Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Our text for today is a passage very misunderstood by many people. "Judge not, and you shall not be judged: Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned: Forgive, and you shall be forgiven." Many people use these words as an excuse to remain in their sins.
"You can not judge me, only God can judge me. The Bible says so. " But this is not the way to understand this verse. It does not mean that we cannot distinguish between what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad.
Our text is a warning against an attitude. The tendency for us is to enjoy the judgment and condemnation of others, and to think of ourselves as more just or holy than others. But, the key to this passage are these first words: "Be therefore merciful, even as your Father is merciful." Our purpose should not be to look at others for errors or sins, but to show the same mercy that God has shown us.
"Or how can you say to your brother: Brother, let me take out the straw that is in your eye, when you yourself do not look at the beam that is in your own eye, hypocrite, first take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see well to remove the straw that is in the eye of your brother. " We must fix our own lives before we worry about the behavior of others.
However, this does not mean we should not say what is sin. On the contrary, in love we must speak with the brother, and a brother in the faith above all, to correct any external acts that are against the Law of God. Not to condemn him, but to restore him to a good relationship with God.
God has given us His Law, His will for us to live as His children. Salvation in Christ is not to continue on the path of the devil, the road to perdition, but to live as God wants us to live, with the help of the Holy Spirit. If we have received holy baptism, we have received the Holy Spirit. And the work of the Holy Spirit is to perfect us in faith. When we fall into sin, because of our human nature, with the help of the Spirit, not by our own strength, we can get up and walk once again on the right path.
We must think about our own behavior firstr, rather than criticize the behavior of others. But, if we have something against a neighbor or brother, if he has done something against us, we should have the attitude of mercy. We do not seek revenge, but justice, and the restoration of friendship and harmony.
If someone has stolen from us, we must first deal with him to recover the money or goods. If this is not possible, we must turn the case over to the authorities, because it is not merciful to let someone continue in a life of crime. If our son has stolen shoes from the market, it is not correct to say, well, there are many shoes on the market, it is not something serious. We must punish the son and return the shoes, because for the son's sake, we must teach him the consequence of the theft is jail in this world, and eternal death afterwards.
Also sexual immorality. Many times those who live in relationships outside of marriage say, "You can not judge me." But, the Judge is not us, but God. God has given us rules to live by, and the rule for sex is not sex outside of marriage, nor gay marriage or any other form of immorality.
But, in Jesus Christ, there is always the opportunity to repent and change your life. We can not change our lives without the help of the Holy Spirit. "Can the blind guide the blind? Will not both fall into the hole?" With the gift of the Holy Spirit, everything is possible, because the Spirit is God and is almighty.
As the church, our mission is to search for the lost sheep and gather them into the flock of God. It is not to condemn or seek the destruction of anyone. As St. Paul says in our epistle (Romans 8: 18-23), "For I am certain that the afflictions of the present time are not worth comparing with the glory that in us is to be manifested. Because the ardent longing of creatures awaits the manifestation of the children of God.” In this we have the hope and the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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