So, let’s imagine for a moment that there is a large projector screen right dab in the center of the town you live in live streaming every one of your sins as well as them being streamed on social media: your negative thoughts: the rumormongering, backbiting, slandering thoughts or statements you make; the addictions you have that no one knows about; what your negative feelings are towards a person, persons or groups, the things you watch no one knows about: all your negative actions and reactions...
The reality of that frightens me! Should frighten us all. But we don’t give it a second thought when it comes to our own actions in our own lives. The screen we tend to focus on is that of others! We want to see the bad in others, judge them, point fingers at them, shame them on social media, mock them, all the while ignoring our OWN “stuff.”
When I see all the shaming comments made on Facebook when someone gets arrested for drugs, and maybe even children were involved in some way, the shaming and downright brutal comments flow with expected frequency! And each one of these comments I see, I wonder… Hmm, I wonder what THAT person has going on in their life, after all, they must be perfect if they are making a statement like that! And to top that off, they MUST know the person they are making that statement about and know all their circumstances because they couldn’t possibly be statements out of Ignorance! What if each one who makes statements like that were automatically followed by imperfections in that person’s life. What would show up on your screen?
Romans 3:10-18 says this: “NO ONE is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are quick to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
This puts us ALL on the same level. No one is more righteous or better than anyone else, we are ALL equally bad without Jesus Christ. And what’s worse is those who claim to be Christ followers and yet continue to act in this way!
The good news is that we have a God of mercy and grace! I love Psalm 103 because it deals with God’s mercies!
Too many times in our lives we expect nothing but judgment and pointing fingers from people. One of the people I counseled in the past was in my office one day. I could tell something was up, but I tried to allow the individual to share on their own and not push it. When nothing was brought up, I asked what was going on, that I felt something was on their mind and they weren’t sharing it. After much trepidation, the individual finally told me she had relapsed. So, we talked about it and prayed together. What the individual expected was judgment. What they received, however, was grace and mercy.
This is the exact reason so many people stay clouded behind their addictions and problems, and keep things inside because they are afraid of how people will react.
How can we show anything but mercy and grace to people when we have received the same grace and mercy from the Lord… and continue to receive it on a daily basis!?
I was at a funeral not to long ago of a young man who died of a drug overdose, and one of the things going through my mind is leading up to his death, how much mercy was this man shown and given? Or was it filled with the same kinds of comments so many make on the Facebook posts of those caught up in addictions? Granted, people still need to be held accountable for their actions, but what usually leads an individual into this state is when they begin to be judged and shamed by so many so often.
I find it way too hard to see the faults of others (their sawdust) because I got too many logs in my own eyes! Our God is a God of love, mercy, grace and forgiveness, and when we “follow” Him we also mimic those attributes. The opposite is expected of those who are unbelievers because life is about them, but for those of us who are born again… how are we doing?
“Sticks and stones…” Is a lie of the enemy. Words do kill people. Our words either give life or death. What category are your words? Jesus came to seek and save the lost, not shame them, judge them or mock them. Speak life today!