Judging? How ignoring your neighbors denies them salvation
I’ve become aware that I have been standing in the way of heaven, making judgments on who could enter and who couldn’t. I have literally been judging my neighbors, and I never realized it! Ya,ll God has been working something out within my heart, and I want to share it with you.
Conviction in my heart:
I tend to close myself off to my neighbors. “they’re not like me”, “they’ll snicker at what I have to say”, “they’re not gonna listen anyway”. Too many times in the past, I’ve made a determination that a person wasn’t living the “right kind of life” and wouldn’t be tender to the words Jesus would have me speak to them….so I didn’t.
***I want to make a note here-what I was (am) doing is much different from when the bible says not to reprove a scoffer because he will hate you for your reproof (Proverbs 9:8). I wasn’t using discernment. I made judgement before & without praying for folks. I didn’t even give them an opportunity to hear the words of the Bible or let them see what the kindness of Jesus really looks like.
Let’s consider Saul, shall we:
Jesus says to Saul “it is hard for you to kick against the goads” (Acts 9:5-KJV) What Jesus was saying here is, Hey Saul, you’ve been trying to fight it, and it’s getting too difficult isn’t it? See, God had been pricking Saul with conviction, and Saul had been trying to ignore it. God knew what was going on in Saul’s heart, and He knew how long it had been going on. He knew that there, on the road to Damascus, Saul would be ready for the conversion.
What I’ve come to understand is God was working on Saul while nobody even knew it. While Saul was deep in his work, persecuting Christians, he was also working to shake Christ from his own heart.
How can I know the dealings of another mans heart? How do I know if God’s pricking them?
After studying through Saul’s conversion I had to ask, who am I to stand between hell & salvation making judgement on who’s ready and who isn’t?
I have to be willing recognize that, even if I don’t know it, God may be working in the heart of the very family member that’s been working on my nerves. Or that neighbor I’ve watched from afar, judging, and deciding if they were ready, or worthy to speak to?
Saul was the Antichrist of his day and the mere mention of his name struck fear into the hearts of Christians. Now, while we’ve all encountered difficult people, I can assure you they’re probably not half as bad as Saul!
Friends, I’m taking a stand against my old ways today. I won’t be weary in well-doing, I won’t give up on the people around me, and I won’t let Satan use me as a gatekepper. I WILL be the hands and feet!
After all, Jesus died for me while I was out sinning all over the place! (Romans 5:8) I’d hate for the same ruler I used on others, to be used against me (Matthew 7:2)
I want to share with you the versus that have pricked me
- James 4:11-12 (NIV)
11: Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? 12: here is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
- James 4:11-12 (Message)
11-12 Don’t bad-mouth each other, friends. It’s God’s Word, his Message, his Royal Rule, that takes a beating in that kind of talk. You’re supposed to be honoring the Message, not writing graffiti all over it. God is in charge of deciding human destiny. Who do you think you are to meddle in the destiny of others?
- Matthew 7:1 (KJV)
Judge not, that ye be not judged.
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