This will be a relatively simple post. I’d like to thank Jesus for not just dying on the Cross but for coming back with the promise of eternal life for all of us.
He took on all of our sins and carried them away. He paid a terrible price in the beating and death that He endured. But He came back. And He will come back again.
That’s the joy of Easter: no matter how badly we screw up He will continue to forgive us. And that prompted me to think about how we can pick up some of that load and lighten His just a bit.
I realize that our access to Heaven is through His Grace. But I have to wonder if we couldn’t work just a bit on sinning less while we’re at it. We all sin. We all hate to have that little fact pointed out to us. But it’s true.
I have a dear friend who hurls Matthew 7:1 out whenever the topic comes up. That’s the one about “Judge not lest ye be judged.” Most Christians don’t understand the point of that gem. The fact is that Christ is not telling us not to judge the merits of other’s actions, but to be aware of the fact that we’re subject to the same scrutiny. Attached to that interpretation is the one where we’re being told not to judge in the eternal sense and condemn that person to eternal damnation. Instead we’re being told that it’s a good thing to evaluate our own actions at the same time we look at others. Get our own slate cleaned, put our own house in order.
We judge constantly as humans. It’s how we order our universe. We judge the food we eat and pick favorites. We judge rape and murder to be bad and acts of charity to be good. We judge all the time. And I am suggesting we judge a lot more than we are at this point in our history.
The human race, especially Americans, have abdicated the use of judgement in ordering our lives. We won’t open our mouths and say, “That’s just wrong. I can’t abide that, and you probably should do it differently.” We’re so afraid of being “judgemental” that we accept anything. And we’re paying for it in how Jesus will ultimately judge us.
My friend gets mad at me when I talk about this topic. And I understand why. Someone in their life, someone who’s a loudly professed Christian, judges them in the way that Jesus explicitly abhors – the “you’re going to burn in Hell” variety of judgement. It hurts. None of us wants to be treated that way.
But there is a positive side to being judged by others: it helps you reset that moral compass that you may have let drift away from “true north” in your travels. It happens to all of us – God knows I’m a major screw-up and sinner. But when it’s brought to my attention it does give me pause and gets me to think hard about what I’m doing.
On this Easter Sunday I’m asking you to do a little more judging in the next year. Judge yourself first. Get your act together and sin less. Listen to the judgments of others who are righteous about how you are proceeding – they may have a really great point about where you’re headed. And judge others more in the next year. Do it with kindness, more as guidance than as a hammering. Offer your input in the way that Christ himself did while he was on Earth. Do it out of love. Help them find the way to the Cross that we all seek. There’s nothing wrong with judging as long as you can stand the scrutiny yourself.
Ultimately we’re going to be judged one final time. Just like in sports it doesn’t hurt to practice as often as you can to be ready for the championship game. The judge we’ll all face knows about sins – He carried ours away 2000 years ago and came back with the good news that life eternal was there for us to have if we’ll just follow Him.
I hope each of you has a blessed and joyous Easter.