Thursday, 21 December 2017

If the Thought of Christmas With Your Family Makes You Cringe



Some of you will have family circumstances that are less than ideal heading into Christmas. You may be feeling the weight of the coming gatherings begin to push you down and rob of you of the “festive spirit”. You may wonder if you are the only one not dreaming of dancing sugarplums, but instead losing sleep on what waits for you around the corner. 

Take heart my friend. 

Christmas is not about an idyllic scene from a movie with the whole family chortling arm in arm as they belt out carols by the roaring fire in sweet harmony. 

It is not about whatever image of perfection you have made it out to be in your mind. 

Christmas is about a God, who loved his people so much, that he stepped into the mess of humanity to redeem it all. Christmas is about dirty, filthy, unlovable people being saved by a mighty and powerful God even though they did not deserve any of it.

 “...but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Christmas is about redemption. Period.

God’s redemption can bring about all the peace, joy, hope, and love that we associate with Christmas and beyond. But, before we could even see his grace for what it was, it first had to enter into the darkness of a fallen world. Right there, in the middle of the darkest of days of Israel, came the birth of the Prince of Peace, born in the middle of the sins of humanity. 

Redemption happened when God stepped out of his perfect kingdom and walked in the darkness alongside his children to save us.

If you’re feeling blue, or discouraged, or embarrassed of the less than perfect picture you will walk into this season, let God’s redemptive grace wash you anew. Allow yourself to let go of “perfect” and embrace the mess knowing God’s redemptive plan is still at work in all of us. Despite the mess we may be in, God is still a God who will roll up his sleeves and step into our darkness to redeem. 

There is joy in knowing his grace has not grown stale. 
There is hope in knowing He has not forgotten any one of us.
There is peace in knowing He will not give up on the lost.
HE is love that abounds so deeply it can wash over the gnashes of hurt and pain, cleansing us into holiness.

Blessings on you all this Christmas. See you in the new year!

Love,
Sarah


Photo by Kaboompics // Karolina from Pexels 

Sunday, 10 December 2017

A Season of Transition


It was late August when the first leaf began to display the faintest tinge of yellow. 

“Look,” my daughter exclaimed in sheer glee, “summer is almost over!”

I knew fall was around the corner, there was a crispness to the morning air that had not been there until then. But that’s not what she was excited for. No, her excitement was for a day much later than autumn, and beyond the days of crispy leaves. Her mind had already focused in on Christmas. 

As the leaves became speckled in oranges, reds, and yellows over the coming weeks her anticipation bloomed into daily musings on the coming Christmas season.

After much negotiations her and I, one of us more than the other, agreed we needed to wait until after Thanksgiving before we turned our thoughts to a new season. 

The turkey had barely been put away (keep in mind, we have our Thanksgiving in October), when she promptly began asking if we could set up the tree. 

*sigh* 

She was relentless.

Finally, the day arrived, sooner than I would have liked, but much too delayed for her, where our living room became an explosion of lights, ribbons, and all things that glitter. She was in her glory dancing around the room! She thoughtfully gave ranking order to each fragile heirloom and decided which needed to be in plain sight, and which could be tucked neatly scattered with wild abandonment into a corner. 

That night both girls asked for a few extra minutes to stay up and “discuss” Christmas. This was a serious matter of the heart that needed addressing before sleep filled their little eyes. 

We are now into advent and the expectancy of the season has only heightened. 

As I sat here listening to her latest theory on how the unfolding of Christmas morning festivities will be carried out, my eyes focused on the nativity scene spread out behind her. 

No doubt, I am aware that we are celebrating the birth of Jesus. The focus at the center of this season is the fact that God sent his Son to save all of humanity and redeem creation. But, perhaps I have forgotten that Christmas is a reminder that we live in a transitional season. What fall is to winter, Christmas is to the second coming of Christ.

In front of us lays a season to celebrate the first coming of Jesus, but the story doesn’t end December 26th when decorations begin to be packed away. This season is a reminder that, like the yellowing of the leaves, there is another season right behind this one. 

From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. (Matthew 24:32-33)

We have a wedding to be prepared for! Our bridegroom is at the gate awaiting his returning to us for a second time. He is the... 

Wonderful Councelor
Mighty God
Everlasting Father, and
Prince of Peace

...and He is all ours! 

