A couple of weeks ago, a story broke out on the news about rape. It was a story that is far too common in today’s world and it resonated with so many of us for many reasons. It was not a new story, but how the case unfolded was new and unprecedented. A college student rapes an unconscious woman behind a dumpster, he is caught in the act by two hero students that stop the attack and hold him until police comes.
Fast forward to court proceedings and he is given a sentence of 6 months in jail after he is found guilty. People all over the world are outraged and the story becomes viral. We hear the letters written to the judge by the victim and the perpetrators’ parents, both expressing their emotions and asking for justice. Yet, this judge decided to give this student a 6 month jail sentence for such a crime and the world is outraged.
Something happened when the judgement came down for this perpetrator. The judge now, is being judged by every one else as just as bad as the one that committed the crime. Is that fair? I would say that It comes with the job. When you become a judge, you are saying that you are fit enough to make decisions that are going to change people’s lives. Not just that, but you swear upon it. As a judge you have to measure the amount of evidence that is brought to you. Not many judges make quick decisions on guilt or innocence, but I am certain that it is not an easy thing to do. If there is a guilty verdict then the judge has to give the punishment of the crime. The judge is being the face of justice, not just for the victim, but for the person that is standing there for the crime as well. In this case, many felt that the punishment did not fit the crime and it has come to a point where this judge might even loose his job. People from everyone claim he is unfit to be judge and from what I remember, a petition was being passed on and they were already at 2 million signatures.
We fast forward again to this weeks’ shooting in Orlando where 49 people are dead along with 53 injured and there is a lot of judgement coming from everywhere. The news are bringing information on the shooter and his family, as we learn more and more of who committed this crime and what his intentions where. We feel the outrage of the world for such a heinous crime.
Along with the news, opinions started to pop up. Many well known pastors and leaders in the christian community came in solidarity with the gay community, praying in support of the victims and the families. But, we also found people that seemed as if they had no heart, no compassion for someone’s pain of a loss one. We saw videos of Pastors rooting violence towards the gay community, and people joining to applaud their behavior quoting scripture. A lot of opinions to say the least. It’s been a long couple of days.
This morning, I remembered the judge in the rape case and something resonated inside of me. I am sure if he would have know the backlash his decision was going to bring out, he would have chosen a different punishment. I wonder if he wished he didn’t judge that situation that way he did. If he still had the same conviction that he chose right. I then realized that I don’t ever want to be in the judges’ shoes! That is not a job that I want! You see, being a judge in this earth makes you a human judge, a judge that can make mistakes. For this particular judge it has made him just as bad as the perpetrator of this horrific crime. Could it be that judgement can make me just as guilty as the person that committed the crime? Actually, there is scripture that says that, it was written by Paul to the church of The Romans, he says:
“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” Romans 2:1
Why do we put ourselves in the judges chair over and over? Do we feel that we have the obligation? We don’t! NO! Jesus said in John 8:15″For you’ve set yourself up as judges of others based on outward appearances, but I certainly never judge others in that way“, but He just didn’t say it there, He asks us to refrain from judging others many times throughout his time on earth. We all know the scripture “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” Matt 7:3-5. Strong words from Jesus.
Today, I felt this as a gift from heaven! I don’t have to judge anyone! My input is not necessary! And it honestly made me so happy! I don’t have to decide if anyone is guilty or innocent, I am called to love like Jesus loved. I am called to be compassionate, I am called to feed the hungry and bring good news to the broken! I am called to be the light of the world, the salt of the earth. Regardless of the choices that someone can make in their lives, who ever they are, wherever they’re from, it shouldn’t matter. I am the least to give judgement on anyone. This week taught me that lesson loud and clear. Jesus said Our love toward people is what would show the world we were His brothers and sisters! (John 13:35). Our behavior is shaping the view of Jesus in people that don’t know Him. Think about this!
I read a great quote from Shawn Bolz yesterday, he said “the fastest way to become the devil is to try and become God”. Judgement is playing God. Are you ready for that commitment? I know I am not. And I don’t want to be judge, I will leave that job to the one that sits on the Throne of heaven. Next time I want to pass judgement on someone I will remember that judge, and choose not to.