Saturday, February 8, 2014

Conviction vs. Judgment

Judgement is defined as: a formal utterance of an authoritative opinion.
I try my best not to judge others.  I understand that it truly isn't my place to judge others.  Judgment is Gods alone.  He is the only one worthy of doing so.  I could only have the authority to judge someone else if my life was in fact flawless, which is certainly not the case.  In fact, none of us are perfect, only Him.  Judging others isn't the life Jesus was about and that's not the life I seek to live.  Did he rebuke his disciples and the religious leaders, yes.  There is a difference though between the two. 
To rebuke means to: express sharp disapproval or criticism of (someone) because of their behavior or actions.  As Christians, we are called to be "sharpening" voices to help aide others in their walk with Christ, however, we must remember that we are NOT the refiner Himself.  I've made many mistakes in my life and am certainly nowhere near perfect, nor will I ever be.  I need God to forgive me, humble me, love me, and teach me daily. 

That being said, I'm not going to be afraid to stand up for how God calls us to live life; not out of judgment, pride or arrogance, but out of love.  My hope is to see others understand that God loves them unconditionally.  That the way He blueprints how we should live life according to His Word, is a life that He asks us to live to protect us and bring us the greatest joys; He won't ever force His Will upon us.  God has granted us free will.  He loves us too much to control us and simply asks for our faith; for us to trust Him. 

My hope is to love others as He does.  It's very important for us to realize and understand that true love changes us.  God's love is the constructive type of love; He is our perfect Heavenly Father.  It's at times disciplinary; real love doesn't always feel good.  Sometimes love is painful and sometimes it hurts.  The beauty of God's love though, is that it always serves a noble and pure purpose and we must be willing to look past our self-centered mindsets to see that.

True love never gives up and God never gives up on us!  My hope is to see everyone as He does; to cherish and value each life. My hope is to live life like Jesus; taking this world and it's people as they are, not as He would want us to be.  Does that mean God approves of everything we do; absolutely not.  What it exhibits is God's great mercy and grace.  Through Jesus, he forgives us and works towards refining us so that we might need to ask for it less and less.  Just as a child learns the hard way not to touch the stove when its hot, sometimes we must learn like that as well; even as adults.  Like a loving parent, God will be there to heal our injuries and provide us with wise counsel and guidance on why we shouldn't sin (hurt ourselves/others) again.

I pray to never think I am better than anyone else, but rather be transparent in my many shortcomings. There are certain aspects of my past that I regret, am embarrassed by, and even ashamed of. In the present there are many things I still need to learn and allow God to change in me. Yet I truly believe that God can turn our messes into inspiring messages, our trials and the testing times we go through into our testimonies, and our failures into victories; for it is not "I" that is great but it is in fact God in me who is great. 

Love is who God is; perfect and holy.  Not that puppy love stuff; the fully committed, lifelong, for better or worse love; true love.  Even though God is not afraid to allow us to fall flat on our faces, hit rock bottom, and challenge us to be the best we can be, HE IS the one you have always hoped for; the one who will love you, as you were yesterday, as you are today, and who you are becoming; for all eternity.

He simple wants you to follow Him, because He knows that when you do, your life will be greater than you could have ever imagined.  It can resemble the utopian life He imagined and created for us in the Garden of Eden.

He sacrificed His Son to prove His love; and there is no greater love than the type of love that lays down its life for another.

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters." - 1 John 3:16

Conviction is defined as: a strong belief or opinion.

I am a man of strong convictions, yet I also know so was Jesus.  I am learning more and more that it is not my place to judge others but to love others.  Although Jesus rebuked His friends and religious leaders, He hated no one.  Jesus commands us to love one another, as He loved us.  I can only control my own actions and I hope my actions love people to Christ, so that He may change them as He has changed me.  It's a great thing, not a bad thing...

I am still me; just a better me.

God is good!  I challenge you all to get to know Him; not through the media, but through the Bible.  It's your choice, no one can force you to believe.  God himself chooses not to force you either, it's one of the greatest things about God; He is fair and just and loving.


-Matthew     =)

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