By: Lou Yeboah
Why want you, “First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye [Matthew 7:5]. That’s right, deal with your own sin, and then you can help someone else. Otherwise, don’t judge others because they sin differently than you do. For as [Romans 2] states, “Thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest does the same things.” YOU ARE A SINNER YOURSELF! How you going to call the kettle black? The next time you’re tempted to run down someone, remember James’ pointed question, “But who are you who judge your neighbor?” Judge yourself instead! [James 4:11-12]
I tell you, you remind me of the group of Pharisees and teachers of law, who brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus. They use her as a test case to trap Jesus. It was a clever trap. Yet Jesus did not step into it. Instead, He turned the trap on them. He said to them, “If anyone of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” [John 8:1-11]. He makes them judge themselves. Imagine that! “If anyone of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone…” Can I tell you that after what Jesus said penetrated, one by one they drop their stones and walked away until Jesus was left alone with the frightened and disheveled woman. That’s right. They were gone, “poof” nowhere to be found… And when they were all gone, Jesus straighten up from writing in the sand, looked at her and said, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she says. Then He went on to say, well there is one who is without sin. There is one who has the right and authority to judge and condemn you. And then He pronounced His judgment: “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. ‘“Go and leave your life of sin,” he concluded.
Understood rather than condemned. Saved rather than stoned. Sin exposed yet covered in His love. This story does not condemn the sinner, but calls the sinner to change, to be saved. Grace ushered in forgiveness.
So what’s the point? Jesus was above reproach in a way none of us could ever be, and yet He showed only compassion, not accepting sinful behavior but never rejecting the person who sinned. Maybe if we showed that same kind of love toward other sinners, we’d have more power and influence for good in the world and appear less like the hypocritical Pharisees. It’s His kindness that led us to repentance after all [Romans 2:4]. So, the next time you hear of someone struggling with sin, try resisting the urge to “pile on” and think to yourself, “There but for the grace of God go I.” Ask the Lord to forgive him or her as [1 John 5:16] instructs us to do, and if you get a chance, offer a word of encouragement. You don’t have to condemn the believer to prove that you don’t condone the behavior.
God’s grace, receive it and then go and sin no more. Frame these words and hang them on the wall. Read them. Ponder them. Bathe in them. Drink them. Stand below them and let them wash over your soul.
“Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he falls” [1 Cor. 10:12].