Because Jesus rose from the dead we can be free of judgment and condemnation!
As I shared in my confession last week I’ve been working with Jesus on my log rather than judging other people’s specks. (Matthew 7:1-5)
I’m thankful for Jesus’ carpentry of the soul in my life. In his workshop I found a gem of grace to share with you. It’s from a little book on my shelf of favorites: The Wisdom of the Desert by Thomas Merton. It’s about Abba Moses the Black, one of the most famous Desert Fathers.
Moses (pictured below) was a large, imposing Ethiopian man. Before he became a monk he was the leader of a gang of violent bandits! He stole things from people and even killed them! In the early days of his desert monastery community he was still a fighter, but he kept pressing into the mercy of Christ and eventually became respected as a gentle soul who learned humility, patience, and bearing with others in love (Ephesians 4:2).
One time in Abba Moses’ community of monks a brother was seen committing a fault. Perhaps he overslept and skipped a prayer session. Or he didn’t weave enough baskets for the poor that day. It was a “fault”, not a sin, but their community was about purity so an elder called for everyone to gather in a council to accuse him.
However, Abba Moses refused to come. The elder sent a brother to implore him, “The whole community is waiting for you.” So Moses arose from his place of prayer and went. But first, he picked up a leaking jug, filled it with water, and carried it with him.
When he arrived he saw everyone seated straight and smug and surrounding the offending brother whose head was hung in shame. “Abba Moses,” they asked, “what do you have?”
He held up his jug high. Water was dripping out from the crack. “My sins are running out behind me, and I do not see them, and today I come to judge the faults of another.”
When the community heard this they made no more accusations of their brother, but rather forgave him.
Nonjudgmental love won the day!
(Read the fascinating and inspiring story of Abba Moses’ life in our Soul Shepherding article: “A Violent Man Gentled By Grace: Abba Moses the Black.”)
Can’t you see Jesus right now?
He’s kneeling on the ground. He’s surrounded by angry, scowling pharisees with rocks in raised hands ready to inflict the torture of stoning to death. Jesus’ body is shielding an adulterous woman who has fallen in a heap in the dirt and heaving with frightened sobs.
“Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”
“Thud. Thud. Thud.” There’s lots of murmuring and shuffling feet. Then it’s silent.
Jesus makes eye contact with her and smiles gently. “Dear woman, where are your accusers?… Look, I’m the only one here. I don’t condemn you. God loves you so leave your sins behind and be free.” (John 8:1-11, paraphrased)
What sins are running out behind me that I don’t see? One that I’m on the lookout for is judging people — including myself. How about you?
There’s only one safe place for us to be in this world: being shielded by Jesus, the Lord of nonjudgmental love.
Nonjudgmental Love is For You!
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is about saturating ourselves in God’s nonjudgmental love and sharing it with others, including difficult people. I share this treasure-store of blessings in my 42-page booklet Jesus’ Greatest Teaching.
You can read this for personal devotions or as a four-week small group curriculum. It’s only available in the Soul Shepherding online store as a PDF download. It can be yours right now for just $3.99. Check it out here.
Soul Talks: Finding Christ Risen in Your Life
Joy! Joy! Joy! Christ is risen! This is history and it’s the great opportunity of each day to appreciate that the Spirit of Jesus is resurrected, alive in our midst.
He’s unseen, but we can greatly benefit from his presence and power in whatever we do.
Station 15 in “Unforsaken: With Jesus on the Stations of the Cross”
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