When we look at non-Christians, we shouldn’t see their sins and condemn them, we should see the person we would give our lives to save, just like Jesus gave his for us.
This isn’t always easy, sometimes it feels impossible, but behind every person’s choices, there is an individual with a story.
What If God Only Looked At Our Sin And Not Our Soul?
Really think about that for a moment
What if the only thing God saw in us was our sin, what kind of picture would that paint?
I am not just talking about the “little” things, I am also talking about the once in a life time “oops” moments we wish we could take back–imagine if those things were the only choices God looked at?
That would feel terrible, and would only happen because God either didn’t want to look past our sin or was unable due to a lack of compassion or empathy
If it would feel awful for God to look at us through such a narrow lens, there is no way it feels good for others when we do it to them
If We Are Happy To Be Forgiven, We Should Love God And Others The Same Way In Return
Okay wait, so God forgave our sins and gave us eternal life, but we are supposed to be grateful and love others in the same way?
Okay, we all know there will be people in our lives that are more difficult to deal with than others, but our reaction and treatment of them, especially when we are around non-Christian people, says a lot about our relationship with God, and shows how grateful we are for the mercy we have been shown
Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors
“Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said
If we don’t live in a place of compassion and forgiveness, we are probably taking the grace we were given for granted
Always Remember, It Isn’t Personal
One of my friends said something a long time ago that stuck with me ever since, it isn’t rocket science though:
“People do bad things, we can’t take it personally”
Simple, but so true!
Regardless of what negative things people do to us, or people around us, we have to keep in mind that their behavior isn’t directed personally at the people it affects
It sounds weird at first since people’s actions usually have a direct impact on others, but the point is that the motivation for their behavior isn’t grounded in wanting to personally affect someone–their behavior is rooted in their personality, which was formed long before they met us
The last time I checked, people usually don’t roll out of bed and go:
“Wow, what a beautiful day, I think I am going to make my new co-worker’s life miserable because I just don’t like them. Hmm, I probably need some help with that though as I am not the most abrasive person in the world, if anything I would be described as being too nice. Maybe if I start gossiping a lot or learn how to make fun of their clothes that might help “
It may seem like this, but there is no way it actually happens–people do what is inside them to do, we don’t magically inspire new behavior in people just by walking into a room
Do Unto Others…
Everybody knows Jesus taught that we are to treat others as we want to be treated, but he also said that the same level of forgiveness and compassion we show others will be shown to us, Paul taught this as well
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
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things
This makes sense because God is willing to forgive everything in our lives without a second thought, so why wouldn’t we have compassion on those who either don’t know God or are working on self-improvement through Christ–everyone has been lost at some point
Think of it like this, can you imagine what it will be like when we are giving an account of our lives to Jesus, and he brings to light something that we didn’t let go of, maybe we were too afraid to share the gospel, or maybe it was some outright sin we just never overpowered, but in any case, having that moment when Jesus looks at us and asks “What is this?” is going to feel incredibly awful
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 1And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account
Can you imagine feeling the shame, guilt, and pure embarrassment of having our deepest, unrelinquished sins be exposed before all creation?
You can bet in that moment we will want Jesus to look on us with compassion and forgiveness, and not focus on the sin but on our hearts and the other things in our lives we did that were good
With this in mind, I prefer to look at people with compassion and forgiveness in the same way that I would want to be looked at by God someday when I stand before him–we should always look at ourselves and others as being so valuable to God that he laid down his life for us
How can we be judgmental and pass judgment on anyone if we have been forgiven with such amazing mercy?