BOLD GRACE…..does not equal…….FREEDOM FROM JUDGEMENT
Now let me quantify what Im saying here. In my mind Grace gives us the Freedom to know that we will not have an eternal separation from our Creator. It does not say that we will not have some form of Judgement. I am sometimes confused when people say we are perfect, when it seems perfectly clear to me that on this earth we are here to grow. And in the midst of our growth we will experience many things from a negative perspective. Now does God make good from these experiences, the answer is, of course, but lets not kid ourselves, there will be Judgement on our actions and consequence from that. Will that mean God loves us less and does not see us as deserving, of course not!
The Believer’s Freedom
“Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” (I Corinthians 10:23-24)
I think as believers we sometimes get confused or mislead into thinking that because we are saved we can do what we want. I think we put to much emphasis on ourselves and miss the fact that we are intended to be a community of people (Ekklesia). And because of that, there are behaviours that if taken outside of moderation actually become hurtful to ourselves and the people we supposedly love. Addictions of many kinds can eventually cause us to seperate from each other. I think that is exactly what Paul has in mind with the above quote. I am entitled to do whatever I choose and God will Love me no less, but how will that bring me into community? In the end, are my behaviours going to be loving or not? I think if I choose to do certain behaviours I must be ready when the consequence (judgement) happens.
The key to a TRULY LOVING COMMUNITY is when we can make a judgement of ourselves or others and gently and lovingly point it out without condemnation. I know this is a slippery slope, but I believe to my core it is one that we have to traverse to continue our Growth that God intended.
Galatians 5:22 (English Standard Version)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness
What happens when I overly indulge certain behaviours? Do I create the feelings that the above scripture says is the fruit of my spirit? I think not! I find it interesting though, that many who believe so strongly in Grace and Love think it is ok to overly partake in those behaviours. Rage, drinking too much, gambling, smoking, over eating and the list goes on. How can we believe that it is ok to do these things when it is obvious what the negative outcomes on our physical and spiritual bodies will be? After all, we know that outside of moderation these behaviours will drain our energies, make us frustrated and likely cause division amongst ourselves.
Now again I will reiterate that it has no bearing on whether God loves us, nor will we be eternally seperated from God. But, what imprint will it leave on my spirit and what imprint will I leave on the people I Love? I find it interesting that we can make a judgement of the Eternal Damnation(hell) idea, because we know in our hearts that it is not loving nor community enriching, yet we wont look at our areas where we create Division. Now how Loving is that? How as believers do we become accountable but not condemning of our actions? Also I ask, should we feel bad (shame) when we know that we have hurt another? Is it possible that God may have given us that feeling for a reason? Now I’m not talking about guilt but one of truly feeling, I have done a wrong.
I have wrestled with a quote given to me a while ago, so here I will share it with you. I would love to hear back from everyone on my thoughts.
“AS FAR GOES MY SELF CONTROL, AS FAR GOES MY FREEDOM.”
John T. (Guest Blogger – a good man – and a fellow Canadian)