The Pivotal Truth About God and Judgment.
I once knew a man who wanted to become "religious” but was held back by one thing. He said he would have to change too much before he could turn to God. I imagine he felt his lifestyle was too different from Christians he knew. He would have to clean up his act before he could come to church or start thinking about religion. How unfortunate he bought into that lie. And shame on us, the people of God, for having a history of judgment. The church should be a place of acceptance, not judgment, no matter where you are on your journey toward God.
The last two weeks we have been inspired by the example of the wonderful woman Jesus healed in Luke 13. You can read the first post and the second post, then come back and keep reading here. This woman came to God as she was. She wasn’t presentable, perfect or without flaw. To be a person who comes to God, we do not have to be perfect.
Our relationship with God when we live on this earth will always be hindered by our sin.
God wants us to come to him as we are, brokenness and all.
We must come to Him before we are perfected because no one in this world will ever be perfect. It is after we get to know him that he begins to refine us and convict us and change us.
I have often thought in some way God is easier to please than the world. Isn’t that interesting? The world thinks of itself as extremely accepting. The world says, “anything goes.” And yet, the world also demands perfection in how we look, how we act, how we think. Look at the women on the cover of magazines who set the standard for beauty. The magazines airbrush and alter women who are already stunning. Think about how the world reacts when we express an idea they don’t consider “tolerant” enough.
The world thinks God is the one who is judgmental, the one who demands perfection. They see God as a tyrant, demanding money and devotion from His followers. But God is the one who takes us as we are, where we are, and loves us unconditionally.
Some of us have bought into the world’s lie that God is judgmental and the world is accepting. That’s upside down and backward. The world says it welcomes anyone, but you must be sure to earn a lot of money, and pursue fame and fortune. The world says no judgement here, but unless you are slim and fit, the world looks down on you as lazy or as lesser than. The world says it accepts anything, but not if you have deeply held religious views or believe in God.
The world says God is full of judgement, yet Jesus accepted and saved a prostitute who was about to be stoned. The world says God is only interested in the holiest people. Yet Jesus was the one who spent his time with sinners and despised people. The world says God condones violence in his name. Yet Jesus refused to be a political leader or overthrow the Roman government. The world says religion is about politics. Yet God is far more interested in your heart than in your vote.
Some of us have been Christians for many years. We know in our heads that God loves, accepts, treasures and adopts us into his family. But we continue to live as if God is judging us. We continue to feel shame over forgiven sin. We continue to compare ourselves to others to feel better about where we are in life. We continue to compare ourselves to others to feel sorry for ourselves.
What would it look like to live with full knowledge of your unconditional acceptance by God? Would you continue to harbor bitterness? Or feel shame for past actions? Would you worry that you weren’t good enough? Or would you pat yourself on the back for all the good things you have done for God?
I’ve noticed in my own life that I hear messages in my mind about what I "should" have done or "ought" to do. These thoughts are not from God. When you learn to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, you will see it is not harsh. His voice is not full of recriminations. He is not constantly fed up with you.
Satan wants you to believe his lies. But here is the truth:
- God loves you today, as you are.
- God accepts you and wants the very best for you.
- God desires a relationship with you because he loves you.
As he accepted the woman who suffered over for 18 years, he also wants to heal you from the things that weigh you down. He accepts you.
Interested in Bible Journaling? Romans 8:1 would be a great place to start!