I was reading in the book of Titus last week and since then I’ve been thinking of something Paul says in the third chapter.
He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we have done, but because of His own compassion and mercy…Titus 3:5 AMP
Now this is typical of the scriptures. It is a fundamental Christian truth that we love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19) What Jesus did for us is not for any work we did or anything we deserved to have. He provided a way for us to the Father simply because His love for us has no bounds. And we in turn are called to be followers of His example, doers of the word and not only listeners. (James 1:22)
And here is the thought that God brought about as I read that verse in Titus:
If we are to be Christ-minded and treat people as He does or would, then we have to treat them based on who––or Whose––we are rather than who they are or what they have done. We must first act in mercy, grace, goodness, and loving-kindness before acting in judgement.
We act based on us being redeemed, not them being un-redeemed.
Perhaps I follow this line because God has been revealing to me the concept that many Christians believe we are the gatekeepers to His throne. Now there’s a lot more behind this statement that I will save for another day, but this is one of the main points behind what I’m saying today.
A lot of the time, we look at people and we judge first. This happens way too often, even outside of the Christian circle. Yet this goes against what God would have us do.
[…] To slander or abuse no one, to be kind and conciliatory and gentle, showing unqualified consideration and courtesy toward everyone.Titus 3:2 AMP
We are not to be a respecter of persons, but we are to respect every person.
What I mean is this: We cannot and should not show preferential or partial treatment to anyone, choosing one person over another based on bias or preconceptions, but we should treat all people with the same grace, mercy, loving-kindness, and respect whether we think they deserve it or not.
We cannot afford to judge a person and write them off before their heart is revealed. How many people are put off of a relationship with Jesus because the church judged them too quickly and deemed them unworthy of His love. That is not our place. We are not the ones who get to make that call. That is one authority we do not have. That authority lies with God and God alone, and God deemed that everyone is worth dying for so that they can be reconciled to Him.
So when we are faced with someone who might not be up to our standards for whatever reason, we need to remember that it’s not our standards we are living by. It’s God’s. And God’s standard is one of Grace, Peace, Mercy, Loving-kindness, Goodness, and Joy. God’s standard is everyone who believes in Him [Jesus] will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) God’s standard is come to Me all who are burdened and I will give you rest. (Matt. 11:28)
If you notice, there is a rest, a lifting of the person’s burden, and then there is the taking up of Jesus’ yoke. In that rest, Jesus teaches the person His heart which is full of mercy, grace, and loving-kindness. Then He says to them, “Go and sin no more.”
We are to be an ambassador and extension of Jesus pointing the way to His rest. We must first meet people with His mercy, His grace, His loving-kindness, His goodness, His hope, His joy…all these things that we attribute to Jesus should be found within us and they make up the bed on which that person can rest. But if we’re too busy sizing them up and telling God, “Oh this one’s no good for You. They don’t deserve to meet with You.” Then that person will never experience God’s rest and they will never take up a life with Jesus.
How many people are burdened by the judgment of others?
We cannot treat someone based on their past, on their appearance, on their attitude; really nothing about the other person should be a factor in how we deal with them with the exception that they need Jesus and we are an extension of Him. Every single way we interact with another human being needs to be based on our relationship with Jesus, not theirs.
Every action and word that comes from us should come from a place of devotion and relationship with Christ. That includes how we treat people, whether we know them or not.
How could Jesus forgive those who nailed Him to the cross? Because His actions were based off of the Father’s love, grace, and mercy, not those people’s actions, words, or beliefs.
We need to stop basing our actions on the world around us instead of the Savior within us.
We need to start meeting every person, every word, every circumstance with an attitude of grace, mercy, goodness, and loving-kindness. We need to live like we’re connected to the Vine, like we dwell within Jesus––an extension of Him instead of Him being an extension of us. (John 15:1)
We are to live on the basis of Love, on the foundation of Jesus is everything and more than we are.
And now the essence of this new life is no longer mine, for the Anointed One lives His life through me––we live in union as one!Gal. 2:20 TPT
People need to meet Jesus. They can’t do that if we’re too busy living based off of our personal opinions and feelings instead of His. Let people meet Jesus first before they meet us.
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