I have always held this thought that: “Heaven shall be full of surprises”. Yes, there shall be surprises as people whom we do not expect to be there shall give us a smile and a wave. Well, these are two words widely known among charismatic churches – SMILE and WAVE. Surprises? Absolutely! The reason is: Your standard may not be God’s standard. So, don’t be too quick to judge people wrongly. Do you remember the scene at Jesus’ crucifixion?
The other malefactor who was also crucified beside Christ was rather accepted by the latter differently. To society, the former was a criminal. He was a social nuisance. He was a social misfit. He was that social miscreant who deserved the extreme punishment of death. Yes, stealing is ungodly no matter how we brand it, whether big or small. However, there was the other side of this criminal the society refused to see – the heart of humility. The picture held in the minds of members of society was quite different from what Jesus held about this thief.
On the cross, his encounter with Jesus was phenomenal. Jesus told him, “Today, you shall be with me in Paradise”(Luke 23:43). This response came as a result of the malefactor’s confessed faith in Jesus as the Messiah. From the encounter, he regretted being a thief or a robber or both. You know, a thief steals especially in one’s absence but a robber does the very opposite.
A robber is bold to confront their targets without any fear or remorse. Their abused conscience, which is totally seared with a repetitive action of negativity becomes their greatest weapon for perpetrating evil without any sense of regret. Such was the portrait of this malefactor in question. He might have been in continuous robbery attacks until one day, the law of the land finally caught him for corporal execution.
Well, with such an obvious verdict, which decent lawyer will be bold enough to defend such a miscreant who is consistent in ways that are totally inconsistent with the standard of society? Interestingly, such social misfits who are widely known even among first time visitors in their community agree to the execution of such people.
Picture the lifestyle of this robber and your guess shall be right – elimination from the living. However, in this private encounter with Jesus, not many people in his community knew about the content of their conversation. This changed heart was what Jesus was interested in; a broken heart to accept his wicked ways, make a quick turn and to welcome the divinity of Jesus earned this social enemy, an easy access into God’s presence.
Today, don’t be too quick to judge people incorrectly. Have a broader mind as you relate with people. Don’t be too quick to take decisions without due diligence. Do your background checks before making a public pronouncement about an issue. If you consistently allow your emotions to becloud your sense of reasoning, you become a proverb and a byword to the ears of your hearers. Constructive criticism is better than a destructive one. Don’t waste time in judging the personalities of people you hate. Don’t dissipate all your energies on people with the aim of putting them down so you are more acknowledged in that space. Be watchful of your ways. The next time people gather around you to destructively gossip about some people, ask yourself if your time warrants such a fruitless conversation.
I agree that wrong actions should be weighed in correcting behaviours but don’t allow bitterness, jealousy and extreme hatred to dictate your dislike for such people in your organisation.
Remember, as you negatively censure people because they do not match your standard, do you also consider your evil thoughts, your secret aberrant or anomalous acts? It is interesting how people blow news out of proportion. The society may applaud the efforts of these ‘holier than thou’ persons but in their privacy, they are the direct opposite. If you rain insults on fornicators, yet in your closet, you masturbate, whom are you deceiving? With sex tools, some play with their genitals till they reach the point of orgasm. If you struggle with your thoughts about this act but you have created this false balance that you are on two legs, you are deceiving yourself. That is an identity crisis. So, my friend, let’s learn to deal with our heart – attitude.
You natter about people who are involved in extra-marital affairs and yet pretend to be holy. Meanwhile, you do not provide solutions to such people’s problems but devise continuous ways of bringing them down. You portray to be correct, however, in your closet, your addiction to pornography and all the naked images on your iPad, your mobile phone and other devices have ruined your mind with filth. Some have images of naked men/women, all stored in the phone’s gallery but pretend they are far better than others. The public may praise you as holier than everyone but you may not be known even by the least angel in heaven. Stop deceiving yourself and make a quick change in your life.
What is the point? Instead of being too quick to throw a stone at people, we should begin to weigh issues/challenges from a broader perspective. Yes, evil is evil. A minute evil in your eyes is not better than the bigger one you consider to be a life-threatening one. In the eyes of God, evil is evil. The only denominator is when one fully surrenders their total will under the control of the Holy Spirit who has the absolute power to work on our weaknesses.
Remember, two wrongs do not make a right. Humbly settle all your scores with God. He’s ever ready to help you. Let’s be truthful to ourselves and allow God’s Word to shape our thoughts. Let’s stay humble. Let’s work out our own salvation with fear and trembling and stop being the Supreme Court Judge who sits in his Gabbatha (Hebrew word for a judgemental seat) to execute final judgement on cases we do not truly understand.
Our nation can be better if we learn to accept people for who they are. It does not necessarily mean that we should allow the system to rot but through a therapeutic mode, help people to overcome their challenges. In this life, learn to separate personalities from issues and allow the wisdom of God to guide you in all your deliberations. Learn the good deeds of people and for the part of them you do not like, put them in the trash.
The writer is an Academic, Visiting Lecturer, Leadership Consultant and a Reverend Minister with WordSprings City Church, Kumasi –Ghana.
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