I hope you are not offended by the idea that we are still on this topic of...offense. See, it is truly a big deal. It is a heaven or hell issue. It is a spiritual leadership issue. Yes...if you are prone to holding offense, you cannot lead, spiritually. You have to be able to endure persecution. You have to be able to forgive those who constantly speak against you. You have to bless those who curse you. Still once you get over the initial shock of having to act the exact opposite of your natural and carnal impulses, you'll see that the idea of LOVING mercy (Micah 6:8) is not too difficult. It really boils down to coming to the end of yourself (as Inelda so eloquently shared last week).
This week, we will discuss the offspring of offense: Judgements.
Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. (Romans 5:18).
Offense leads to judgement. God, who is perfect in all of His ways, and held within Himself the plan to redeem all of mankind through the blood of His Son is the only true and righteous judge. He has the exclusive right to judge as He sees fit. So the idea of offense, leading to judgement makes sense when speaking of God, who holds the power of life, death, and resurrection. Mankind was in so much bondage to sin, that God had to give us his Law to show us just how much of an offense we were committing. Then, His judgement pronounced us guilty, and we were unable to work our way out of it.
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:19-20).
God's righteous judgement is designed to expose us as us guilty. We on the other hand, do not have the same right to pronounce such a verdict on another human being. While His judgement is righteous judgement, our judgement leads to sin. It puts us in a place of assumed (and false) superiority over the one we judge. In judging others, we find ourselves in the state of being sinners, accusing sinners of sinning against our sinful selves. The truth is, every abuser is a sinner. Every abused person is a sinner. The entire world is filled with tainted people hurting and judging tainted people. The only way out is mercy, which by no chance, is a primary attribute of God.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest an man should boast (Ephesians 2:4-9).
We were created to be good! We were not created to be a problem to God. Still, the enemy tries to decieve us into thinking that we are some type of mistake. However, God is not incompetent. I know it sounds basic, but read this deeply: He knows how to make people!
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Ephesians 4:10).
The only way for this to happen was through His rich mercy, which as we know triumphs over judgement. It renders judgement powerless. Yes, He in His great love, made a way for mercy to be possible for sinful men, even knowing that His character does NOT clear the guilty. This is only possible through Jesus -- the guilty one of Exodus 34 who for our sakes, would not be cleared.
A lot had to happen for us to have this great salvation. Calvary's cross cost a lot. To take upon yourself genuine godliness and cancel judgement to show mercy to another human being in Jesus' name (even if it to your loss) gives proof that you have decided to enter the Kingdom. It means that you no longer look at people according to their sins against you (Psalms 103:10). It means that you were serious when you recieved Jesus (Matthew 5:7). It means that your prayer life is valid (Mark 11:25). It means that the judgements toward you will be filled with mercy (Matthew 7:1-2). You will read what you sow (Galatians 6:7-9). If you cancel the judgments you have against others today, mercy will be your reward. True freedom will be your inheritance, right now.
Finally, think of your offender. It may be a parent, child, spouse, former friend, social media troll...anyone. In prayer, let...them...go in this way: "Father, I forgive them from the heart, in Jesus' name. Pour blessing upon their lives. Let them be found in you. Make a way for them to enter your kingdom. Bring mercy, not judgement to their lives."