He is waiting in anticipation for his bride, but am I? My daughter’s zealousness has caused me to stop and wonder if I’m making time to get excited for him with childlike anticipation? 

Have I, like her, managed to see what is still to come? Do I make time to allow it to wash over my thoughts?

Or have I fallen into the humdrum of the seasonal festivities? 

Do I share her enthusiasm for the long awaited most glorious season that is yet to come?

What JOY should fill our hearts as we pause to consider who is waiting at the gate for us! 

What JOY to know that whatever this season has to offer in all its splendor, the best season is yet to come. 


Christmas is a reminder, not just of what we have today, but that we live in a time when all of creation awaits the second return of Christ. Let us be reminded of this hope and joy long after the decorations are placed back in their bins. 



Photo credit: alisa anton @ unsplash.com

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

5 W's of Evangelism



... because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 

For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 

For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? 

And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?

And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 

And how are they to preach unless they are sent? 

As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 

(Romans 10:9-15 ESV emphasis mine)



WHO IS CALLED TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL MESSAGE?

It is the call of EVERY believer to make disciples. Some of you will be gifted in evangelism, some of you will fumble your way through it. Either way, you can go knowing that it is the work of the Holy Spirit working through you that will speak to the hearts of the lost, not by your eloquent words. And thank goodness for that, am I right?!

...But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect...(1 Peter 3:15)

WHAT EXACTLY IS EVANGELISM?

Evangelism comes from the Greek word euaggelion. When this word is translated into a noun is means “gospel”, but when translated into a verb it becomes “announce” or “bring good news”.

In simple terms, the bad news is that as sinful humans we are separated from God. The Good News is that God sent his Son, who paid the price for our sins so that anyone who turns from their old nature can be assured of our freedom from condemnation and live eternally with our Father in Heaven.

...For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” (Romans 10:10-11)

WHEN ARE WE CALLED TO EVANGELIZE?

This one is more of a matter of listening to the gentle tug of the Holy Spirit, than a concrete answer. Perhaps you are out and someone is suddenly standing in front of you pouring out their life story, you are wondering what is going on when suddenly you feel that prompting in your heart. Or, maybe God gives you tunnel vision to see just one person in a crowded room that you are to interact with.

There are many ways God can grab your attention, but the bottom line is be obedient...even when you are shaking in your boots. It’s ok. Remember, Moses led a nation with a speech impediment, because God was on his side. He is on your side too!

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

WHERE ARE WE CALLED TO EVANGELIZE?

Right where you are.

Some of us will be called to a varying assortment of places around the globe, but where you are TODAY is your mission field. Perhaps one day you will be called to serve elsewhere, perhaps you are even keenly aware of where you will be called, but your mission today is where your feet are. It could be the grocery story, your kid’s school, at the gym, the mall, the library, your walk around the block, the bank teller- I think you get it. 

There are people all over this world, in every neck of the woods that are hungry to hear the Good News. You don’t need to travel far to find someone whose heart is being stirred by the Holy Spirit.

 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. (Mark 16:15)

WHY ARE WE CALLED TO EVANGELIZE?

If you are a professing Christian you know the very best news that this world can possibly offer!! You have hope of an eternal future with a Heavenly Father. There is no other message like this in the world! Trust that! 

If you know this message and it is what shapes your daily life than you belong to the Church. God made US His hands, feet, mouth, ears, and body. We are here to bring a message of hope to a bleak and grisly world. It is from your mouth that God’s Truth will speak out over the lies that lost souls have believed. God will use you to point them towards the door that He is patiently knocking at. The Holy Spirit will use you in your willingness to spread the Gospel!

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS...

Remember that faith is a journey we are all on. Some are just getting starting, some are a little further along, and others are much further down the road. When you meet someone who you know God has ordained to be in front of you, be listening for His guiding words as you interact. Maybe your not-so-accidental encounter was only meant to plant the seed of the gospel. Do not be discouraged if you only make it as far as a prayer for a person in need. It is the beginning of a journey for them. Perhaps you will meet up with someone who is further in faith and wrestling with answers when God brings you to them. Whatever the case may be, listen for the promptings and thoughts that the Lord plants in your heart and mind as the conversation unfolds.


