Saturday, September 11, 2010

No Judgement

We just got home from church and tucked the kids in bed.  This is the first time we've attended the actual service (as opposed to helping in the nursery or attending our "home church" which takes place the last Sunday of the month in lieu of the regular service) in months--and months and months.  It is so good to sit and listen to truth.

Tonight, our pastor continued talking about John 8--the second of three sermons.  He's been teaching through the book of John for nearly a year, I think.  And tonight, he spoke of God's judgement, which is actually no judgement, contrary to the popular notion of fiery judgment propagated in most religious circles.  "Neither do I condemn you," says Jesus to the woman caught in adultery after the religious folks dropped the stones they were ready to launch moments before Jesus said, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."  He encounters her in her sin--and offers grace.  

In fact, he bears the judgement for her sin--for our sin--on the cross and then offers us Love in its place.  Love becomes the judgement.  So he invites us to surrender our judgement of ourselves in order that we would live in the freedom of his judgement, which is no judgement, which is Love.  Are we willing to receive Love, in spite of what we know of ourselves?

It's crazy.  We spend so much time trying to hide ourselves or make ourselves or create some version of ourselves that can be considered good, and all God asks is that we surrender our efforts and live in the truth of who we are: people who are trapped in self-focus and self-determination and self-awareness and self-consciousness but who are invited to rest in His goodness, to sacrifice the idol we make of ourselves in an attempt to be good, allowing Him to make us good through Jesus, through Love--the way, the truth, and the life.  Actually, love is the ability to forget ourselves for even just a second in order to focus on someone else.  Love is the gift of seeing beyond ourselves--not in some martyr-ish, put-everyone- else's-needs-above-my own kind of way, but in a freeing, I'm-not-so consumed-with-my-own-insecurity- or-shame-or-sense-of-needing-to-prove-myself-that-I'm-incapable-of-living-beyond-my-own-daily-drama.  What a relief to be free of me.

God's invitation is almost the antithesis of what any "good Christian" would tell you.

Stop trying.  Stop striving.  Stop worrying about yourself.  Rest.  Receive my love, and in turn, without even realizing it, you will love, too.  Gospel.

Anyway, God is so much better than I ever thought.  What separates deity from humanity is not that God has some penultimate knowledge of good and evil, right and wrong, that allows him to punish appropriately and justly but that God loved us so much, he chose to endure our punishment for us and give us his righteousness.  In effect, he traded judgments with us.  So we are no longer judged.  We are only loved.  And when we receive that, understand that, it changes everything.

That understanding helps me surrender my kids, my efforts at being a good mom, my fears that I am not doing well enough, my sense that I need to always be doing something better, and trust that He who loves and made my kids will be faithful to redeem them, to redeem my messes, and to love them through me far better than I could ever hope to love them on my own.  Somehow.  Through some divine mystery that I can only begin to glimpse.

So I pray for the faith to believe it--and rest.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love comments!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin