Posted by: Bro. Lawrence D. | April 27, 2009

What if it Was Me/You…….?

II Samuel 12:1-7a (NASB) “Then the Lord sent Nathan to David, And he came to him and said, ‘There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a great many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb which he bought and nourished; And it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom. And was like a daughter to him. Now a traveler came to the rich man, And he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd, to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him; Rather he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.’ Then David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, ‘As the Lord lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.’ Nathan then said to David, ‘You are the man!….'”

Matthew 7:1-2 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”

 

Often times I am approached by different people, with different motives, inquiring of me concerning the salvific status of another individual. Usually their tone of voice gives the sense that this is a matter of great concern to them. But the inquiry itself is also usually posed in the form of an accusatory, rhetorical question. The question itself is usually prefaced with details of some indiscretion, which the person in question has either been seen or heard of doing. For example, “Lawrence, I saw/heard so-and-so(fill in any name here) smoking/cursing/gossiping/lying”. Or “Lawrence, (fill in any name here) was caught (fill in any sinful action here)….do you think they’re saved?” 

Now there was a time when I was so offended that the alleged offender was claiming to be a Christian and allowing themselves to be caught doing whatever it was. Then there was also a time when I, without doing my own investigation, would join in the condemnation of this individual and consider myself quite righteous for doing so.

Over the last few years, many different factors have gone into my new outlook on these types of questions. Things such as having really studied grace and its many implications concerning salvation. Or having gone through being confronted with many of my own sins and shortcomings. And even the fact that being so distant theologically from where I was just a year or so ago. All have played a part in  giving me a new perspective, attitude and response to such questions.

Now I’m more inclined to have no judgment at all. No response whatsoever. I feel so relieved to now be able to plead utter ignorance concerning the salvific state of another person. Sure, I can assess the alleged action committed as right or wrong. I can even call a certain position held by the person in question, inconsistent, so far as I understand the scriptures. But what I am not required to do, andI even now find spiritually dangerous, is to decide whether or not an individual is saved. That leaves me free to now pray for them. If I have the opportunity, I can minister to them. Perhaps, I can even hear their side of the story and either sympathize or even excuse their action. Whatever the case may be, I can now be an advocate rather than judge and jury.

But one particular possibility came to mind and it’s shown in the story of Nathan and his testing of David. What if I had done or said something that another individual believed to be inconsistent with my claims of being a Christian? (And trust me, I have!) What if, because of my usually self righteous behavior, the person felt that there was no other way to get me to admit that I was wrong than to project the act upon another person knowing that I could easily find fault with another? How embarassing would that be?! But my Christian brother/sister, we do this all the time. We are quick to judge and condemn. But we are very slow to show mercy, kindness, grace or patience. 

 

So the next time you feel the urge to jump at the chance to condemn another when you’re being asked “Do you think so-and-so is saved?”, just stop and think to yourself…..

What if the person asking the question, were talking about me?

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Responses

  1. Amen. Amen, and this is daily struggle as one who comes from a judgmental and critical background. Have mercy on me a sinner! As the tax collector lowered his eyes!

  2. Bro. Lawrence,
    It seems we are walking in parallel. I have been and am coming out of this type of judgement.
    It is hard to break free from the bondage. Praise God for His mercy endures and He shows it everday toward me. Now if I would just do that also.
    Thank you for this…
    Steven

  3. I am also standing in this line as well. Sometimes we get so engulfed in the need of being apologetic that we forget to show love and mercy as you have so elegantly wrote.

    Thanks for that punch in the face.

  4. Brothers,

    I believe that we all struggle in this area as we grow in knowledge. The more you know, the more wrong you can see. Unfortunately, it’s in others that we see this wrong and not ourselves. I think the solution is to strive to become examples instead of “mouthpieces for God”. As a living example following Christ, we do so much more than judgmental words ever do.

  5. Amen.

    My standard response to such gossips and talebearers is: Why are you sinning by telling me about what you have supposedly observed? Have you spoke to this individual in private about your concern for their welfare? Please do not do this to me again.

  6. Brother Hutch,

    I wish I had such boldness. As my mother would say, “God didn’t make my ears to be garbage cans!”.

    Pray that I would have the courage to do so.


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