Photo credit: Toa Heftiba @ Unsplash 



Saturday, 25 November 2017

4 Lessons I Learned By Walking Where Humans Dare to Tread


In my last post I shared how God redeemed our marriage from a drug addiction, and near divorce.
As I reflect on that time of my life and what is cost me to stay, I can also say I learned a ton from my experience. Since we are celebrating the four year anniversary of God saving our marriage, I wanted to share four brief lessons I have learned by staying and trusting God instead of walking away.


1.  Staying is not the easy route.

Walking away may seem like the easy thing to do, but our marriage vows don’t say, “for better or for kind of difficult circumstances." They said, “for better or for worse," and for worse is really, REALLY horrible for some of us. It is a trial of our faith to stand our ground and make the choice to stay. It will require you to walk by faith not by sight as you wander through what seems to be the enemy’s camp. 


2.  Staying meant I had to change too.

Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” It was no wonder I had lost my hope in my marriage. I allowed the pangs of hurt to determine my outlook instead of trust in God. As a result, instead of fruits of the Spirit, I had rotting, stinky fruit of destruction and wrath. 

If my husband and I were going to move forward I needed to change too. It would not have been fair for him to work so hard to change only for me to change nothing. I spent time in repentance, laying down my hurts and wounds. I asked God to soften my heart again, and to trust that God could fully handle all of the mess. It wasn't instant, it took time, but God heard and answered my prayers. 


3.  Never downplay your testimony

This is a lesson that took time. Initially neither my husband nor I were ready to share what we had gone through. We had shared our trial with a few close friends while we were going through it, but it took time before we were ready to share it with the world. Once we felt ready we both knew we needed to share every hurtful detail. 

We recognized two reasons why we need to share those details in that moment. The first was that if we did/ thought something, there are others experiencing the same things and need to know they are not alone. It eases the torment of the circumstance to know you are experiencing what others have survived. The second thing we both recognize is that to share anything less would have been to downplay the work God did in our lives. 

Imagine for a moment that the only recorded account of the moments leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection went something like this: He was killed, and then he rose again. What if we took out all the graphic details of the betrayal of a friend, the mockery of the crown of the thorns for the “King of the Jews”, the naked display of sweat, blood, and death that Jesus endured? The scale to which God works in is downplayed when we narrow the boundaries of evil by eliminating the grim details. 

God is not fluffy. He does not just repair the surface, he repairs foundations. How will others trust his mighty ability to move and shift our lives if we only share what was on the superficial layer?


4. Staying provided the biggest witness to the type of relationship God has with the world.

This was a lesson I learned by seeing the reaction of others, and not by anything I thought I was doing. In a world where people pack up and leave at the first sign of offence, I had no idea that staying would paint a different picture. It became a portrait of God’s ability to forgive those who repent and turn from sin. It was an image of the grace and mercy He pours out on those who don’t deserve it. It was a statement that even when we mess up horribly, He not only doesn’t give up on us, but He makes straight our paths for us to return back to the safety and comforts of His embrace.

Even to those who have heard our story, but not known intimacy with God, it confused their logic. I've seen countless confused faces who were baffled by our story. "How could you stay through that?" I've been asked. Frankly, it was less of me and more of a reflection of the One who lives in me. 

When we stay through the trial (however graceful or clumsy we may feel) we give the world an example of a God of grace and mercy. Not by my own doing, but by His hand was I able to stay in the dark crevasse where the depth of despair is so deep that nothing but the love of God can reach it. We walked where humans dare tread, but we walked it with a God who fears nothing!



Photo by Spencer Selover from Pexels 

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Before You File for Divorce


Your hand is on the door, you’re ready to call to it quits. The tear stains on your pillow are the unspoken evidence of sleepless nights as your heart stung with the loss of what you had hoped your marriage would be. You were sad, then angry, then sad again, and now you are just numb. 

You are trying to look ahead to life without your husband, and on one hand you feel relief that it is almost over and you can forge ahead with a new life. On the other hand, you heart grieves with every beat the loss of the man you thought would hold your heart forever, and now he is no longer there to even offer a sympathetic hug in the most anguishing trial you have ever had to face.

If you’re really being honest with yourself, in the quiet of your heart and beyond the built-up resentment there is a restlessness. You are trying to not pay attention to it because the new-found numbness feels better. Even still, it is there. 

