Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Devotional: Not Judge Nor Jury

Have you ever heard the expression, "All that glitters is not gold"? When it comes to our reflection, that is very much true. No, I'm not talking about the reflection we see in the mirror every morning. I'm talking about the reflection of our actions. Who we are and what we believe may be completely misconstrued by our actions. However, our actions do not always reflect our relationship with the Lord.

This is a very common occurrence and has been since the beginning of time... we reach out in love to those who don't know the Lord or who have just come to know the Lord. They stumble, but we are still there to encourage them and support them. Then, when someone we know that has been in a relationship with the Lord for years stumbles, we look at them and say, "How could they do that? I thought they were a Christian!" What's worse is our reasoning behind our assessment: They should have known better. It is easier, unfortunately having done it myself, to say this because those who follow God are, in the eyes of society, held to a higher standard. So when someone makes a mistake or does something that others question, our integrity and our relationship with God is scrutinized. For example, and this seems to be a popular one that many Christians and football fans talk about: Tim Tebow and Camilla Belle. I can honestly say that I don't know where Camilla Belle stands as far as a relationship with God goes, and some of her movies raise red flags. So based on these things, and having no real knowledge of the true Camilla Belle, it is understandable that people would question a romantic relationship between Tim and Camilla. Yet, when people talk about their relationship, they don't point a finger of judgement at Camilla. They point it at Tim. That is where our fault lies. We look at people and make judgements and assumptions based on another's actions. Here is a way of looking at it though: the bible is full of people who, during their time, were questionable. Rahab was a prostitute, yet she believed in God and helped the two spies that came to her house. David is another good example. David lusted after Bathsheba. He wanted her so bad that he sent her husband off to the frontlines of battle so he would be killed. David then claimed her as his own. You will still find though that in later scriptures (Acts 13:22) that God refers to David as "A man after my own heart." Though David messed up, he still served the Lord with every ounce of his being. Peter, the apostle, denied Jesus three times before Jesus was crucified, yet even after his denial, he served the Lord and taught His ways until his death.

When I was young, I used to read the Berenstain Bears books all the time.In one of the books that I read, Sister Bear was helping Mama Bear peal apples. In one of the baskets, Sister Bear found a really bumpy, deformed apple and wanted to throw it away because she thought it was bad. When Mama Bear cut open the apple, there was nothing wrong with it. It just looked bad. Then Sister Bear found a regular apple, and when Mama Bear cut it open, it was filled with worms. Matthew 7:16 & 20 says, By their fruit you will recognize them... Thus, by their fruit, you will recognize them. Not every piece of fruit is going to be the perfect color, shape or size, but it can still be good fruit. The same goes for people. Not every person that follows the Lord is going to be perfect, but we must understand that even though we can't achieve perfection, it doesn't mean that our heart is not for and with the Lord. Matthew 7:3-6 says: "Why do you look at the  speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and oay no attention the the plank in your own eye? 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." So next time, when we see something questionable or wrong, let's not judge but extend grace. Romans3:22-24... This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.