the right day to stop looking for the worst in people.
“There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you – who are you to judge your neighbor?” James 4:12 NIV
In this day and age, information is at our fingertips.
Much of that ability to obtain information can be used to enhance our lives, to educate and enlighten, and to help us grow spiritually.
Unfortunately, there is a disturbing trend to utilize our access to information as a means of “digging up dirt” about our friends, neighbors, and even those we love or are interested in getting to know better.
Arguments are presented justifying this activity out of concern for our personal safety, or the saftety of our loved ones, and that is a legitimate concern. The problem is that far too often, the black marks in a person’s past are used to formulate our opinion of someone today. We become their judge, and we take it upon ourselves to assume a role that we are repeatedly instructed in the Bible is God’s role and God’s alone.
No matter how an individual has lived his or her life; no matter what laws of God or laws of man he or she may have broken: no matter how immoral, promiscuous, or dishonest a person has lived their life in the past, all of these issues are matters for God to consider when passing judgment on a person’s life. As children of God we are specifically forbidden, as James told his audience, from taking it upon ourselves to judge another.
If someone has led a difficult and misguided life and finally comes to know and love the Lord and accept the salvation of Jesus Christ, what right do we have to judge their character and deem them not worthy of our time, our friendship, our fellowship, and our love? Perhaps our doubts that another person can change are a reflection of our belief that we, ourselves, are incapable of undergoing a major transformation.
Let us not forget what the Bible has to say about a person’s ability to change:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
There is a severe penalty to be levied on anyone who would claim to know God and then proceed to pass God’s judgment: the penalty for this hypocrisy will be determined when we stand before the One True Judge.
Our responsibility to God is to love our neighbor.
To do this, we must look for something other than their worst. We must look at everyone and find the face of God in them.
Taken from “TODAY IS….A Gift From God”, (C) 2013 Tony Casson