ROMANS 2:1-4: “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (NKJV)
OBSERVATION: What do Liberals and Conservatives have in common? It is not their political or world views. It is not their economic or social views. What Liberals and Conservatives have in common is what everyone has in common – sin! It is sin that makes me judge another, while doing the same thing myself. Sin pushes me to accuse others of hate speech, with a caustic pen, or an angry word. Sin pushes me to accuse and judge another man’s motives, without truly knowing their heart.
And sin, keeps us all from the one thing we need more than anything else – communication.
So what is the answer? It is humility and repentance. Paul reminds all of us that God’s goodness, His forbearance, and long suffering have been extended to man – to lead us all to repentance. We all deserve judgment, because we all are sinners. Yet, God in His great love, sent Jesus Christ to live a perfect life, without sin, without judgment, to take our punishment through His death on the Cross. It is only when we place our faith in Jesus Christ, and receive a new heart, that we are able to break the cycle of sin and judgment.
We are not perfect, but perfectly forgiven, and the recipients of the love of God. As sinners, redeemed by grace, we are then called to extend grace to others. We are called to have the mind and heart of Jesus Christ!
- “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:3-11 NKJV
This does not mean that we do not stand up for the truth. It means that we proclaim the truth from a position of humility and love. We do not make people agree with us by beating them over the head with our Bibles. We invite people to meet the one who alone can bring the transformation that will allow us all to speak and seek the truth in love. We do this, not because everyone will finally agree with us, but so that everyone will have the opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and become a child of God. We are to be invested more in loving than debating, willing to lay down our lives for God’s truth, and for the salvation of those who do not know Jesus Christ.
In the wonderful movie, End of the Spear, Missionary Nate Saint is asked by his son. – “If the Waodani (Indians) attack, will you defend yourself? Will you use your gun?’ Nate Saint’s answer stands as a challenge and reminder to all of us in these days of increased aggression and fear. He told his young son,
“Son, we can’t shoot the Waodani, they aren’t ready for heaven…we are.”
And so Nate lost his life in his effort to bring the Gospel to the Waodani Indians. But his sacrifice ultimately led to the transformation of an entire tribe that embraced the Gospel and came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Lord, give me the heart of Nate Saint. May I proclaim Your truth in such a way that I never compromise it, and that I always proclaim it in love. Like Stephen, may I be willing to give my life for the truth of the Gospel, and even when accused wrongfully, or misunderstood, my I stand forgiving, extending Your love, and pointing the way to Jesus. Forgive me for the times I have succumbed to anger and accusation. Grant me Your grace to extend Your goodness, so that men and women may come to repentance and faith.
In Jesus Name!