Justify

jus·ti·fy verb

1.  show or prove to be right or reasonable.

2. THEOLOGY; declare or make righteous in the sight of God.

It’s one of those polarizing words, right or wrong, black and white.  The word Justify deals in absolutes. It’s a word I’ve been pondering since this past Sunday.  I had the great honor of continuing the conversation with some amazing followers of Jesus after the service.  We talked about this love thing that Jesus calls us to and how we often find ourselves smack dab, face to face with the this little word and the tension that is packed within the ulterior motives it implies.

 

?If I love this person or that person won’t I be saying what they are doing is OK?
?Don’t we have a responsibility to stand for what’s right?
?won’t we bear false witness, a fancy religious way of saying, won’t I give God a bad rep?

 

 Such innocent questions oft fueled by the best of intentions.  They are questions I’ve asked myself many times when faced with the messiness that can often accompany loving others.

 

So what do we do?  How should we proceed with this “Love” thing that Jesus so clearly calls us to live out?

 

My heart is drawn back to a passage we talked about again on Sunday.  John 8:1-11 tells of an encounter Jesus has with some Pharisees and an adulterous woman.  Take a moment and read it through…
“All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone! v. 7
“Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, ‘Where are your accusers?  Didn’t even one of them condemn you?’  ‘No, Lord,’ she said.  And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I.  go and sin no more.!'” v. 10-11
…Every time I read this passage I’m drawn to Jesus’ response when faced with this Justify issue.  “Neither do I condemn you, now go and sin no more!”  Jesus loved and also and just as important called her to life change.  Lets be clear, Jesus did this.  We assume that this confrontation of love caused a heart change in the woman to enable her to begin the journey of sinning no more.  In Christian land we call this transformation!  That moment when we come face to face with the reality of Jesus’ love!  A love that goes so far beyond a nice warm embrace.  It is these encounters with the very nature of God, His heart, His essence, Love, that changes us.  The point of our existence, the very purpose of our lives is to somehow someway come into contact with this Love, Jesus.

 

YES!  We all say!

 

But.

 

How do we love without justifying the sin of others?  What does it mean to love someone?
We need to tell people  “go and sin no more”  Just like Jesus did, that’s how they are “saved” right!?

 

Friends my heart continues to realize more and more every day that Jesus is the one who held the power to be able to utter words like “go and sin no more”.  Only from His lips do they hold the power to truly bring about the change they are calling for.  Somewhere along the way though, for almost every follower of Christ, there comes a moment when the line between God and us becomes blurred.  How easy it is for us to get confused about this whole helping others “go and sin no more” thing.  The times when I have tried to help others go and sin no more has never worked out the way I thought it should.  I leave the situation or relationship always scratching my head wondering why in the world the person didn’t change their life and they end up farther from God than they started?!

 

I’ve come to realize that I do not hold the power to effect this change in the lives of others, BUT 
I serve a God who does!  
What if we took all the passion and enthusiasm from our protest and stands for truth and instead let it fuel our love for people and our motivation to help them meet up with Jesus? What if we gave up our obsession to protect and prove God is God, right is right and sin is sin and instead embraced our true purpose as disciples and took seriously the calling to take the world by the hand and walk them over to meet the God who changed everything!

 

What if we laid down our compulsive need to have everything be black and white and instead focused our lives, our moment by moment existence on asking the simple question,

 

Are my actions and words bringing others closer to meeting the Jesus who changed me?

 

And leave the “go and sin no more” thing to God?

 

Ponder on that for awhile and we will leave this one as a to be continued 🙂
Grace & Peace,
Jon

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