My own personal stance against religious hypocrisy - both my own, and any others who seek to hurt people in the name of God.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Let Us Be Slow to Judge and Quick to Forgive

You know, it seems like everytime something bad happens (to someone else) we get a rush of over-exuberant preachers announcing that it is God's judgment on whoever it happened to because they are reprobates. The truth is, this is not a scriptural stand.

Consider Nineveh. It was a mighty city. It was also an offense to God. Ultimately, it would be destroyed. But what was God's method? Let us look at the book of Jonah to see.

Jonah Chapter One (New King James Version)

[1] Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amitai, saying,

[2] "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me."

What is God doing? He is warning the people of Nineveh beforehand.

Surely the LORD GOD does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets. Amos 3:7 New King James Version

God does not "spring" things on us. He warns us beforehand. It only seems like he has done so because so often we fail to listen to the warnings.

People have always assumed tragedy - when it happens to others - is a result of their sin. This I read just this morning.

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him." John 9:1-3 Revised Standard Version

And there is this from Luke.

Luke Chapter 13 (New King James Version)

[1] There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

[2] And Jesus answered and said to them, "Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things?

[3] I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.

[4] Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem?

[5] I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.

When tragedy strikes anyone it should make us think of God. But not to blame him for allowing it, or accuse him of punishing. God is not into punishment. Not yet. The days of his wrath are reserved for the Tribulation, and the Anti-Christ. We are currently living in a time of grace.

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, whoever you are, when you judge another; for in passing judgment upon him you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who do such things. Do you suppose, O man, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume upon the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not know that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:1-4 Revised Standard Version

Judgment is delayed because God is being kind. God is being kind because he wants us all to repent and is giving each of us time.

When bad things happen it's because bad things happen. Evil is in the world and it lands where it will. God protects us, but not all of the time. We all know the story of Job, a man richly blessed by God. God withdrew his protection of Job in order to show the angelic host what true faith really is. Faith goes beyond what is happening. It leaves off with the immediate and focuses on God. To the unbeliever this is insanity. To the believer it is their ultimate comfort.

The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they rae folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14 Revised Standard Version

Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life. Others sufferd mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed wtih the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated - of whem the world was not worthy - wandering over deserts adn mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though well-attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had forseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Hebrews 11:35-40 Revised Standard Version

It isn't about what happens here. It's about what happens later.

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