That is where the pendulum in my mind swings back around to love. Jesus did not come in his infinite wisdom to prove to us that we were messed up but to offer the solution (thus the verse in John 3:17 "God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world would be saved through him."). (Keep going to get my full thoughts here) I want to think about this for a moment. To know the attitude Jesus DID have, I want to understand the one he DID NOT have.
- to express an unfavorable or adverse judgment on; indicate strong disapproval of; censure.
- to pronounce to be guilty; sentence to punishment: to condemn a murderer to life imprisonment.
- to give grounds or reason for convicting or censuring: His acts condemn him.
- to judge or pronounce to be unfit for use or service: to condemn an old building.
The language here is harsh: "unfavorable", "disapproval", "guilty", "unfit". Though many of those things were true of mankind, all the connotations are notably negative. It's as if Jesus was acting in such perfect love of the Father that he came declaring the wonderful result of that love, his sacrifice resulting in salvation. I know mans sin was glaring to God, for he even sent John The Baptist to "prepare the way" for Jesus by declaring "repent!" Repentance means taking notice of a state of wrong, act of wrong, and turning away. Biblical repentance means turning away from our sin and toward Jesus. Of course Jesus wanted us to do this, John the Baptist wanted us to do this. Why though did neither of them use condemning language? Why did they not say things like:
"You are SO off!"
"You are filthy sinners!
"God disapproves of you!'
"You are unfit for the Kingdom of God!"
Ironically, this is more of the language that Jesus uses toward the Pharisees. I will get to more on that in a moment....
Though even John was saying "repent! for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" he was not speaking condemnation. I think this is for one important reason:
IT WAS EVIDENT TO MANKIND
It would be stating the obvious! The whole OT was a tool to make it evident, so Jesus does not have to say much more on it! It is still today. Our struggles, our selfishness, our greed, our lust, our hatred, our deceptiveness...it is all evident to us. It is not only evident to us as people, it is evident to us as a world of humanity. We know our own state. We may ignore it, paint rainbows in our minds around it, or far worse, compare ourselves to worse to convince us that it does not exist, but we KNOW.
On that note, I believe the reason Jesus spoke so harshly to the Pharisees was because they did not see themselves as sinners because their pride in following the law had completely convinced them they were righteous. They were more blind than the rest of humanity that Jesus had as an understanding "I get it" audience. He had to remind them of who they really were. That took some harsh language.
I don't have much more time for today but I say all this to say (and I know I will continue this theme for a while) that I need to watch my speech and OH EVEN MORE, my quiet attitudes for tones of condemnation. If I want to reflect the very heart of my Savior, the very sweetness paired perfectly with truth, then I have to be aware of prideful tones. If Jesus, the very flesh form of GOD, who created each galaxy and complex beings had the hierarchy to condemn (I mean the platform to legitimately stand on and point the finger should he want) and found that NOT the right approach, then how.....HOW can I possible use that? I have NO right to that spotless position. Who am I to think I can either speak condemnation or even worse imply it with my attitudes and lack of graciousness and welcoming the lost into my life?
It's very thought provoking stuff....and there is much more where this came from.
If you did not catch my first post it's here.