Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Got Me All Fired Up!

              A question was posted on Facebook this morning that has got me “fired up”. The question was, “Christianity and Tattoo’s, do you think they belong together, why or why not?” As I read some of the responses, I was very pleased and happy to see that most of us choose not to judge another man’s choices. But there are some who still choose to judge and look down on one another. My response to this question was as follows:
            “I don't think it is up to us to judge. What if someone has tattoo's and give their life to the Lord. Do we judge them and look down on them until they get them removed. Jesus came to fulfill the WHOLE Law, the Law of Moses and the Law of God. We are called to be children of love, God's love. It is not for us to judge another man's walk, let us look to our own selves before we begin to point the finger at others. Let us examine our own hearts before the Lord before we try to be "god" and examine others. I know a lot of loving, dedicated, devoted Christians who have tattoos. Being a Christian is an inward change of the heart, not an outward appearance...besides, this body of flesh will die away and we will have new bodies. We are the temple of God, any form of sin therefore is defiling the temple- let us be careful how we judge. Jesus said with the same measure we judge, we will be judged, look to your own salvation walk and let God look to theirs.”
                As I thought about what was said, and what I said, some scripture passages came into my mind about judging. The first one was Matthew 7:1-2.
                “Judge not, lest you be judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
                When we choose to “judge” someone, we are questioning the heart of man. Only God knows the hearts of His children, and even the ones that choose not to be called His children, He still knows their hearts. When we judge someone we are pointing the finger at what they are “not” instead of seeing them as Christ sees them; loved, forgiven and chosen people for His pleasure. I have judged, and I have been judged, and neither of these belongs in the life of a Christian.
                The next scripture that came up was Luke 6:37, “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not and you shall not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.” Jesus tells us that He did not come to condemn the world, but to save the world. (John 3:17) When we choose to look upon other people’s sins and judge whether they should be accepted or forgiven, we have just take the place of God and basically told God that we know better than He does.
                When we point out the faults of others, we are only exposing our own sins. Jesus reminds us of this when He tells us to take the beam out of our own eyes, and not look at the little speck that is in our brothers.(Matthew 7:3-5) Some of you may say that you are not judging, you are just looking for fruit. Let us stop using fruit as a disguise for judgmental Christianity. The Fruit that is to be born from each one of us is Love. (Gal. 5) When we are judging another, we are not producing the fruit of love, so we too are not “bearing fruit.”
                Our walks with Christ are personal, they are individual, and we cannot assume and judge that one person is in sin because they have a tattoo or because they have a glass a wine, or because their children do not walk with Christ. Since when did God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ tell us that it was okay to determine where someone is at spiritually and to determine if they were worthy of His grace and mercy? Who made us gods? When we judge and when we question the motives, thoughts and intents of others, we have crossed over into idolatry, because we have decided that we are god and have the ability to see into the hearts of others. (And this defiles the “temple of God”) We must be careful my brothers and sisters, the more you judge, the more you make yourself god and the farther away from the One True God you will go.
                God does not need your help or my help determining the heart of people. He already knows their whole life, every detail from beginning to end, and He knows your heart as well. You work out your own salvation with fear and trembling and let God take care of everyone else. We are to love as Christ loved, we are to have mercy as Christ has mercy, we are give as Christ gave, and we are to see as Christ sees. Can we do this when we are judging? Let us not squabble about whether or not it is sin, let us focus on our own walks and let God be the judge.
                We are the temple of the living God. But when we judge another man’s walk, actions, deeds, motives, thoughts, intents, we are defiling the temple of God with our own sin. If we preach that we are the temple of the living God; then we need to live holy, undefiled lives, and I haven’t yet been able to do that. If you can do that, then you are a god, and we should all bow down to you, and your temple. Stop before you judge, stop before you point the finger, because there is but One God and One Judge and One Lord over all, and you are not Him.
                I must tell you that I get very passionate about people who try to judge by using the “letter of the law”. When they try to tell me that it is in the Bible, that in the book of Leviticus it says this and it says that. If Jesus came to fulfill the WHOLE law, then why are we trying to judge one another using the same “Law” He already fulfilled? If Jesus did not fulfill the WHOLE law (The Law of Moses and the Law of God) then we would still be offering sacrifices, and we would still be doing the WHOLE Law of Moses as found in the Old Testament. If you want to live by the law and judge by the law, then go ahead, but for me and my house, we choose grace. We choose to believe that Jesus came to die for the whole world and that when you believe in Him you have eternal life and your sins have been forgiven and forgotten forever.
                If you decide to judge those around you, then I hope that you are the perfect, undefiled, unmarred child that you profess to be. For if you are not, what judgment shall you receive from above? James tells us that “for whoever shall keep the whole law, yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10) Let us be careful how we point the finger, how we question the walks of others, we are not God, but we will be judged by Him. Grace, my sisters and brothers, Grace, and more grace, that is what we need in our hearts today. Now, maybe I will go and get a Tattoo! (Just kidding, I don’t like needles!) Amen and Amen.