Memories remain of various times I have been the recipient of condemnation from those within the body of Christ (and those without), when I have messed up. Those moments have the power to rip out my heart and trample it, convincing me of how “bad” I am and destroying my hope. My heart breaks to think of times I have also treated others with similar condemnation. We are a fallen people. We will mess up, sometimes royally. However, our purpose is not to sit in the seat of judgment. That place is reserved for God alone. He will judge the actions of each person at His appointed time. Our purpose is to share the news of Christ’s gift of salvation, God’s offer of hope and restoration to a broken people.
What does God’s word say about condemnation?
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
“As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.”
If Christ was not given the task of condemning those who sin, what makes us think that we can do it?
(Oh Lord, please forgive us for taking on a task that you did not give to us. This task belongs to you alone.)
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”
Condemnation now has no place in our lives. Christ has set us free. We are to fully enjoy this freedom and share this knowledge of what he offers to those who do not yet know or understand. We should reject those words that seek to condemn us for the sins we are already forgiven; they are not from the Lord (don't forget who "the accuser" is...Revelation 12:10). God’s kindness leads us to repentance...not the condemnation from others who are just as likely to fail Him.
(see Romans 2:1-11)
God’s desire is to rescue us.
“‘Because he loves me,’ says the LORD, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.’”
“The righteous man is rescued from trouble, and it comes on the wicked instead.”
“He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”
“…the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,”
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
“…Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.”
1 Thessalonians 1:10b
We need to stop allowing God’s enemy to use us as weapons against those who are prisoners of this spiritual war. We are sent to rescue the prisoners, not shoot them. Those who have been on the receiving end know the difference between the necessary pain caused by the scalpel of a surgeon trying to remove a cancer (that will surely lead to death if allowed to remain) and the unnecessary pain caused by a shotgun blast of self-righteousness.