In the post to he blog, Jack’s Winning Words, to day Pastor Freed used this quote sent to him by a reader –“You’ll never look into the eyes of a person who God doesn’t love.” (Sent by Pr Jennie)
Freed went on to comment about God’s grace – forgiveness without recompense – and the fact that there is no sliding scale for sins or forgiveness. So, we don’t have big sins and little indiscretions, just sins. And God does not use a scale from 1 to 10 to measure out his grace.
As he usually does in his blog, Freed challenged the reader with a question – Paul, the one we call a saint, referred to himself as the “chief of sinners.” Would you ever say such a thing about yourself?
I seldom stand in front of the mirror admonishing myself as a sinner; however, I realize the sins that I have committed in the eye of God and stop occasionally to ask for God’s forgiveness and His help in not committing them again. Sometimes it is hard to look that guy in the mirror in the eyes and forgive him his sins.
I used the line from Pope Francis as the headline today because I think it is important within the context of all of us being sinners that we stop and ask that question of ourselves when our tendency to judge the sins of others takes over. The phrase “rush to judgement” comes to mind. We rush to overlook our own sins and focus on the sins of others. And, our focus is not to forgive them, but to shame or condemn them for those sins. We place ourselves in the roles of judge and jury and sometimes of executioner.
I have posted here before about the most striking examples of people following the example of God’s grace and forgiveness. One of those examples was reported on the news shows when parishioners from Emanuel African Methodist Church were interviewed after the shooter was arrested and convicted. The Charleston church shooting (also known as the Charleston church massacre) was a mass shooting on June 17, 2015, in Charleston, South Carolina, in which nine African Americans were killed during a Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The surviving members of the Bible study group when interviewed all said that they had forgiven the shooter and were praying for him. That’s just hard to wrap one’s head around. Yet, that is the level of forgiveness that God shows all.
So, while we may have a sliding scale of sins from 1 to 10 in our minds, they are all sins in the mind of God and he loves us so much that he forgives them all. God’s love and forgiveness is always a 10. So, who am I to judge the sins of others? My role should be to find a way to forgive and love them, too; even that guy that I see in the mirror.
Let us all take this piece of advice from Luke – “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37)
Have a great and forgiving day!