One of the greatest struggles I have as a Christian is being a new creation with the old creation’s mind. The new life wants to live for God, but the old mind controls my thoughts which ends up controlling my actions and words. There’s a war that goes on that fights between needing to love others and wanting to condemn them for their actions. I don’t think I’m alone in this struggle by seeing and hearing what others say about those they disagree with.
I read a quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer from “The Cost of Discipleship” that’s helped me understand what’s going on in this struggle. He wrote, “Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.” Our old mind wants to withhold the grace which we have been afforded. When we withhold grace, judgement fills the vacuum and condemnation comes out.
We are called to speak the truth in love. We like to say, “The truth hurts,” but we shouldn’t be trying to hurt them. The love portion of that phrase we live by is what Illuminates their sin and points to the cross where they can obtain grace. Our old man wants to bring judgement and condemnation, but our new man wants them to find grace so they can be free of their sin. We can’t just speak a condemning truth to others without coupling it with love. We can’t leave them in that place without the hope of grace.
Here are some verses from the Bible about this struggle.
1. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, “Let me wash your face for you,” when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this I-know-better-than-you mentality again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your own part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.
Luke 6:41-42 MSG
2. And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him.
2 Peter 3:15 NLT
3. Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.
Galatians 6:1-3 MSG
4. For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure you [use to] deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you.
Matthew 7:2 AMP
5. For while the Law was given through Moses, grace (unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual blessing) and truth came through Jesus Christ.
John 1:17 AMP
6. His choice is based on his grace, not on what they have done. For if God’s choice were based on what people do, then his grace would not be real grace.
Romans 11:6 GNT
7. God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.
Romans 5:20 NLT
8. For God will not show mercy when he judges the person who has not been merciful; but mercy triumphs over judgment.
James 2:13 GNT
9. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Philippians 2:5 NLT
10. Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them.
Matthew 7:12 MSG