Focus: Justice, condemnation, and forgiveness
Luke 6:37 (NKJV) (Jesus said) Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Jesus spoke with wisdom…yet practically everything He said relates back to the concept of ‘doing unto others as we would like others to do for us’. The words He said were simple and easy to grasp—so why is it that we have such a hard time following His advice?
None of us wants to be judged or criticized for every move we make. It’s not easy to be in a position where you feel someone is just waiting for you to make a wrong move. Something even worse would be for someone to announce a wrong move you made to everyone you knew and put you in a position of rejection with no possibility of pardon.
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We’ve all seen this kind of thing happen when some important person makes a blatant error and then the media gets a hold of it and blows it sky high. Pretty soon, everybody’s talking about it around the coffee maker or the water cooler at work—offering their two cents and trying to outdo each other with opinions and comments. It’s become so typical that few of us give much thought to it anymore. In our society, anybody whose business shows up in the newspaper or on TV is ‘fair game’. The concept of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is totally ignored by most publications—and people.
When someone has done something obviously wrong—repeatedly, it becomes harder and harder not to condemn them for their actions. When you are the victim of their repeated wrongdoing, it would seem like you should have the right to your own justice.
There are clear directions in the Word of God for us to follow when we have been wronged by ‘a brother’.
In Matthew 18 Jesus instructs: “…If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.”
The challenge for us, is knowing whether to confront or ‘back down’ when we’ve been sinned against. Prayer is certainly important in such a situation. We are promised if we ask for wisdom from God, He will give it (James 1:5).
God doesn’t need for us to bring anything to His attention—He sees everything. When we pray, we should praise God for knowing all about our problem and simply ask Him as the Righteous Vindicator and the Righteous Judge to bring justice to our situation. We should ask Him for wisdom to know if there is anything we should do.
When a person is clearly ignoring the Word of God in their treatment of us—we have to make the choice. Will we follow what Jesus said to do regarding the right process for confrontation—or will we choose to forgive and just let it go? It’s important to decide what course of action we are going to take and not go from person to person spreading the news and asking for opinions. God wants us to ask Him for counsel if we lack wisdom. The only way we are to involve others is for the purpose of following through with scriptural confrontation. If we are not going to follow through with proper confrontation—then we need to just forgive and let it go. By giving the problem to God, we are trusting Him to deal with the one who has wronged us.
God seems to have a special tenderness where widows and orphans are concerned. Isaiah 1:16-17, Exodus 22:22-24, and James 1:26-27 (NKJV) speak specifically about this: ‘Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good: seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. You shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child. If you afflict them in any way, and they cry at all to Me, I will surely hear their cry; and My wrath will become hot, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless. If anyone among your thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
When we have suffered a personal offense—we have to decide how we will handle it. When we see a widow or an orphan being wronged—we will be held responsible if we don’t come to their defense.
Declaration: I will find new strength by seeking the wisdom of God and doing what is right in His sight.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.