Sometimes I think we Christians think too much about the rules and about what people should or shouldn’t do. We have a measuring rod which we use to analyze how others measure up or don’t measure up to our rules or what we think God’s rules are. We try to figure out when it’s okay to judge someone and point out to someone when something in their life looks wrong. I think we try to plan out someone else’s life and how we think God thinks they should be living it. Why do we think that is our place? We don’t know what is going on in that person’s heart or mind or how God’s heart is speaking to theirs. God works in all ways and reaches one person’s heart in a different way than He reaches another’s. And He has all the time in the world to get to know someone and for them to get to know Him.
I think we try so hard to force Jesus on people and make them live the life we were instructed to live and be as miserable in our legalism as we are because we think that’s what makes them a “true follower.” “As long as you reach this point you are good” “As long as you reach this level of knowledge or maturity then you know you’re a true follower.” But people don’t all grow the same. And reaching a certain level in someone’s eyes or in the eyes of the “church” does not make you a follower of Jesus. You can follow all the rules you want but not be following Jesus. You can grow up going to church every Sunday morning and night and every Wednesday and attend Bible studies. You can know the Bible word for word and quote it. But never have met Jesus. Faith isn’t following all of the rules. Your salvation doesn’t depend on your attendance or on how well you reach perfection. Your salvation does not depend on what you do. Your salvation depends on what Jesus has already done for you.
We won’t and can’t ever know what God’s plans for another person’s life are except that His plans are for the good and not to harm and to give hope. The only thing we can be absolutely certain that God does want us to do for other people is to love them and forgive them. And not the kind of love that debates on whether or not to give “tough” love. It is not our’s to determine whether or not someone deserves love. Jesus didn’t say “Love someone as long as they deserve it” or “Love as long as they reach your standard.” All he said was, “Love as I have loved you.” (John 13:34) And how did He love us? Did He hesitate to make sure we were good enough before He died on that cross for us? Did He make sure we deserved it before He gave us His abundant grace and mercy? Did He make sure we followed all of the rules and knew His words and could quote them before He said, “I love and accept you.” ?
God didn’t ask us to determine who is sinning and who is not. He only asked us to Love.
God does not love like us. He does not withhold love until we reach a certain standard. He doesn’t only accept you as long as you’re perfect and follow all the rules. He loves you completely no matter how incomplete you feel or no matter how worthless others make you feel. He sees your worth and your beauty. He sees your heart and how it hurts and what makes it happy.
We need to stop trying so hard to determine whether or not it’s okay to love someone and whether or not they’re good enough or living in sin and just love. God didn’t place us on the judgment seat or the determining-whether-you’re-good-enough seat. In truth, He warned, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” ( Matthew 7: 1-2) When we sit and try to figure out whether someone is “living as they should” we become prideful and self-righteous. Then in our self-righteousness we start living as though our goodness is what saved us. We stop living in God’s grace and then we stop giving grace to other people. We start living by the law and stop living by faith.
We have to remember or come to realize God’s grace is abundant. He didn’t hold back. He didn’t debate on how to love us. He just loved us. There is room enough in God’s grace for us. For all of our failings. For all of our humanness.