Sunday, March 19, 2017

Of Whom I am the Worst

Location: Joint Base Andrews, MD, USA
There is a fairly simple answer to the question of why Christians can be so judgmental. Christians are people, people are sinners, and judgmentalism is a sin--perhaps one of the most universal of all sins. It didn't spring to life when I was saved. I brought it with me.

Of course, Christians have every reason to be different, especially with regards to this sin, since we know the judgment from which we have been saved, and how desperately we need this grace upon which we now stand. We know this one thing if we know anything: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

That's the way it's supposed to be. And yet ...

Sin is mankind's original, malignant, ultimately terminal disease, because its final cure requires passage through death's portal. Until that day of our final deliverance, we remain under the loving but frequently inconvenient treatment of our Savior and Physician. Well, we're supposed to. I don't know about you, but I'm constantly ignoring my symptoms, declaring myself "healthy enough", and skipping my appointments. Of course, my symptoms inevitably grow worse during these delinquent interludes, but that just makes me more stubbornly determined to ignore them. Why submit myself to my Doctor's aggressive, often painful prescriptions when I can get by with comfortable numbness?

Of course, the "healthier" I imagine myself to be, the easier it is to diagnose everyone else's condition. I have prescriptions for them, too. Some of them look a lot like the ones my own Doctor would prescribe, and would probably even work. The problem is, the less I submit myself to His regular treatments, the less credible my prescriptions sound, and the more they sound like tiresome nagging from a wanna-be physician who clearly needs to heal himself.

The real tragedy is my Doctor really can save lives, as He has saved mine. Moreover, He has charged me with telling others about His cure for compassion's sake. He has even gone so far as to make it the core purpose of this new life He has given me. The problem isn't the message, it's me--this delusional fool of a sin-addled Pharisaic messenger.
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’  
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Judgmentalism is hardly unique to the believer in Jesus. It's just so much more out of place.