Mercy and JudgmentBro. David Chancellor
2/15/2004 6:00 PM
Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
This story gives us a picture of what we might confront in life. Jesus was asked this question to see how he would stand. These came tempting. Some may come to us this way, also. These were trying to set up a conflict between judgment and mercy. They thought they could use this to determine how he stood. Jesus would be judged by what he did. When choices come, consider the issues involved. Jesus could see through the situation. If we would do this, we need Gods Holy Spirit to guide us. Jesus pointed them to their own condition. If were right inside, well be okay.
How we deal with things will show how God works in us. Christ wasnt interested in getting people told, but in doing what was right. We should be interested in doing whats right. How truth is delivered has to do with how effective it is. It needs to be given in the Spirit of Christ. We should care how things turn out for people. These purposely did this knowing that Jesus had a heart of mercy. They wanted to tear him down. People need to see the mercy of God on display. We should care about and be interested in others. God can bring people in line if theyll turn to him. Jesus put judgment on the ones wanting judgment, and mercy to the one that they wanted to put judgment on. These lost interest because they didnt get Jesus to do what they wanted him to do. When youre put on the spot, ask yourself what Jesus would do. Dont back down on the truth, but have a heart of mercy. Share the message of mercy. Jesus told her, I dont condemn you; go and sin no more. Christ didnt come to condemn, but he didnt come to condone wrong either. He came to forgive and to rescue. This should be our heart, too. Our message is, God has something better for you. If all we do is spread judgment, it wont help too many people. Jesus had worked hard to help; we should, too. We should try to show Gods goodness, love, and kindness, and leave the outcome with him. Stand for the truth with the love and mercy that comes from the Spirit of Christ.
O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word. I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me. How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
This is an exclamation. We should have a real love of Gods word. Things are always pulling at us. We dont do what is contrary to Gods word. We have a dislike for the false. If this carries over to where we hate people who are false, something is wrong. Love the sinner but hate the sin. Dont be hateful to those who are out of the way. The truth is always delivered better if the goal is mercy, and it is delivered in love. Dont pick up a bad spirit. We dont like the false ways, but we need to have a genuine care and concern for those in those ways. Hold up truth and right in a loving and merciful way. We dont love everything. We hate the false way, but we shouldnt want to blast people. Men need to see the spirit of Christ in us.
Likewise, thou son of man, set thy face against the daughters of thy people, which prophesy out of their own heart; and prophesy thou against them, And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the women that sew pillows to all armholes, and make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature to hunt souls! Will ye hunt the souls of my people, and will ye save the souls alive that come unto you? And will ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that hear your lies? Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against your pillows, wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make them fly, and I will tear them from your arms, and will let the souls go, even the souls that ye hunt to make them fly. Your kerchiefs also will I tear, and deliver my people out of your hand, and they shall be no more in your hand to be hunted; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life: Therefore ye shall see no more vanity, nor divine divinations: for I will deliver my people out of your hand: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
These were failing because they were hurting the righteous and were strengthening the wicked. They were promising the wicked life in their wickedness; telling them that they would be fine. We dont want to discourage the righteous and encourage the wicked. We want the wicked to realize how bad a life they have. We hate false religion because it deceives people. People going on in wickedness dont have life yet. We need to show mercy while getting the message out that theres no life for the wicked. We dont want people to think that they can go on in sin and be fine. We want the love of God to win souls. The work of the gospel is to inspire the faith of others to turn to Christ with their trials and find help. Its challenging to do this. We dont want to be indifferent about the truth, but we dont want to burn them either.
We dont want Jonahs attitude at Nineveh. Christ didnt call down judgment on people. We shouldnt be glad when people turn aside. There should to be a heart of love in Gods people that is really saddened when people miss out with God. We hold for the old paths, but we dont want to be heartless about it. We dont want to back down, but we want to be merciful. We dont have to condemn; theyre already condemned. Have compassion with the love and mercy of Christ. You can be straight, but tell people those hard words in love and mercy.