Saturday, June 23, 2012


One of the greatest, if not THE greatest cause of suffering in the world is the pervasive tendency for one person to judge and condemn another or for a group to judge and condemn another group. One of the most ironic and instructive themes in the New Testament is how judgement and condemnation plays out.

Tax collectors, prostitutes, and various other "sinners" are judged and condemned by the religious elite in the New Testament. So Jesus makes friends with these losers and is judged and condemned as well. One such loser was the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. Jesus honors this woman of questionable character by making her the first missionary to the non-Jewish world. Remember that she was an outcast within a despised minority. She was the portrait of the absolute loser.

Surprise! The Samaritans whom Jesus so honors judge and reject him in Luke 9:52-53. The disciples accepted Jesus as their Messiah and they are offended by the Samaritan's rejection of their Messiah. So they ask to call fire down from heaven to destroy them in John 9:54.

Despite all Jesus has said about forever, unconditional forgiveness and watching him befriend the worst people in the society, the disciple's tendency to judge was so powerful that they jump at the chance to do it. They are right and righteous in their own eyes because they believe in the true Messiah, therefore, they are in a position to judge and condemn those who don't.

Imagine their shock when Jesus pulls the rug out from under them by becoming the most rejected, despised, low class loser of all time by dying a criminal's death. He was rejected by all, judged by all, and executed in the way reserved for the worst of the worst criminals.

The irony is that after Jesus is vindicated by the Father when he rises from the dead, the disciples follow Jesus into the world where they are rejected as he was. The judgment they wanted for the Samaritans falls on them. They are judged by others, condemned, and destroyed. They suffer the same fate that they at one time wished on others.

When Jesus, the only person worthy to judge, let himself be judged by us, he put an end to the legitimacy of all judgment. The disciples got that and followed him, knowing that, like him, they too would be resurrected.

As I have said before, judging others is bad for us in so many ways. 

Jesus and his true followers show us that we don't have to do that anymore. 
Truth and health come with forgiveness and love.