Saturday, April 16, 2016

Who Am I to Judge? by Linden Malki

The other day I got a "warning " message through the grapevine that a long-time friend and customer of mine was suspected of being involved in an unethical and possibly illegal situation. I have not seen him in some time, have known him for years, never had a problem.  What bothers me is the ease with which people throw around accusations and attitudes; and speculations grow in the telling.  It's too easy to assume that someone with a smudge on their reputation is capable of any evil, especially when you don't actually know the person.

I'm reminded of incidents in the life of Jesus and the early church where people who considered themselves to be "good people'  criticized Jesus and HIs followers for associating with people who were seen as hopelessly sinful and beyond redemption. Jesus' answer was that is the sick who need a doctor.  He could see past the outside appearance and knew which hearts were open to Him--and which ones weren't.

Unfortunately, we don't have Jesus' supernatural discernment. We can make misjudgments both directions.  I found Chris' sermon on looking "across the street" to reach out  pretty scary, when I look at many of the people I see during my day.  I've always tried to be upfront about what I believe and why, and do have amazing conversations with people who come into my store.  I do have opportunities to pray with people and for people.  But we are also called to be "as wise as serpents and harmless as doves." In the long run, it is prayer that will give us mercy where appropriate and wisdom where necessary.  Please pray for me--I am being advised to move my business out of downtown San Bernardino.

We are responsible for our own behavoir.  God offers us the grace and strength to do what is right in His eyes, and part of our responsibility is to see with His eyes.  The tough question is what we do (if anything) about other people's actions.  If we have legitimate authority over another person,  our responsibility is greater.  The question of authority can be a major issue, requiring serious prayer.

Issues of leadership and authority were problems in the Corinthian church;  The Message puts it like this:  " We’re not in charge of how you live out the faith, looking over your shoulders, suspiciously critical. We’re partners, working alongside you, joyfully expectant. I know that you stand by your own faith, not by ours. "2 Corinthians 1:24 (MSG). 

1 comment:

  1. Amén, there was an occasion when I was leading a men's Bible study few years ago and someone came to me with an issue about what some people were saying something about another church member friend, I listen and hear to this person report but never gave my opinion about the matter, but I waited to until we start our bible class. We've had the custom to talk and share our day first before prayer (ice breaker kind of thing) but this occasion I suggested to play a "game" as I presented to the group of men, so I did this; I said to them the game is as follows, I am going to share something with our brother here (the person that came to me with the issue earlier) and he is going to tell the next person to his right privately and that person is going to tell the next person to his right and so on." All the group liked the idea, we were a group of 25 people and so by the time we had gone around and the message got to me as the starter and ender of the game I pulled the one brother with the issue to hear the last statement and to his surprise the report of what I have tell him to pass it around to his right had changed completely, he look at me and said thanks Pastor, I got the message. And he never put ear to any accusations about any other person if the person of whom anybody were to talk about was not in the midst of the accusers. Sometimes we must listen and heard what people got to say, but while listening and hearing we must pray throughout the report and use our gifts to teach and share compassion with one another. GOD bless your heart Sister and we will be praying for you. Blessings.
    Pastor Guillermo Flores.