Tag Archives: Judgement

Examining Self

Jesus-Lived-for-Righteousness-PAGELiving in the Spirit
May 25, 2016

Scripture Reading: Psalm 96

Say among the nations, ‘The Lord is king!
   The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved.
   He will judge the peoples with equity.’
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
   let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
   let the field exult, and everything in it.
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the Lord; for he is coming,
   for he is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
   and the peoples with his truth. –Psalm 96:10-13

It has been a source of great perplexity, why we, who call ourselves Christian, devote so much time and energy to debated Biblical minutia while ignoring the preponderant issues it includes. It is particularly vexing regarding some type of judgement we may be facing. Our scripture today says we will be judged with righteousness. Another word for that is justice. This seems to have a double meaning. The judge will be just and the criteria for making a judgement is based on how we measure up to God’s righteousness.

I must say I do not think some Christians put much stock in judgement. They relegate it to bygone beliefs. Others seem to think judgement is measured by how well we follow what they perceive to be God’s laws, although most seem to pick and choose among the 613 that are expressed in the Hebrew Bible. There is a third group that seem to think their goal is to be more righteous than others. We are after all a competitive society.

I will confess I have no idea how judgement actually occurs and I find it prudent to consider it a journey with the Holy Spirit throughout our lives. It involves making righteous decision on the fly in every day ways as well as taking the time on a regular basis to examine ourselves in the presence of the Holy Spirit to weigh and correct our own commission and omissions in life that separate us from God.

Prayer:
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me. * Amen

*Taken from the Lorica of Saint Patrick see at https://www.ewtn.com/Devotionals/prayers/patrick.htm

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized 
Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council 
of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights 
reserved.

Enabled Love

Love is not proudEpiphany
January 28, 2016

Scripture Reading: I Corinthians 13:1-13

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things –I Corinthians 13:1-7

There have been a lot of noisy gongs sounding recently, and clanging cymbals, but I have not noted them being sounded in the name of love. When a people, called to love, places what they believe above their love for others, what they believe becomes idolatry. That is a hard concept for all of us.

I hear some say we should love the sinner but not the sin. An impossible task, I think. The old hymn states it well: God welcomes us just as we are. If there is any changes need, that is between the person and God. We cannot hate the sin in another, if we also practice Jesus’ instruction not to judge. We are called to love and, I think, God uses our love mixed with a whole lot more of God’s love to work through anything that might be separating me or others from God. We really are not even capable of seeing our own sins much less anyone else’s.

Thus God gives us the gifts of patience, kindness, humility, unselfishness, and peaceful countenance.

Prayer: Grant me the full measure of your love and let it pour forth through me to all I meet along the way. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized 
Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council 
of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights 
reserved.

Judgement and Forgiveness

taking-off-your-judges-robe1Epiphany
January 13, 2016

Scripture Reading: Psalm 36:5-10

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
   your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
   your judgements are like the great deep;
   you save humans and animals alike, O Lord. –Psalm 36:5-6

Isn’t it interesting that the phrase from the scripture above: your judgements are like the great deep; is followed immediately by you save humans and animals alike, O Lord. This implies that the purpose of judgement is the opportunity to save. It seems to me we humans are more apt to apply judgement to condemn.

Many countries around the world work really hard at turning around those who have been convicted of crimes, reclaiming their worth for society at large. There goal is much more than the restorative justice for which many of us long in the USA.

I recently watched the news report of a man released from prison, who had been exonerated after serving 30 years on death row for a crime he did not comment. Middle-aged now, he learned about GPS devices in cars as he rode away from the prison when a woman’s voice came from the dashboard giving directions. I couldn’t help wondering why we would hold people in prison with no concept of what was going on about them in the world to which many of them should return someday.

In Matthew 25 Jesus is pretty clear that he will judge us by the good we do. He forgives us when we stray from our relationship with God and reclaims us for our worth to his Kingdom. He sets an example we all need to follow.

Prayer: God of Grace we thank you for your forgiveness and your guidance. Give us the courage to follow your example in our attempt to restore those who have committed crimes. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized 
Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council 
of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights 
reserved.