Let me tell you our story before you file for divorce…

It was 4 years ago that God worked a miracle and salvaged the unsalvageable. We had been married for 9 years and our marriage looked nothing like what I had imagined. My husband was a drug addict, addicted to pain medication he had begun taking in the days of his youth. At first, it wasn’t noticeable. He used them seldom and, quite frankly, marital bliss let me see everything through swooning young love eyes. 

But soon came kids, one and then two, then he could no longer hold down jobs as his addiction was taking over. Soon the pressure of work landed on me. I was working, raising kids, maintaining a household, and taking care of an often mentally-absent husband. After years of working at that speed while watching my husband check out of reality my heart began to callous. I was worn out, and worked to the bone. I had started taking heart medication as I was not handling the stress well. I blamed him for my failing health. 

This was not a man worth loving. This was not a man I wanted to grow old with. This was not the man for me.

We argued. I yelled...a lot. I grew angry, bitter, and fed up. I stopped internalizing my feelings and started letting everything out at the expense of my husband’s feelings. I didn’t care. He was hurting me and I was giving it all I could to throw hurt and pain back on him. I hated who I was becoming. But again, I blamed him for that too.

The extremely small few who knew our story told me to get out. They told me he would never change, and that I deserved better. 

And yet, through it all, whenever I prayed I never felt at peace about leaving oddly enough, and I hated that part! Though I certainly fantasized about life without him, or life with a man who had it pulled together. I daydreamed of a life with a spouse who was a companion not just a drugged out shell of a man wearing a hole in the couch.

I could not understand why I didn’t feel released to go. I certainly wanted to with every last morsel of my mind and body. So I did the only thing I knew how to do…I prayed.

 After a year of what I would call the worst of it I cried out my final prayer to God. 

“This is all I can take! No more! Save me! Am I not worth more to you than this?! Why won’t you give me peace to leave?”. I trembled and sobbed uncontrollably. It was just too much. It was that night that I asked God that he would either let my husband die from overdose, or let me just not wake up. 

I had been sleeping in my daughter’s room for about 2 years at that point, and the following morning he came stumbling into the bedroom before I had even woken up. He let out a loud wail and collapsed on the floor. The dramatic awakening reminded me that God had not answered my plea. Both of us had woken up.

What happened next was a series of actions that moved quickly. I kicked him out. He moved in with his parents. 

I began to final speak about this quiet hell that I had been living in with a set of good friends for the first time. They assured me that my husband needed help and that they would rally behind us. We prayed long and hard! My heart was racing and sleep was elusive as we moved through this phase of the journey.

A few days later I called him home and gave him an ultimatum. Get help, or get out--permanently. 

This decision did not come from me genuinely wanting a divorce. In spite of it, this was the man I once chose to make a lifelong commitment to. It was in this moment that I realized that I could not save this marriage on my own accord. I was keenly aware of the risks involved. My husband could have said "no" to help and walked away from me and the kids. He also could have said "no" and found a great lawyer and taken the kids for himself leaving me with nothing. 

It was in this moment that I let go of the white knuckled grip on my marriage and placed it in the hands of God. He was the only hope I had, and for the first time in years deep down inside a small glimmer of peace began to brew.

After much anger and name calling to me he left to rehab. Unbeknownst to me, he had every intention of completing the program with the intent of coming home sober just long enough to divorce me and take the kids. The very fear I feared the most.

Everyday came phone calls from him while he was in rehab. Each time I picked up came badgering words. 

One day I was laying on the couch to exhausted to move when the phone rang. It was him. I didn’t want to pick up, but something in me caused me to reach for the phone before I knew what I was doing. 

“Hello Beautiful,” he said to me.

Was he high? Who had snuck drugs into this man in a locked up facility?! 

We had been praying for him in our prayer group the night before and that morning. He knew about these prayers but had simply told me to, “Shove it.” He wanted nothing to do with God, and didn’t think prayer was of any use. He told me regularly that praying for him would be a waste of time. Nevertheless, we prayed. 

What he told me next was nothing short of a miracle. He told me he was sitting there that morning when a wave of peace and joy washed over him. He felt new, like he had never felt before. In that moment, and from that moment on he was washed clean from the desire to do drugs. He was filled with God’s presence in a tangible way. 

