Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mercy and Judgement





Scripture

“Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.
(Luke 6:26 NASB)
“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.
(Luke 6:35 NASB)
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
(Luke 6:36 NASB)
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.
(Luke 6:37 NASB)

 

Observation

The Beatitudes are a blueprint for the holy life and through them we are challenged to understand what Christ was presenting to his followers. The kingdom of God is radically opposed to the kingdom of the world and the standard way in which things and people function. Jesus understood that to live life within the kingdom would not necessarily be seen as "acceptable" behavior. We all like to have people like us and we want people to speak well of us but when we are living life in the kingdom the reality is that there will be those who will not like us and they will not speak well of us and we must understand that serving God is not a popularity contest. However, we are not to isolate ourselves from those who don't "get" what we are doing but instead we are to love them. Loving them means that we are to go out of our way to do good things for those who may not like us. We are to lend to them and not expect to get anything back. Why? Because this is what Jesus has done and we are to follow his example and to be his reflection here on this earth. So show mercy and don't judge those who have been hard on you. Sometimes we just may not understand what they are up against, or what they are facing. We are to show the world mercy, and we are not to be the ones who judge.

 

Application


Jesus gives very specific instructions in the Beatitudes about how we are to life the Christian life. It is a radical set of instructions which basically calls on us to be imitators of Christ. But why is imitation of Christ so important to our Christian walk? Is it so that the world can see Christ in us, or is it so that we can literally be transformed through imitation? The answer to both is yes! As we begin our spiritual journey we learn all that we can about Christ and as we follow him, we try to follow his example. We try to live by what he has taught us here in the Beatitudes. As we continue in the journey of imitating Christ we are in fellowship with him in a way which is transformational. There comes a point in our walk with him that our participation in Christ through imitation of Christ becomes so intermingled that we no longer know whether our responses are ours -- by imitation -- or whether it is Christ in us being revealed to the world. This is why Paul could declare, "Follow me, as I follow Christ." He understood that he wasn't asking people to be like Paul, but instead was asking others to follow into a life of imitation of Christ which would ultimately be transformational.

The spiritual journey brings understanding to the fact that we should not be judgmental. Why? Because we are all at different places on that journey and we don't want to do anything to throw anyone off of that path. Too often our criticisms of others makes them want to get off the path and give up on the journey. God has called us to follow him, to become like him, and to draw others toward him on the journey. That's why we must show mercy. Help keep them on the path!!! Our negative attitudes and criticisms will only work to harm those who are trying to follow Christ. Let's ask God to reveal to us what needs to be changed in us and may he be merciful to us while we do not judge the hearts of others. This will be transformational, not just for us, but for others as well.

 

Prayer


Lord, please help me to seek you today with all my heart. Please, help me to live a life in imitation of you and please help me not to judge those around me. Amen.

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