In righteousness shall you judge your neighbor

Leviticus 19:15 “You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor. 16 You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord.

17 “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

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We must be tender with sinners, but not with sin.

The Phantom of the Opera

“You are afraid of me! Yet I am not really wicked. Love me and you shall see! All I wanted was to be loved for myself.”
The Phantom of the Opera

Those words are spoken by a man who was so badly deformed that his own mother forced him to wear a mask when he came near her. He had never been kissed, not even by his mother! While it does not excuse the evil he did, if you can put yourself in his shoes for just a moment. I think you can see how The Phantom Eric became really angry with the world.

We all to lesser extremes have unfortunate things in our past. Those unfortunate things can often drive a person to sin. When we are tempted to judge people we need to remember that we don’t know what that person has endured.

The local bully on the playground might be abused by someone in his/her family.
The prostitute you drove by yesterday could have been kidnapped by a pimp.

We should also remember that we are sinners too, we have no right to have a self righteous attitude toward the people we judge.
We judge to help someone not to beat them down.

While we should be angry at the sins of people, we need to remember that each person was made in the image of God, with a history that may make their sins viewable in a new light. While some sinners do need to be kept away from society because they are dangerous, all sinners need someone who will attempt to take them by the hand and say there is a better way.

The title of today’s blog is a quote by my pastor Bob Fuller.