespect, unforgiveness, pride, rudeness, etc. Who can say none of these sins are not your own? Once you focus on the sin instead of your Savior, it becomes about you. When you think someone else’s sin is worse than yours, you become prideful, if not delusional. As soon as you condemn another for his sin, you are ignoring your own sin.  

   How do you respond to another’s sin? With love! There is a story behind every sin:

  • A lost person who needs the love of Christ for salvation
  • One who cannot hold back sinful character traits because they hurt so badly on the inside
  • A babe in Christ who does not fully understand sin and desperately needs discipleship
  • A Christian who is calloused to his sin for lack of Christian fellowship where loving Christians can help him learn the Word as they model the Christian life.   

   None of these need judgment, but more of Jesus.  

   The next time you are ready to judge, ask God to let you see the Spiritual side.   Inquire of God what He wants you to do in this situation.  Ask Him to empower and equip you to love the one you are wanting to judge. You can never fully love God if you do not love people. Not loving God short changes your relationship with Him. On the other hand, you cannot love people if you do not love God. Loving God and loving people are mutually dependent actions that both illuminate who you are in Christ. If you want a vibrant, growing, and fruitful relationship with Christ, go deeper into Jesus. Out of the depth of your relationship with Christ, you will naturally learn to love people. 

Colossians 1:13-14 “For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (NIV) 

Do you know someone who needs this message on loving others? If so, sign them up to receive weekly or forward this devotion to them as a blessing for their growth in Christ. 

Here are some Bible studies from Growing in Christ to help your transformative experience: “Your Life in Christ” and “Deeper With God.” 

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