Judge Not

Judge Not

“Get behind me Satan, you are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men”. Jesus said.
This is a favorite scripture used by Christians and non-Christians alike. They use it primarily to point out some perceived injustice or evil. Jesus was unique in his ability to spot Satan, we are not quite as good at it and in fact Jesus cautions us. “Judge not, lest you be judged”. “Let the weeds grow with the wheat. We’ll sort it all out at harvest time.’ 
More often than not, the people who use this scripture are not calling out an idea or an evil intent, they are labeling someone as outright evil and this is not Jesus intent, nor should we use this scripture in this manner.
One of the things that people miss is this. “Get thee behind me Satan” was spoken to Peter. Let that sink in for a minute. Peter, with very little argument, is/was one of the most influential people to have ever lived. The Catholics believe that in this very passage, Peter was anointed as the Pope of the Universal Church. “Upon this rock, I will build my church.” 
And with a very careful reading of the Bible you will be hard pressed to find individuals that God uses or even mentions that have led perfectly moral lives. Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Samson, David, Solomon … go do some homework and see who God chooses to use. Don’t forget to check in on Rahab or Bathsheba … It’s not a mistake that Mary Magdalena was the first person to see the resurrected Jesus.
Good people do bad things. Bad people do good things. The life of Saul, the persecutor of the church, is a clear example as to what God can do with a self righteous, self serving zealot. Jesus spends most of his time during his ministry on earth, rebuking judgmental, self serving individuals who wish to label people into eternal evil. You did something horrible. There is no redemption for you. Jesus was the very victim of self righteous, judgmental people who began to call evil-good and good-evil. They chose the thief over Jesus when they stood before Pontius Pilate. 
Saul was met in the middle of his murderous hunt and challenged by Jesus Himself and He was changed. For many years, no one trusted this conversion and in fact it was 17 years before he began a public ministry. Peter made plenty of mistakes. Thomas was a doubter. James and John were looking for position and power and Judas was a thief. These are the men that trusted God, humbled themselves, proclaimed Jesus as their Lord and followed hard after Him. They did not live mistake free from that day on. Still, they would not allow the non believer, the persecutor or the government hinder them from the mission and that was to “teach people the teachings of Jesus.”
To my Christian friends, stay close to the scripture. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood. Still, we wrestle agains principalities and powers of the air.” We wrestle with Satan Himself and we overcome by the blood of the lamb and by the word of our testimony loving not our lives and reputations. Love for our reputation and the approval of men would separate us from where we need to be and that is putting the love that comes from God and the honor that comes from God ahead of anything this earth has to offer. Let me be clear. Resist evil. Submit to God and the devil will flee. 
Be still and know that He is Lord. God is able to make all grace abound to you so that you will always be fully equipped in every situation so that you can give to every good work. You are the head and not the tail, above and not beneath. You have made Jesus the Lord of your life and that means that your eternal future is very bright. Oh, death where is your sting. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Make no mistake … every person is a creation of God. Every human being is made in His image and likeness. 
Before you condemn anyone for anything —read Nehemiah … who commissioned Nehemiah? Go read the end of Genesis and watch how God used Pharoah. Read Daniel — and see Daniel stand before his earthly king.
To my non Christian friends who love to quote scripture. I have been preaching the gospel for a long time. I began my commitment to my calling on the floor of the commodity exchanges and many of the people who read my weekly encouragements or came to the Bible Studies we held, were not there to just agree with me. The back and forth was heated. There were believers and non believers alike. There were well trained Jews and Muslims. 
The discussions were weekly and they were tough for many that came. They were especially tough for church people who were just coming to hear familiar stories. They were also tough for the church haters who were used to silencing “born again types” with a a few choice biblical quotes or statements like “the Bible was written by men” or “the Bible contradicts itself” all the while quoting the occasional scripture. You see there is a huge difference between knowing some scripture and believing the scripture is true. 
When these types would challenge me, I wouldn’t always have an immediate rebuttal or response for them. I would say, “Let me think about that. I’ll pray and get back to you. Your questions are valid. Come back next week and we will make this the topic for discussion.” And then I would wink at them and say. “I suggest you spend some time and pray, if you want to win the debate. I will be preparing. You should, too.” I say that in this writing as well.
Do your homework. Remember God loves everybody. Satan is evil. People can choose to be led around by his lies and his deceptions, but people are all redeemable. All people are redeemable. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
For me, calling a child a fetus and denying it’s humanity is evil, but I have been known to hold a young woman after she has gone through the termination of that life, comforting her and making sure she knows that she is still loved. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.
Many times, people have asked me to kick this adulterer out of church or this person who they thought beat them on a business transaction. This is not my place. Shame, blame, condemnation or guilt are not mine to dole out. My job is simple and is to “preach the gospel” in season and out of season. I preach it when it is popular and when it is unpopular and I know someone who believes the words they quote and a person who has come to disqualify with scriptures. Sadly, there are Christians and non Christians alike who use this tactic.
Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Every day, thoughts come to me. Some thoughts are from God and others are not. I can’t tell you how many times a day that I rebuke Satan in my own thoughts. I am not evil, but the evil one is broadcasting and my brain is an antennae that is not always tuned right into the right station. The more I love people and the more I teach scripture and stay with the people who hear it, the more my mettle is tested. 
Is this Jesus the real deal? Yes, He is. He is not a man that He can lie and He is the same yesterday, today and forever. And even though today, I know Him as well as I do, tomorrow, I will be surprised once again. He’s new every morning great is His faithfulness.
Every man will speak of his own goodness, but a faithful man who can find?
I didn’t come to condemn the world, but to reconcile the world back to the Father.
Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened and I will give you rest.
Judge not, lest ye be judged for the with same measurement that you mete, it shall be measured again unto you.
Even Jesus said, “I am the True Vine, but my Father is the husbandman”
Look upon no man by their outward appearance.
I leave you with this. “He who has been forgiven much, loves much”.
We don’t go to heaven because we are good people. Sin will keep no one out of heaven. The only way to heaven is through His son, the Savior, who rose from the dead … He is the reason for this season. His name is Jesus. When you get to heaven, you’ll call Him Yahshua YHWH.
Dan Stratton

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