The religious stick with other religious, motivating one another. Once they start criticizing others who are not at their level, they cannot stop. It makes them feel powerful. After all, they believe they are the very elect!
Those same religious condemned Jesus:
“Jesus was forcing a demon out of a man. The demon had made the man unable to talk. When the demon had gone out, the man began to talk. The people were amazed. But some of them said, “He can force demons out of people only with the help of Beelzebul, the ruler of demons.” Luke 11:14-15 (GW)
“‘Certainly, a human is more valuable than a sheep! So it is right to do good on the day of worship.’ Then he said to the man, ‘Hold out your hand.’ The man held it out, and it became normal again, as healthy as the other. The Pharisees left and plotted to kill Jesus.” Matthew 12:12-14 (GW)
“They began yelling, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!'” Luke 23:21 (GW)
Jesus was completely different from his accusers. They acted with hate, He acted with genuine love at all times. This was his motto: “Love each other as I have loved you. This is what I’m commanding you to do. The greatest love you can show is to give your life for your friends.” John 15:12-13 (GW)
Jesus never condemned humanity. Instead, He took all our sins upon Himself and He willingly died on a cross so that we could truly be forgiven: “Christ carried our sins in his body on the cross so that freed from our sins, we could live a life that has God’s approval. His wounds have healed you.” 1 Peter 2:24 (GW)
We are encouraged to love anyone genuinely. That means, even our worst enemies! After all, love came to our planet and showed us the way to true love: “To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.” Luke 6:27 (MSG)
The One who loves us demonstrated his compassion by healing anyone: “Word got around the entire Roman province of Syria. People brought anybody with an ailment, whether mental, emotional, or physical. Jesus healed them, one and all.” Matthew 4:24 (MSG)
“So these three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the best one of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 (GW)
The good news is this: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 (NIV)
Those who condemn us know nothing about Jesus and our Heavenly Father. It’s all about love, genuine love! We either live for ourselves and our friends or we demonstrate indeterminable love towards everyone, just like Jesus did.
When Suzanne Spaak decided to join the Resistance, the Resistance was a bit hesitant. She was, after all, rich. Her dad was a famous Belgian Banker and her husband was a filmmaker in Paris. Besides, she had two children. Why would she want to join the Resistance? They doubted that she would be effective at all.
They didn’t reject her immediately, however, and once the Resistance got to know her, they discovered how much she genuinely loved persecuted Jewish children. She wanted to do something to help them, and she was willing to take any required risk. She was completely fearless.
Once Susanne was officially part of the Resistance, one of her assignments was to find a hospital that would be willing to take care of ailing Jews. She succeeded in her task. She even fearlessly knocked on the doors of judges, priests and authors, working to convince them that their duty was to take action against the persecutors.
Suzanne was an active participant in smuggling 60 Jewish children to safety. She even sheltered some of these children in her own home, providing them with clothing, ration cards, and naturally, lots of love. Throughout all of this, she continued to tenderly care for her own two children at home.
In October of that year, the Gestapo arrested her, and she was sent to Fresnes and thrown in prison. Here she was tortured and mistreated, but one thought kept her going: She had given lists of Jewish children and their addresses to one of the Resistance fighters, and as a result, all of these children were saved.
Just a week before the liberation of Paris, Suzanne was shot. She lived her life to the fullest by following in Jesus’ steps: “The greatest love you can show is to give your life for your friends.” John 15:13 (GW)
We are not here to condemn but to love like Jesus loved. He too gave His life for us so that we could experience real living.
What is your choice: to condemn others? Or to genuinely love them, even your worst enemies? What will be your New Year resolution?
(To access the entire “The Helpless Heroes and the Vindictive Prideful” devotional series, please click here.)