You don’t have to wander too far from home or read much news to be reminded that our culture and world are broken. As a whole, we don’t reflect the heart and desires of God.
How do you personally respond to that? If you consider the life and ministry of Jesus, one characteristic is unavoidable—a heart of compassion. Jesus was compassionate towards those who were without hope and without God. Jesus not only hung out with sinners and the unrighteous, He had a soft heart for their brokenness. He even wept over their lives and repentance (Luke 19:41). Matthew 9:36 says,
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd (NIV).
In this event, some believers seemed to have put aside the righteousness standards of God and others appeared to have lost their hearts of compassion, choosing instead to live out of a heart of judgment. It’s a temptation any of us can understand, depending on our personal context. We can all be prone to judge others, especially those who struggle in areas we don’t!
How easy it is for us, like the religious leaders of Jesus’ time, to forget the grace in which we stand! I like to say, “The ground is level at the foot of the cross.” All of us are products of grace, not our own doing. It helps at times to remember that truth. I suspect that Paul knew of some people in Crete that were like that. Coaching his co-worker Titus, Paul said,
They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone. Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But—“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy (Titus 3:2-5 NIV).
What weaknesses in others are you personally vulnerable to have a judgmental attitude about? What would your family, workplace, or church be like if more people followed Paul’s encouragement to “be gentle and show true humility to everyone?”