WELCOME TO THE JUDGEMENT FREE ZONE
I joined a gym last week. It’s not a big secret I’ve gained a few dozen pounds ok!
But as I entered the gym, I noticed in bright neon, a sign that read, WELCOME TO THE JUDGEMENT FREE ZONE. Ok, let’s not all act saintified and pretend we haven’t ever passed judgement on an over/under weighted person! It’s so easy to look at someone and say, “Glad I ain’t that big!” or “Dang!! She needs to eat a hamburger and put some meat on those bones!
It got me to thinking. The very one place where you are probably judged on your height and weight the most is the gym! Larger people looking at the fit people in disgust wishing they looked that good and the fit people looking at the larger people thinking, “yeah, ya’ll need to be here!” But just seeing that sign is inviting. It gives you a sense of, “I fit in here! No-one judging me here- We are all here for the same reason- WE NEED HELP!”
So, what if the church had a “WELCOME TO THE JUDGEMENT FREE ZONE” sign.
What if sinners from all walks of life felt welcome to walk through the doors of any church and not be judged by their appearance- and by appearance, I am not just talking about how they look. It goes deeper than that. People are hurting and looking for something to fill the emptiness in their life. They try to mask the pain with the newest fashion, the hottest guy, the hottest girl, the strongest drink or the wildest life. When in reality, all they need, (and unknowingly want) is for God to come into their hearts and heal them. But unfortunately, the church has become real good at welcoming people in but judging them from a distance. And that is why a lot of people look down on the church. They work with us, go to school with us, shop with us, and see us on a daily basis. They hear us talking about how rude the girl at Starbucks was this morning, they hear us gossip about our friends and relatives. They see us being underhanded in life to get away with the smallest of things. They see us coveting, judging, and lying- but they need to see us loving, sharing, caring and giving grace!
Let’s look at Jesus’ life for a moment. He loved sinners! He loves the broken, the sick, the weary, the murderer and the holier than thou’s.
One of my very favorite examples of Jesus’ love for the sinner is the woman caught in the act of adultery. (having sex with someone else when you are already married) John 8:1-11
The Scribes and the Pharisees didn’t like Jesus. They wanted to get rid of him! They liked to think they were perfect and didn’t need Jesus because they “kept the law”. So they brought this woman who was caught with another man and basically tested Jesus to see if they could make Jesus look bad. He had two choices in their eyes, stone the woman because of the law and obliterate everything He had ever spoken about God’s goodness and grace and forgiveness or let the woman go free and Jesus would then be guilty of not keeping the law Himself.
But in Jesus’ eyes, there was only one thing to do, redeem the woman from her sin and set her free. He didn’t judge her, condemn her, tell her how sorry she was, point out her sins or stone her. He gave the men who brought her to Him permission to stone her. He said, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.” But Jesus’ already knew they wouldn’t be able to stone the woman. He let them examine and judge themselves and each one had to walk away. (Notice He didn’t even judge the men) He didn’t have to. Jesus redeemed the woman by forgiving her. We don’t hear about this woman anymore, but I bet after meeting Jesus and receiving a love like no other from Him, she found it easy to live a sin free life.
When people are brought to us, come to us, or we just run into them, we need to be ready to show them the love of Jesus. Lay aside our judgemental thoughts, because hurting people already know they’re doing something they’re not supposed to, and love them! When we show people kindess we show them Jesus.
Rom 2:1-4 (message) Tells us we cannot hide our sins by judging others! When we judge others we are just as guilty as they are!
No amount of judgement is going to make people want to be good. It will have the opposite effect on them. V4 says- It is the goodness of God that will cause them to change.
Be Jesus this week. Be His light and His love! Love someone deemed unloveable! Give grace to someone who doesn’t deserve it.