Friday, 13 April 2012

Judge Not...

I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately, and several things have happened in the last month or so that have helped me in my thinking... or at least pointed me in a direction. In our very unsettled world today - wars popping up left, right and centre, natural disasters, a fragile financial sector - those of us with even the remotest interest in politics (and other associated subjects) are very quick to apportion blame. This is something, however, that I have never felt comfortable doing, and I squirm when I hear others doing it. Perhaps it has something to do with having read this verse from Matthew 7:1-2 in the Bible (which is very clear in its import, even taken out of context):
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
I guess it depends on whether or not you believe that Jesus means what He says. I do. Elsewhere Paul writes to Timothy, saying (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
We're so, so quick to say that our leaders are 'doing it all wrong' and that 'we'd do a better job than them'. You know, they probably said the same themselves, once upon a time, and now they've got the job. But there is so much we don't know. We don't know what constraints they are working against, for starters. They may have all the same ideas we do, but they just cannot do it. How frustrating could that be? Moreover, what a huge responsibility - to make decisions that affect millions of people. One's just NEVER going to get that right. There will always be someone who is unhappy. The old adage 'You can't please everybody' comes to mind.

This final verse that I'll share may seem to be unrelated to what I've just said, but for me, it falls into the theme quite nicely (Luke 10:20).
20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
These words are spoken by Jesus after the seventy-two disciples, who He had sent out to tell people about the coming kingdom of God, had returned boasting that 'Even the demons submit to us in Your name' (Luke 10:17). Jesus responds to this exclamation by pointing their focus towards heaven, and that they need to take their eyes off what they see and experience, and instead look to heaven (God) with thankfulness.

For me, the message in this verse is that, in all things, I need to focus my mind on God and the things of God. And above all, on God's grace in gifting me salvation through Jesus Christ. Yes, one sees what is going on in the world around, but one needs to see it through God's eyes, not one's own - and the difference is literally worlds apart.