When judgment comes

There’s a lot of free-flowing judgment happening in our country these days. Whether from talking heads on news broadcasts, editorials and opinion pieces in the papers, from “friends” on Facebook, or in the Twitter-sphere, it seems everyone is capable of pronouncing judgment on someone else.

And the punishments can be severe.

Even if the self-made judge meant his judgment to go no further than a post or tweet, the consequences of his pronouncement can lead to a life devastated or destroyed.

Why would I want my word to be the final one on anyone’s life? Even the Pharisees realized that they weren’t going to be the one to condemn a woman, when Jesus told them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Who am I to judge?

Yet, even if I restrain myself from judging others, it does not mean a judgment is not coming. As James and Paul tell us, “there is only one Lawgiver and Judge,” and “he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

Jesus came first as Savior, but returns as Judge.

My dear friends, who live in America, we need to realize that this day is coming. As Ruth Bell Graham said, when reflecting on the downward spiral of our nation’s morals, “If God doesn’t judge America, he will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”

I don’t know that we will have the luxury of waiting for our judgment on the day of Christ’s return. We may receive a special punishment just as those notorious cities of long ago.

So what do we do?

As Christians, we need to be praying for our nation. We need to confess the sins of our nation before God and ask for his forgiveness.

We also need to be ringing the bell of warning–not through Bible-thumping, hate speech, but through a heartfelt witness to those around us. We need to call people to repentance, while reminding them that God loves them and wants to change their lives for eternity. It will only be as hearts are turned to faith in Christ that judgment will be slowed.

But for the grace of God, I deserved any of the judgments I might so freely pronounce on my neighbor. I need to remember that, before releasing my own self-righteous indignation to a broader audience, and instead, pray for those I long to judge and then reach out to them in love and witness.

I don’t want my country to get the fire and brimstone treatment; really, I don’t. So, instead of sitting, like Lot, by the city gate and warning people to stay away, I’m going to ask God to give me the courage and strength to be a change agent for the Kingdom.

What about you?

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