What’s with the Attitude, Jesus?
By Justin Chen
What do people think we stand for?
The first word many people think of when they think of Christians is ‘judgmental’. It’s easy to see why that is, since it seems like a fairly common theme in the media that Christians are recognized by what they stand against. If you tune in to televangelists, what you frequently hear from them is how God is against any number of things when in reality, what they present is their own personal opinion.
I think we’ve let this judgmental reputation hold us back for far too long. Should we not strive to be known instead for our compassion? For our willingness to reach out to people in need and give them our help? For the Love of the God who commands us? Shouldn’t we be known for more than condemnation? Should we not let it be known that we also stand for something? And what should we stand for?
What should we stand for?
We must strive to represent the love of God, the one who forgives us for our sins and saved us while we were still lost in our sin. While we were still doing exactly the same kind of things that we have a reputation for judging people about.
The point of our faith isn’t to show that we stand against sin, which, by the way, we should still do. The point of our faith is to be more like the one who saved us when we were still sinners. We must recognize that we too needed God’s forgiveness.
That’s not to say that it’s impossible to sin once you have been saved. On the contrary, we all fall into temptation of one form or another. But the important thing is to keep trying, to keep asking for forgiveness, because God, our Father has an infinite capacity for forgiveness.
We are not called to judge anyone. We are in fact called to do the opposite. In Matthew 5:44 (NKJV), Jesus says “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Where does judging other people for what they do come into that equation?
It is equally important to remember that our stances as people are not necessarily God’s stance. We must be aware that standing for God does not mean we take a stand against things that we personally disagree with. Our opinions don’t matter nearly as much as God’s forgiveness.
What about the Bible?
John 8 illustrates Jesus’ attitude towards people who sin. In the chapter, the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus who had been caught while committing the sin of adultery. They repeatedly asked him what should be done to her, because the law of Moses commanded that those who adultery should be stoned. Jesus said to them “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (NKJV, John 8:7). The Pharisees left, knowing that not one of them was without sin. Jesus then spoke to the woman, saying that he did not condemn her for her sin, and told her to leave and sin no more. That does not mean he is okay with her sin. It shows that, even though he as the Son of God had the right to judge her, he granted her his grace and forgiveness, the same grace and forgiveness he grants to each and every one of us who follow him.
That is the kind of attitude we should have. We must first recognize that we have no right to judge others, unless we ourselves want to be judged, and adopt the same attitude of grace as Jesus.
What we are personally and individually against shouldn’t define us. What we should be for is promoting the love of the God who sent His Son to save us.