Judges. Hypocrites. That’s how the church is often known in the world. Unfortunately, we earn it most of the time. Today we hear from Jesus that we shouldn’t be judging our neighbours. Our love for our neighbours will make a bigger impact on our community!
47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
One of the things that Christians are known for more than most other things in North America is judgment. We are the judges of our society. This is a slag more than anything, right? No one wants to be judged, yet when people think of Christians, they think of someone who will judge them and their behaviour.
Is that how you want to be known in your community?
Not me. And when I look at how Jesus lived and what he said, I see a contrast which should change our lives in the church. He said it in John 3:17 and he is saying it here in John 12:47. Jesus didn’t come to judge the world – he came to save the world.
So if our Lord did not feel that it was important to judge people when he walked our earth, why do we feel the need to judge people now? Jesus is clear: There is a judge and judgment will take place on the last day – on Judgment Day. Not before.
We should never be surprised that people who do not follow Jesus have views on life and behaviour which don’t line up with the Bible. We should never be surprised. Our role is to reach them with the freedom and grace that Jesus offers.
Freedom from what? Freedom from sin. We all sin. We shouldn’t be interested in pointing out the sins of our friends outside the church. We should be interested in building relationships with them so that they can get to know us as representatives of Jesus and hopefully they will grow interested in what Jesus has to say.
Once people want to listen to Jesus,
He has a lot to say about their lives.
Our job is to love them until they listen,
And then let the Spirit work in their hearts.