For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. – John 3:17
Jesus came to heal and restore, not to judge and condemn.
First, a reminder to read our 2017 Christmas Newsletter. It is full with updates and great photos. You can read it by clicking: “Grace Upon Grace: Rebekah & Derek’s 2017 Christmas newsletter”
Into the Home-stretch:
Now for today. It’s Saturday, and we’re pulling into the home stretch before the big Christmas weekend. However, rather than talk about all the parties and the excitement, today I find myself thinking about the effect of Christ’s coming on our day-to-day lives.
This thought is inspired by a comment I heard on the Real-Men-Connect podcast a few weeks ago. The host – Dr. Joe Martin – was asking a theologian some “what does the Bible teach about ______?” questions, and the conversation turned toward judgment. “Now we know such-and-such is wrong…” Dr. Joe said. However, instead of piling on with the judgment, his guest took another approach.
“I think sometimes we misunderstand our role as Christians,” the theologian responded (By the way, this was a few weeks ago and I can’t find the transcription, so I’m putting this in my own words). “We’re not here to point the finger at what’s wrong, our job is to provide love, and comfort, and healing. We’re here to serve, not to judge.”
He then used the analogy of a tragedy where emergency services are called. Too many Christians want to be the police, pointing out who is wrong, who deserves blame, and who and what needs to be called to account. But our calling is more properly akin to that of the people who show up in the ambulance. We are here to help, to listen, to bandage, to hug, to provide a glass of cold water, to be the presence of Christ.
“I’m not here to condemn anyone,” Jesus repeated more than once during his ministry, “my mission is one of invitation.”
Jesus is the Great Physician, not the Great Accuser.
It’s December 16, and Christmas is almost upon us. I want my faith to be such an invitation, I want the impact of the birth of Christ to be felt as a balm, a comfort, a river of peace flowing into this troubled world, I want the church to represent reconciliation and healing.
I want this for everyone.
I don’t know where some people get their love for finger-pointing, damnation, censure, judgment, disapproval, condemnation, and denunciation (or, maybe I do…); but I can tell you this – I know they didn’t get it from Jesus.
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.