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What The World Needs Now...

Over the past few weeks, I can’t seem to get the song “What The World Needs Now Is Love” out of my head. I just keep singing the same chores that says, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love, It's the only thing that there's just too little of”. Those lyrics seem to stand out to me because I find them to be just as fitting today as they were when the song was released in 1965. When the song was written our world looked much different than it does today but they still had many of the same issues we find ourselves in today. I think many of our issues could be helped if we would just choose love over judgment. As we all know, our world does not need more division, it needs love because “it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.” What this song teaches me is that love is always the right decision when it comes to interacting with other people.

As Christians, we have a list of moral laws and commandments that we are taught to abide by from the time we come into the church. Not long after learning the ten commandments, we began to hold ourselves accountable for those laws but it doesn’t end there, we quickly then move on to holding others up to those laws. The problem with that is that it is not our job to do so. Galatians 6:1-2 puts it in this way, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Many of us, myself included, take this verse as permission to judge others and to correct their sinful ways but that is far from what this verse is saying. This verse encourages us to gently or with love watch out for each other but also warns us not to take judgment into our own hands. When we care for one another we do exactly what God wants us to do, but when we point fingers and judge our fellow children of God we are not following God’s will.

God never intended for us to be His deputies on earth. He has complete control over the situation and plans to guide us back to His will with the need for us to intercede on His behalf. Our part of His plan is to choose to love someone even if they are sinning against God. Loving that person is not the same as approving of that sin or accepting it. So when I chose to love my friend who is in a same-sex relationship, I am not saying that I approve of that relationship I am saying that I love that person as a child of God. We are to love the person, not the sin because let’s all be honest we all have a sin that should keep us from entering heaven. It is not our place to say that one sin is greater than the other when all sin breaks the heart of our Heavenly Father. To put it simply, it is not our responsibility to judge if someone is sinning. Although it might be evident that they are breaking the commandments, it still doesn’t give us the right to label them a sinner.

When I think about what God says about judging others my mind goes directly to what is said in Matthew 7:3-5 which reads,

“Why do you take note of the splinter in your brother’s eye but do not notice the wooden plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while all the time the wooden plank remains in your own? You hypocrite! First remove the wooden plank from your own eye, and then you will be able to see clearly enough to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.”

We find it so easy to see everything that the other person is doing wrong but forget to look inward to the content of our hearts. We want to seem holy and pure so we point out everything in others so we don’t have to face the fact that we are just as sinful as they are. In doing this we are only lying to ourselves and creating an environment where we put ourselves on a pedestal. This verse tells us to take care of our own sins before trying to help others with theirs.

Another one of my favorite stories in regards to judging others is found in John 8:1-11,

“But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At daybreak he entered the temple courts, and all the people gathered around him. He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought in a woman who had been caught in adultery. Forcing her to stand in their midst, they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. What do you have to say?’ They asked him this question as a test so that they could bring a charge against him. Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they continued to persist in their question, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Then he again bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard his response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders, until Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She replied, ‘No one, sir.’ ‘Neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus said. ‘Go on your way, and sin no more.’ ”

The woman in this story could have rightly been convicted of the crimes that were brought against her and Jesus could have rightly convicted her of those crimes but that is not where this story goes. In this story, Jesus illustrates to us firsthand the power of choosing love instead of judgment. Jesus being fully God had the right to judge her for the sins she had committed but Jesus also being fully man knew that only God could convict her. Jesus not only tells us in His words that we should not judge but also shows us with His actions. Because of Jesus’ kindness towards this woman many believe to be Mary Magdalene, she makes the decision to leave her former life to become a follower of Jesus and a true friend. Mary Magdalene becomes one of Jesus’ closest friends and follows Him all the way to the cross. Jesus' kindness leads her away from her sin without Him even having to correct her.

What if God is calling us to do the same with our friends and family members who have gone astray? Is God calling you to be a friend to sinners and to show love instead of judgment? Just remember what Romans 14:12 teaches us, “So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” On the final judgment day, we will not have to give an account for others' actions only our own actions. That means that we will not have to answer for the actions of our friends or families. Their sins are their own to answer for, what we will have to answer for is our actions toward God’s beloved children despite their actions.

My challenge for you this week is to reach out to someone in your past or someone in your life right now who you have judged inappropriately and apologize. Let’s work at creating a more loving world and leave judgment to God.

Check out the full story behind the song at: