Everyone is guilty of bad judgment from time to time. Whether it’s eating potent oriental food the day after you’ve had the stomach virus (you know who you are), or combining plaids with polkadots, or going to Toys R Us the day after Thanksgiving at 6:00 a.m. to get the doorbuster specials (been there, done that), we’ve all made some bad decisions. But that’s not the kind of judgment I’m talking about.
I’m talking about when you or I look at someone who has made that bad decision and thinking we are superior–that somehow, we are better than them because we have not commited that particular sin. It is like someone who gossips all the time shaking their head about someone who drinks too much or is sexually immoral. I hate to break it to you, but sin is sin. When we begin categorizing some sins as worse than others, we have inserted ourselves into the judgment seat. That’s not real smart, becasue the Judge is the only one who should be sitting in that chair. You and I aren’t equipped to make those kinds of decisions.
A few years ago I had a friend take me through the headquarters of a major U. S. corporation. The CEO’s office was open, so he let me in to see it. I walked over to the desk, sat in the chair, picked up the phone and pretended that I was ordering a bunch of stuff. Photos were taken and we got a good laugh. Of course, I didn’t really order anything–or touch anything other than the phone, for that matter. Why? Because I was not qualified to sit behind that desk, much less make critical decisions based on that position.
The self-righteous religious leaders of Jesus’ day hated Him because He taught that every individual needs, and can have, a personal relationship with God the Father through Christ the Son. This conflicted with their own personal worldview and undermined their own personal power, so they were constantly looking for ways to trip Jesus up. One such occasion was when they brought a woman caught in the act of adultery to Jesus. Mosaic Law stated that such a woman was to be stoned, and the religious leaders wanted to know what Jesus had to say about that. “Let’s see how smart this Jesus is now!”
Jesus’ response is telling: “So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.’ And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more’ (John 8:7-11).
Jesus Himself said that He did not come for the righteous, but for the sinners, for the spiritually sick (Matthew 9:12-13). We must never make the mistake of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, hating the person caught in sin or using them as a stepping stone to make us feel better about ourselves: “Well, at least I don’t do that”. Maybe not, but we do plenty of other things that are just as sinful. We need to point people to the cross of Christ, where the problem of sin was settled once and for all for those who will, with simple child-like faith, surrender their lives to Christ and recieve the forgiveness He paid for.