S (Scripture): Luke 6:27 “But I say to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 To the person who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other as well, and from the person who takes away your coat, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for your possessions back from the person who takes them away. 31 Treat others in the same way that you would want them to treat you.
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to be repaid, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, so that they may be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to ungrateful and evil people. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you: A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be poured into your lap. For the measure you use will be the measure you receive.”
O (Observation): Jesus outlines the basics of life as one who bears a cross. One who bears a cross will give without being reassured that payment will be given back. One who bears a cross will not take it upon themselves to judge others who do evil / harm.
Jesus reminds his followers that they do not sit in the judgment seat. Instead of judgment, God’s people are called to acts of mercy.
The reward Jesus’ followers will receive comes only through mercy. Perhaps doling out mercy is the way we receive true joy. Not in being paid back. Not in retaliation. In mercy.
A (Application): Another friend of mine recently posted on social media about how the “church” has judged her so much, and effectively drove her out of organized religion for a time. This is so frustrating. Where can we go when we mess up, if not the Church? Where can we go, when we are in need?
Social stigmas have driven people from the Church. Divorce, race, having children before being married, sexual orientation, financial status, piercings, tattoos, whatever the issue is…people have been judged because of these things…and a whole lot more.
Judgmental Christians (yes, an oxymoron) have closed the gates to the Church before some of these folks have even gotten the chance to know Jesus Christ, as lived out in a Christian community. This judgmental attitude shuts people off.
Instead, let us strive to be a place of welcome and acceptance. In this stance, we can talk about God’s will for us…together. We can discuss what need God is calling us into. This way, we can work with God, not against God.
In what ways has the Church judged you? In what ways have you judged others? (For me, I’ve judged others a lot based on their “commitment to Christ” and I repent of this.)
How have others been driven from the church? What was the issue?