Unforgiveness. Deciding what is and is not right. Condemnation. It is time to think on paper again after a conversation on Facebook. During it, I typed, “If you harm me, I have to forgive you as the wounded party. Forgiving as I’ve been forgiven.”
Who has the right to forgive? The one who was hurt and whoever made the law that was broken. To me, that is God. We have a sense of right and wrong placed inside us, but we cannot condemn or forgive, unless it is directed at us. If there is not a moral law inside us, then no one can condemn or forgive, since there is not a standard to go by.
Then I was thinking through how someone can point out something that is harmful or not right without condemning another. Then it clicked-a parent with a child, a friend with a friend, pointing out a fact while looking out for the other. Not doing it in anger or hatred, but with love, trying to bring them back on a course where they will not hurt themselves. Every action can have a myriad of consequences in various contexts, the seemingly innocent leading to pain afterwards. Helping someone avoid it before it is too late is love, not hate. An improper judgment is done in hypocritical arrogance, usually based on an opinion that has no foundation other than how we feel it should be. Persuading someone to avoid behavior that will hurt him or her or others is not. Do it with hands open, not with a fist holding a rock.
John 8:1-11 (NIV)
8 1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
As Pastor Rod said Sunday, throwing verbal rocks doesn’t show people God’s Grace and make them want to turn their lives around. It does the opposite, it pushes them away.