You’re worthless, beyond all hope!

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Elise Ryan got a critical note from an anonymous neighbor about the unkempt state of her house and yard. “Show some pride in your property and the property of your neighbors,” she read. It was part of a judgmental move by a neighbor who had nothing close to the whole story. Turns out that Ms. Ryan’s grandson has cancer and that she spends her days caring for him, which led to the poor condition of her yard.  When the note went public, her other neighbors did something amazing. They organized a day to help her get the grass mowed, the bushes trimmed, the leaves raked up.

Whether you will admit to it or not, you judge people. We all do.  The moment we are introduced we form an opinion about the other person.  In less than a second (really!)  we evaluate “like” or “dislike” based on age, appearance, gender, race, dress, facial expression.  Shocking to you?  Those first impressions tend to stick. It can difficult for a person to change our opinion unless we consciously choose to know and understand them.

Jesus tells us – “Judge not, that you be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1, NKJV)  Does that mean we sin when we form first impressions?  Is evaluation of the merits of another’s choices something we cannot do?  The word “judge” is about dividing, condemning, and dismissing!  We need to be able to discern and make wise choices, but we must not do so in a way that communicates to another that they are worthless. Christian, we need to hear and obey His word.

There are too many in real spiritual need who will not go near a Christian or darken a church’s door because they have heard rhetoric that communicates – “You are not us and therefore not a person of worth.” Whole groups of people have been swept away by thoughtless, judging words.  Jesus modeled an amazing grace that challenged people who were sinning to change but that did not condemn and dismiss them.  Zaccheaus, a tax collector, a collaborator with Rome who lined his own pockets with wealth, met the Lord on the roadway.  Jesus invited himself over to dinner (a shocking thing to do in that culture because it showed acceptance of the person) and in a conversation lost to history brought light to Zack’s darkened heart and the man was transformed.  The sinless Man somehow found Himself welcomed by the ‘sinners’ that lived around Him and His presence caused them to desire the living God!

Many is the person who has been hurt, sometimes terribly, by judgments proclaimed by self-righteous critics within the church. A gracelessness is often in evidence that fails to appreciate the process of justice, preferring instead to hand down a quick verdict and move on, no matter the consequences for some.  Jesus forbids this ‘judgment’ among us!  Oh, yes, we need to understand right and wrong, but in a word picture that must have provoked laughter in his audience, Jesus tells to deal with our own sin first, suggesting it may be worse than that of the person we are juding!  “Why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3-4, NLT)    When we wag our heads in disgust and repeat a juicy morsel of unsubstantiated gossip,  we place ourselves in the seat of the judge, but our judgment is flawed, hindered by our own lack of clear vision!

Are you critical of others?
Are you pointing the finger of accusation at this one or that one?
Are you deciding whose ‘in’ and whose ‘out’ based on your own personal preferences?

Stop, in the name of Love!  (Sorry, Diana Ross, just had to use that line.)  To the extent that we are secure in God’s love we are able to love others, even those who are in great need or open disobedience. Abandon quick decisions about the worth of ‘the other person!’  Pray much, listen lots. Like Jesus you can then become a force for good, an ambassador of the Gospel.

Here is a word from the Word.
“It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’
” So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another.
Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.” (Romans 14:11-13, NIV)

_______________

Reckless Love

(worship with this song about His love)

Before I spoke a word You were singing over me
You have been so so good to me
Before I took a breath You breathed Your life in me
You have been so so kind to me

O the overwhelming never-ending reckless
Love of God
O it chases me down fights ’til I’m found
Leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it I don’t deserve
Still You give Yourself away
O the overwhelming never-ending reckless
Love of God

When I was Your foe still Your love fought for me
You have been so so good to me
When I felt no worth You paid it all for me
You have been so so kind to me

There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me

Caleb Culver | Cory Asbury | Ran Jackson
© Watershed Publishing Group (Admin. by Watershed Music Group)
Bethel Music Publishing
|Richmond Park Publishing

CCLI License # 810055

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