This is a followup to this post in which I discuss the Problem with Guilt.
I want us to talk about why using guilt on others is wrong, and what we should be doing instead.
So, why DO we use guilt on others?
The act of using guilt to control others is based on judgment. I have judged that someone is not acting the way I think they should, and I seek to get them back in line with what I think.
Two problems with this:
- This assumes that we can and should control others.
- As humans we are not ideally placed to make such judgments.
These are both kind of a problem bc they don’t seem to fit with what Jesus thinks our lives should be about…
In the midst of talking about how important it is to love everyone, especially those who don’t love us back, Jesus says this, ‘Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive and you will be forgiven; give and it will be given to you.’ Luke 6:36-38
What part of that sounds like judging others and trying to control them is something God is cool with?
I can almost hear some of you saying, ‘Yes, but! in other places we are told to judge!’ how can such thoughts be reconciled? That kinda feels like another post…but I promise we’ll get there. I encourage you to think/pray about this with me until we get there!
So, how ARE we meant to treat others?
We just read where Jesus calls us to be merciful to others! Interestingly, James tells us this, ‘Judgment is without mercy to those who show no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.’
How in the world does mercy triumph over judgment?
I think it is easy enough for us to see how this plays out at the Cross. The grace and mercy extended to all through the sacrifice of Jesus frees us from judgment. Paul tells us this in Romans 8:1: ‘There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.’
It can be a bit tougher for us to visualize Mercy’s triumph over judgment in our relationships.
In our next post I want to explore some examples of the effects that judgment has on relationships, and how things can be different if mercy is introduced.
I hope you’ll join me…and tell your friends!