Tears rolled down my face and I knew that God had answered all our poured out prayers.

He came on Christmas Eve (best Christmas present ever!). Oh, don’t get me wrong, it was not an instant happily-ever-after story. It has taken work to rebuild trust. He has had to live openly and honestly with me when I ask him questions about his health. And I have had to relearn how to put the filter back on my thoughts. He is not the man he was, and I cannot treat him like it. It has been tremendous effort on both our parts to come together again, but it has come with sweetness and joy as we pursue the marriage we originally hoped for. Truly this victory is God’s!


It has been 4 years ago to the day that he took his final pill. I now have a new husband. He is truly the man I had hoped to marry many years ago. I am completely in love with him, and he with me. I want with all my heart to grow old with this man. 

My dear, sweet reader, have hope. Your marriage is not lost, your grip on it is just too tight. Place your marriage in the stable, steady hand of God and then grip his mighty hand as he works in ways you cannot see today. He will hear your cries.

First and foremost, pray for your own heart that it would not callous over to the man you pledged your love too, but that it would stay warm to the idea of marriage to him. Pray for your spouse that his heart would soften. That the chains of his past would be broken and new bonds would be made. 

Pray that God would work miracles. And be willing to speak, move, push, and (the hardest of all) be still and be silent as He leads.

May I leave you with a verse that helped me in my trials.

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.  Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; (Hebrew  12:12-15)

If you are stuck, please send me a prayer request. It was by the hand of God at work, and the prayers of a loving community that got us through. I would love to return the favour to those in need.

Love,

Sarah (and The Mr.)

(Disclaimer: in all our years of marriage my husband never abused me. Our circumstances crushed my spirit, but never my bones. If you are in an abusive relationship you need to get help and remove yourself danger.)

photo credit: Kat Jayne and George Becker from Pexels and 

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

A Characteristic of God Hidden in Every Woman



Tucked away inside the the very first chapter of the Bible is the rich treasure of biblical womanhood. A high calling on every woman in every walk of life separate and uniquely distinct from biblical manhood.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26)

The word “man” in Genesis 1:26 is actually from a Hebrew word that means “mankind.” Because God made mankind in His image the theological implication is that God made humans to have companionship with Him. He did not create abstract beings, He created people with likeness to Him.

Man had animals, and land, and everything he needed, but he was very much alone. God recognized that man needed companionship, so God made another version of mankind in Eve, a woman. 

Against the religious backdrop at the time that Genesis was written, it was unheard of that a god would want relationship with humans. In fact, these very writings in Genesis were a direct assault on the mythological religions of the time where humans were created to be slaves to lazy gods who didn’t want to work. Contradictory, we have this picture of a perfect God, who has no need for mankind, but who decides to create and enter into a loving, intimate relationship with mankind solely for the purpose of companionship.

God’s great call on women is seen within the order of creation. God wanted to make mankind in his image, first came Adam. Eve was not made until after Adam gave witness and name to every animal and does not see his match. In the same way God made Adam to be relational to him, He made Eve as that very reflection of intimacy to Adam.

This is not to say Eve is less than, or resembles less of God. No! In fact she is made in the image of the character of God that reflects his relational nature. This is separate and distinct from the character and reflection of God found in man. 

It is in the very nature of every woman to be relational. We may be introverts, or extroverts, but at the heart of every woman we care about our friendships.

What an astounding role for women to walk out inside creation: to be the image bearers of God’s desire for relationship to the people around us.

Though this call is seen more clearly inside the role of marriage in contrast to the roles of man, it is not overlooked beyond the boundaries of the marital bond. This high calling at the very foundation of womanhood is for all women in all stages of life!

Young women, you have opportunity to reach out to your sphere of influence to reflect this type of relationship. To humble yourself and pour out compassion on those around you as God has done for you. 

Married women, you have the opportunity to reflect this relationship with your spouse. Even, and especially, in those moments when your relationship is rocky. Humble yourself and work to protect the bond that God has joined together as the full reflection of His image is found when man and woman are united.


Women, you are all created uniquely and with distinctive attributes of our loving God. You are made with unique purpose separate from our male counterpart. I encourage you to honour your high calling bestowed upon you as walk daily as the image bearers of a relational God.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Is it Biblical to Judge Others?

