Create a vision
Create a vision of what people can become like:
- ✓ Their character.
- ✓ Their relationships with other people.
- ✓ Their inner feeling of peace and wholeness.
It is not our task to criticise or condemn.
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it but to save the world through him.” John 3:17 NIV
This statement comes immediately after John 3:16, the most well-known verse in the Bible.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” NIV
God loves people with an absolute, intense and immense love. It is God’s intention to save, not condemn. This should be our objective also.
When Jesus spoke with the woman at the well He did not condemn her or criticise her for having had five husbands and living out of wedlock with the sixth man. Society did that. Jesus saw her heart need; a need for the water of life, a refreshing of the inner person. Please refer to John 4:1- 26 for this story. So, let us ask God for insight into people’s heart needs.
When the religious and political leaders brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus He did not condemn her, even though this was clearly against the law of the land and the laws of scripture.
Perhaps one reason was because He knew that the primary motive of her accusers was in fact to accuse Him, to find fault in Him. On the flip side, He most definitely did not approve of her actions.
His final comment to her was “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” Not condemning people does not mean that we condone their practices.
We may find them abhorrent. They may be clearly wrong. But let’s recognise that it is the love of God, combined with the Word of God and combined with the Spirit of God that will set them free – not our criticism.
“If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.” John 12:47 NIV
Since Jesus did not come to judge but rather to save then we should emulate Him. We may not like what someone is doing or saying, or the attitude they have. In fact it may be downright awful and contradictory to the Word and will of God. We do not need to approve of their actions, words or attitudes. We can strongly disagree but it is not our task to judge and condemn them as people.
Here is an example: Nigel (name changed) rang me for the first time because his friend told him I was able to help him through his serious issue. The phone call lasted for about an hour. During this time he mentioned the issue he was involved in and that he was practicing it while on the phone. At the end of this call he said, “You haven’t condemned me”. My reply was “I would have to stay away from mirrors if I was to criticise you.” As a result, in a subsequent phone call, he asked to meet me. This led to more than a couple of years of discipling. Understandably, there was much stumbling along the way. But now he continues to grow in his commitment to God and to developing his relationship with God.
Let’s acknowledge that it is not people who are the enemy of God. It is old ugly, the devil. People are highly valued and sought after by God.
Having said that, perhaps it is worth noting that we need to be careful to have a balance. To have a complete view of the character of God. We need to beware of creating an image of God who is:
- All mercy and no justice;
- All love and no wrath;
- All grace and no judgement;
- All accepting and no rejecting;