Friday, March 11, 2011

I Am Just As Much Of a Jailbird As They Are

The other day, I passed several workers repaving a road near my home.  A couple of the workers had on black and white stripped outfits.  After a quick second, I realized who the workers were...prison inmates.  As I passed them by, I gave them a lazy wave.  In my mind, I also passed too many judgments on them to admit.  It didn't take but a few moments for the Lord to remind me that I was no better than they.  I know, in the eyes of society, what they've done makes them a criminal and therefore, having to wear a black and white jailbird outfit, is something they had coming to them.  I mean....they should've thought better before committing whatever crime it was they committed, right?  But in the eyes of the Lord, their sin was no worse than mine.  Whatever mistakes they made in life were no worse than the mistakes I've made in my life.  The only difference is that I didn't get arrested for mine.

You see?  In this world, we give sins some form of value.  We make certain sins worse than others.  And while I agree with anyone who says, "Well, having an affair on your spouse is definitely worse than saying a four-letter word after stumping your toe in the middle of the night," in the eyes of the Lord, truthfully, they are no different.  I bring this up only because not only have we given value to sin, we've allowed ourselves to excuse certain sins while not excusing others.  We say to ourselves, "Well, what he/she did is unforgivable."  What if that was the attitude of the Lord?  What if He chose to forgive only certain sins I had committed while not forgiving others?  Wouldn't that make what happened on the Cross a joke and pointless?

The truth is Christ forgives us for our sin each time we ask Him.  And I believe, He forgives us for sins we are completely oblivious to because He loves us and understands our human flaws.  Not only does He forgive us, but He forgets about them.  The Bible says He tosses them out as far as the east is from the west.  Bless God for that!!  So, my question is...if He can forgive me?  Why can't I forgive others?  We've all royally screwed up in our lives.  Truth be told, some of the things we've done really are unforgivable.  But because of the Cross, we have been forgiven.  I am no better than the inmates working alongside the road.  I am no better than the two criminals who were hanged on crosses opposite sides of Jesus at Calvary.  I am no better than the one person in my life who has hurt me the most.  I am no better than the woman who chooses to not like me because of my personality traits.  I am no better than the person who passes judgment on me each time she sees me based on information that was given to her by a dear loved one.  You see?  I am no better than anyone.  And neither are you.  We've been forgiven...REDEEMED...because of Jesus and the Cross.

Dear Lord,
Forgive me for when I have passed judgement on others.  Forgive me when I've bought into the stereotypes and actually believed I was better than someone else.  I am so ashamed.  Thank You for forgiving me.  Help me to remember the ONLY thing that makes me special is YOU and YOUR HOLY SPIRIT living in me.  Help me to see others the way YOU see them.  Give me Your eyes.  Give me compassion for Your children....the same compassion You've been so generous in giving me.  Help me to be a bold witness for Christ.  I pray that You will allow me to be light in the darkness.  Give me a sense of urgency to tell others what You've done in my life.  And if they find anything attractive in me, may it be only from You and about You.  You really do light up my life, Lord.  I love you, Jesus. -Amen

"Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.  On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing." -1 Peter 3:9 (NIV)

Don't live your life missing out on the blessings God wants to give you.  He and they are totally worth it.

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