One day in worship at the discipleship training center there was a deep sense of God having brought us out of darkness into His light. As I asked what this darkness includes, I saw that one of the darkest things in us is the tendency to accuse and judge others. This is a serious issue and we must decide conclusively what our attitude will be towards others in this regard.
We will always be able to find faults and weaknesses in every single human being! Our ability to perceive "unworthiness" is particularly keen regarding those whose job is the ministry, because no man is sinless and worthy in and of himself to represent a Holy God. We should not condone wrongdoing. But the question here is whether we will adopt a judgmental, critical approach.
We often hear an accusing voice whispering to us why another person is not OK. This voice proclaims the same message as that which rose up from the blood of Abel in Genesis: "The voice of your brother's blood cries out (literally "yells") to Me from the ground" (Genesis 4:10). Abel's blood yelled out an indictment: Sin has been committed. Punish the offender. He must no longer be free, must no longer be considered normal, blameless and worthy. This cry is in some sense a just demand for punishment. [We should note that there is one who is always speaking thus even to this day - the accuser of the brothers (Revelation 12:10).]
This voice is often justified and presenting valid evidence for indictment. It accuses and judges our fellow man: What a fake and a hypocrite. No one can stand them. How can they even pretend to believe in God. You know what they have done, what they're really like. Every one of us has heard this voice and sometimes entertained it. Is that really the voice we want to receive and proclaim, or even foster in secret in our minds and in subtle whisperings one to another!?
Don't decide yet ... there is other blood that speaks as well. But you have come to ... the sprinkled blood which speaks better than the blood of Abel? (Heb 12:22-24 NASB) It is the blood of the sinless Messiah, shed for the atonement of guilty man. What exactly is this other blood saying more strongly than the blood of Abel? This voice proclaims a different message, makes an additional legal claim, beyond that made by the blood of Abel, but even more effectively. It is: I received on myself his due punishment. Therefore absolve the person on trial. Acquit him. He is cleared of guilt. He is forgiven. Set him free!
If we would strain to hear it, this voice would whisper in our ear: Look at that person God created, buffeted about by the blows of his own wrongdoings and those of others. Oh that he would be free, growing, thriving, healthy, redeemed from bondages, brought out of darkness into light.
To which blood will we add our cry? Which voice will we affirm? With our thoughts and our words we are interceding, praying for others in one of these two directions. This decision will confront us many times every day for the rest of our lives, not only concerning those whom it is easier for us to love, but especially regarding those whom it is difficult for us to love. Will we be on the side of the blood that accuses or of the blood that atones and acquits?
Also in this issue of the newsletter:
|Dan Juster: Biblical Liberation and Tribalism|
|Marty Shoub: The Miracle that is Tolek|
|Moshe Morrison: Ancient Paths|
|Simcha and Bella Davidov: Declare His Praise in the Coastlands|