“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” -John 3:17
John 3:16 may be the most popular and well known scripture in the world. And that is a good thing. It teaches the Doctrine of Christ. Summing this passage up, is says all who believe in the Son, Jesus, may be saved. And this is a beautiful truth! Unfortunately, we see too many rather vocal Christians then reject the very next verse, that Jesus was sent to save the world, not to condemn it. By ignoring this important truth we find a vocal Christian minority condemning anything and everything. As we preach and teach of Christ, we must be clear that love is the way.
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” -Matthew 7:1-2; 3 Nephi 6:13-14 RAV, 14:1-2 OPV
It is clear by the teachings of Jesus that we are not to judge. Yes, there are plenty of scriptures that can be cherry picked about God judging, but we are not God. We are still growing in that Grace Jesus provided us. While it is true that the Joseph Smith “translation” of Matthew 7 adds not to judge unrighteously but to judge with righteous judgement, what is righteous judgement? If we are not to condemn, then righteous judgment would be love, to judge with Christlike love. It is not overturning the tables at the temple, but seeking to accept others where they are and help them grow their own relationship with Jesus Christ. This is the only way, as we too are not sent to condemn.
All are Beggars
“For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same being, even God, for all the substance which we have… And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name and begging for a remission of your sins.” -Mosiah 2:32-34 RAV, 4:19-20b OPV.
When we condemn others we forget the mercy we begged God to give us. No one is perfect and we are all working to grow in Christ’s Grace. When we point the finger of condemnation at others it is generally to hide our own sins. This isn’t the love of God but the love of our egos and our pride talking. Love hides sins. James taught us that “he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins” (James 5:20). Who’s sins are being hidden? Not ours, we are already saved in Christ. But the “sinner” is now converted, their sins are taken from them by Jesus. We don’t need to condemn, we need to love. By loving our neighbors as God loves us, Satan cannot use guilt to hide Jesus from those that need Him most.
God is Love
“God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16b
The final thought is love, as it is a the first thought, as the first shall be last and the last shall be first. We present God to others in the manner we understand God. If we see ourselves condemned by God, unworthy, then we will present God as a demanding deity, merciless and unforgiving. When we come to God not out of fear, but out of love, we present God as love. We love that God loves us, and we love others as God loves us. I say this so we understand that we must not condemn those that condemn others in the name of our God. Yes, they may be chasing people away from the Lord, but are we any better if we adopt their tactics? We must set the example and love those that have not yet felt God’s love for them. It is my prayer that if we love them, they will feel God’s love for them through us.
” I would speak unto you that are of the Church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope, by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven.” -Moroni 7:3 RAV & OPV