I peered out my window the other day and saw an amazingly huge Woodpecker stabbing at the Crab Apple tree. I watched in awe as he made his rounds, looking for whatever grubs he might find. Somehow, it reminded me of people and how often we, yes, each one of us, look like that bird, seeking whom we might devour. Looking for the holes and grubs in other people’s lives. Trying to feed ourselves and feel better for all the wrong we see in the world.
But then, I saw in my mind’s eye, Jesus. Yes, Jesus. I thought of how I used to think of Him as one who also looked for the flaws and sins in each of our lives. You see, my old-school, Catholic upbringing somehow gave me this picture of Jesus. The One who judges. I guess I heard of Him as judge and thought He was constantly watching and judging and condemning us. So many of the early years of my salvation were spent wondering and worrying and watching everything I did to make sure I was in line with God. Now that’s a lot of work(s)!
I am ever so grateful that God has done a great work in my life in recent years. He has given many lessons to bring me to a true knowledge of Who he is and how he works in our lives. Jesus saves now and judges later. We only need to trust and obey and love to find health and wholeness in our life. And then the real kicker? We offer that same love to those around us. Amazing simplicity!
So the moral of this Woodpecker story? Let’s not allow old ideas to be master of our thoughts and hearts. Let’s not be Woodpeckers in other’s lives, casting judgment, and searching for the grubs. Let’s not use Christianity as an excuse to be the microscope peering into other people’s lives. And certainly, let’s not picture Jesus as One who sits on the throne just waiting for our sin to pop out.
God loves us. Jesus came to save the sinner and forgive past, present, and future sins. All we need to do is follow Him, trusting that He is God. Let Him do the rest.
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. 1 John 4:15-19
When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all his angels are with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. The people of every nation will be gathered in front of him. He will separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right but the goats on his left. Matthew 25:31-33
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