Imagine for a moment a knock at your door. You open it and there is a police officer standing there with your children (if you don’t have children, then imagine this with two younger siblings). He explains that one of your kids was caught shoplifting and the owner of the store didn't want to press charges, but wanted you to know what they did. 

The police officer leaves and you begin your own interrogation. During this discussion you find out only one of your kids committed the crime, but the other stood by and watched. As the parent you need to decide: Ultimately, who should get the punishment? 

Answer: Both.

Why? 

Because one cannot stand idly by while witnessing their sibling commit a crime and not try to talk them out of it. Would it have been casting judgement from one sibling to the other? Nope. It would have been a rescue operation to attempt to save the other sibling from going down the wrong path. 

Using this analogy let's dig in to all things “judgement”. Please hear me when I say that I’m not about to say what I’m about to say because I have it all figured out and therefore can point fingers. I am speaking to you from a sinner’s point of view. As the great hymn writer, Robert Robinson, once wrote I am, "Prone to leave the God I love." I am rebellious by nature, I can't help it. I am human. 

Let’s continue then…

It is a ploy of the Devil to silence us as we watch our sisters and brothers run wildly towards the cliff of destruction under the false pretense that we are not to “judge”, or that only God can judge. 

Most often, it is Matthew 7 that is quoted to keep us from passing judgement:

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:1-3) 

But then what about 1 Corinithians 5:12-13?

"For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” (1 Cor 5:12-13 ESV)

There is a distinction between the two when you look at both chapters. We cannot isolate one or throw out the one we do not like. We are to sometimes judge and sometimes not. For this post, let’s focus on when and why we can judge as I believe it is important, overlooked, and difficult to navigate through. 

First, the important part to note in this passage is that we are to judge our sisters and brothers in Christ. In other words, if you make the claim to be a professing Christian you are called to judge others who also are making claim to being a professing Christian. Paul did this often as we saw in the above passage in his letter to the Corinthians.

Now that we know the who let’s look at how and why...

The word “judge” can bring about all types of feelings inside of us. If you look it up in the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary you get this definition:

“The process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and comparing careful judgment of the odds.”

Now look at what happens if you flip to the Urban Dictionary to see just how far we have taken that word:

 “A way of making ones self feel better, by hurting others. Usually caused by closed mindedness, and a lack of manners.”

The word judge comes from the Greek word Kreeno. Let’s see what that word actually means:

“To pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong.”

When we look at the actual biblical context we can see that this is not something that comes from a place of hurting others, or to empower yourself by making others look bad.

Here’s the thing, we belong to each other. God GAVE us each other. Why? I’m betting that you don’t remember the last time you heard God’s audible voice. However, I’m most certain that you remember the last time you heard the voice of your family member or good friend. If you are waiting for the moment when God audibly shows up to tell your best friend to stop doing drugs, or cheating on taxes, or being promiscuous than you may be waiting awhile. He could do it, but that’s one reason why he gave us to each other: to be His voice in our generation and in our sphere of influence.

He didn’t leave us hanging either. The Bible is made up of two canons (the Old Testament and the New Testament). The word canon comes from a Greek word that means "rule" or “measuring stick”. Therefore, the measure by which we can check the actions and words of others is by the word of God himself as found in the Bible. 

 His word are not arbitrary, or because he likes rules, but, like a good parent, he gives us rules and commands to abide by to keep us safe. 

What if we were to replace the term “judgment” with “protection”? Can you protect your friend? Would you protect your sister or brother from making a bad choice that could have life-long, or even eternal consequences? Of course you would!

Judgment does not need to come from a pedestal of, “I’ve got it all figured out so listen to me.” Judgement comes from the place of, “I see you running towards destruction, and I don’t want to lose you.” It comes from a place of love. 

We need to remove the thought that judgement is not loving. 

In fact, for those relationships that exist inside the body of Christ, it is all about love. 

If you see me running toward the pit of Hell away from God’s commands, pull me aside and judge my actions and words. Measure me against the Word of God. You would be doing me an injustice to watch me throw away my eternity! So judge away! 

Next time you are a witness to a Heavenly sibling walking towards destruction and you think, “Who am I to judge?”--remember this: If you are a child of God, then you have received the same Spirit that Jesus had to steer lost souls away from the cliff and into His Kingdom. Now open your mouth and save a sister or brother!