But for the Grace of God
By Doug Harrell
Luke 6:37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
As I have grown older, and hopefully a bit wiser, I tend to look at people and situations with more compassion, and maybe understanding, than I did when I was younger. In my younger years, I tended to be very judgmental toward people and the things they did, and I am still guilty of this in some instances, if I am honest with myself. That being said, when I look back on my growing up years, I realize how blessed I was and am to have had the people and parents I had in those years. Recently, I have had opportunity to deal with people, both young and older, that had different situations growing up and have had harder challenges in life in many ways than I have. I don’t know how I would have turned out in those same circumstances, and maybe I am learning to view them differently, but for the Grace of God go I! If my parents had not taken me to church, taught me to work, taught me to be honest and truthful, had not set a moral example for me, how would I have turned out? Only God has the answer to that question.
When I am in situations today that I am dealing with people that have an addiction of some kind, or have had one, maybe I can see more clearly now. As Jesus said, I came not to save the just but to save the unjust. Romans 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more; but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brothers way. Maybe we help more if we have compassion and love, not enabling, but directing, with the guidance that we strive to provide. It is critical that we be loving and understanding, but also firm in our convictions. Accepting things as right, that are wrong, will never help anyone mature in this life and have happiness. But guidance with love and compassion can make a difference in many lives. My prayer is that I can truly love and accept the individual, even if I despise the sin in their lives, and yes, a sin is a sin, and we never help anyone without an understanding of God’s teaching truths. True happiness can only be found in living a life as God ordains, not one without moral limits. Matthew 9:13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
As we read the scriptures, it is very evident that Jesus was not afraid to approach the unapproachable, but that He was a guiding light for meaningful change in their lives. My prayer for each of us is that we be that beacon of light for those around us that are struggling each day with the challenges that life have thrown them. Will you love others and pray for guidance in your own life, and the life of others around you today?