"Off with their heads!!!!"
"Off with their heads!" That famous song in "Alice in Wonderland always brings a smile to my face. The crime committed was, "...painting the roses red...." The queen with all of her imperfections and dictatorial rule never considered her own shortcomings, just those of her poor subjects.
"If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7b, NIV)
Who can stand in hateful judgment of another person? I'm not naive enough to think that judgments of others aren't made daily. I judge folks and make comments regarding their suspect actions and harsh words. I'm confident that people judge me as well. Our penal system is designed to make judgments regarding law breaking. In the last several days, I have watched a bitter backlash toward Michael Vick and his one year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Yes, I know what Vick did with illegal dog fighting in the past. Yes, I know Vick paid his debt to society. Yes, I know Vick repented and counseled with Tony Dungy and others to straighten out his life. If this process that Vick has undergone isn't sufficent for bitter people to let go of their anger then what does one have to do to be released from hateful judgment?
What I think may be in play here is that we tend to judge others with harsh anger because in doing so, we don't have to answer for our own sins and indiscretions. We feel absolved when we distance ourselves from people like Micahel Vick because surely we haven't done things as egregious as he.
The opening scripture above was Jesus addressing those who wanted to stone a woman caught in adultery. The following verse here is for those of us who go ahead and hurl vitriol and venom at people like Michael Vick.
21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who
murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother
will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the
Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. (Matthew 5:21-22,
Apparently, people who are bitter and judgmental are as guilty as one who commits murder....which means, I need to weigh my thoughts, actions, and words in view of God's great mercy and forgiveness offered me.
O Lord, forgive my judgmental attitudes that diminish another person. Remind me of your
great love and forgivenss that cover my sins and help me extend grace to those who have
failed you too. In Christ I pray. Amen.