I was saved at the age of 21.
I won’t go into the intimate details of that day, but it wasn’t good.
I had let a lot of people down in my life, including myself.
It would be easy to live a life of unforgiveness, but thankfully,
I intimately know the One who provides that forgiveness.
He loves me…..and that’s all that matters.
I no longer felt judged…..I just felt loved.
Through the years I have met people who share that they will never
step foot into another Church because they believe that they are being “judged”.
For a long time I wrote this off as “lies from the devil”, and in some situations
I still do, but recently, I witnessed someone being “judged” by a Church member….
and it hurt me deeply.
And that’s why I am here to write this post.
Because judgement hurts. Unforgiveness hurts.
And without forgiveness there can’t be healing.
And healing is what leads to brighter tomorrows.
In Matthew 7:1-3, the Bible says:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
But all too often, it’s us Christians that are casting judgement on those in our congregations.
It is us Christians that are casting judgement on those in our world.
Now I am not saying that we have to trust everyone.
Trust & forgiveness are two different things.
And I am not saying that we have to condone or enable them either.
I am just saying that we need to forgive them.
If we pray, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us”,
yet, we don’t really forgive them, then what we are saying is that we don’t accept
the forgiveness offered to us for our own transgressions.
I recently saw a young person, who had gone their own way & made some big mistakes,
come back home.
They were anxious about this because they were fully aware of the error of their ways.
Yet, they weren’t welcomed with open arms, as they had hoped.
For that matter, they weren’t welcomed at all.
They weren’t even offered a chance to be welcomed.
Is that a picture of the “Church” that we want the world to see?!
This scenario broke my heart…..not just because I know the young person that it happened to, but because all too often,
we as “Christians” look down our noses, and lay condemnation on those that are seeking the Kingdom.
And this doesn’t just happen to young people, it happens to adults too.
I have personally watched as “ministry leaders” berated & insulted those in service just because they didn’t agree with them.
I have had to personally work through forgiveness for those “ministry leaders”.
It wasn’t easy, but if I wasn’t willing to forgive them, then that unforgiveness would hold me in as much bondage as it does the offender.
We have to forgive if we want the world to see what Christ looks like.
We can’t claim forgiveness for ourselves, but then live like everyone elses transgression are not worthy of forgiveness.
I want this world to know & love the Christ I serve.
In order for that to happen we, as a “CHURCH”, has to be willing to put aside our personal opinions & let God have the judgement.
It doesn’t mean that you have to trust a thief with your wallet, or trust a murderer with your family, but if we don’t leave a window of opportunity for them to be a part of our “family”, then we can’t expect them to have a reason for true repentance. If we aren’t willing to openly forgive them then we aren’t giving them a reason to live otherwise.
Forgiveness brings healing.
Forgiveness doesn’t say that the hurt didn’t happen, it just says that we are willing to move past it and allow for second chances.
And who doesn’t want a second chance?!
Are we the “Church”?! Really?!
Let’s act like it then!