[Jesus said,]”Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you.”
Confessing Who We Are
Jesus calls us to criticism of self over others. It is only by adopting Jesus’ truthful view of all of humanity that we can even hope to find the humility that will allow all of us to confess our own faults in front of the judgement seat of God. Indeed, it is our ability to confess our sins that allows us to escape the judging eye of the world – surrounded by the redeeming justice and mercy of God.
So what does this mean for us, reading these words in 2019? What can Jesus’ law of love possibly mean for us as enlightened, busy, anxious people today?
Loved & Forgiven
First of all, we must confess that we, declared enemies of God, have been both loved and forgiven. If our faith and trust are that even as sinner God has saved us; then that same faith and trust must be placed in the command to love our enemies and bless those who wish to see us dead and gone. In short, if God can love us how can we not love someone we may not like?
Let me put that a little less bluntly: if God has welcomed you and me into God’s kingdom why do we feel it is incumbent to still exclude others from a full life in this church? If this is God’s church why do we treat it as our own — especially when it comes to things like sexuality, gender or issues of social justice in our city and neighborhood? Is it because we are ashamed of our own roles in that exclusion? Do we really think we are doing God a favor by excluding those who might challenge our prejudices and beliefs?
Listen, my siblings in Christ. Just because our culture demands that we find ourselves on the left or the right on every issue doesn’t mean that we have to! We must be about God’s agenda not someone else’s. In His Sermon on the Plain Jesus makes very clear the preferences of God towards the very people that are most often excluded from life in our communities.
Jesus is giving us our marching orders as His disciples today. May we adopt always a stance of humility, grace, and mercy towards each other and our neighbors grateful that we do so because God first did it for us.