Madeline and I both joined the St. Luke’s staff family in the summer of 2018.
It is the first time both of us have worked on a church staff. We confess that we thought the need for daily time with Jesus would be less than before, but we were wrong! When Pastor Katie suggested to all of the St. Luke’s staff that we pick a Bible buddy for the Lenten season, Maddie and I decided to get together once a week to study the Word. We have experienced life-change already.
One of the things we have discussed is our tendency towards the sin of judgment; not judgment of others but the judgment of ourselves. Jesus says that he alone is our judge, and the apostle Paul emphasizes this. “But with me, it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.” We admitted that it is easy to think that we have the rights to our time, thoughts, money, lives and judgment of ourselves. God reminds us that these things are all the Lord’s, paid for with the price of His Son and we are His precious children.
Do you ever get caught in the trap of judging yourself as we do with thoughts of, “I should have done that better. If I had, things would have turned out differently.” What would Jesus say to you in these circumstances? Can you picture Him washing your feet – the same feet that you use to kick yourself? When Peter refused to let Jesus wash his feet, Jesus replied, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part in me.” Can you picture Him turning to you and protecting you from your accusers, including yourself? “Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” are Jesus’s words in response to accusation. Can you picture Him looking on you as a precious lamb of His flock, leaving the ninety-nine others in earnest search of you when you have gone astray?
Maddie and I have found that it is helpful to remind each other of the simple Gospel: we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, but it is finished; our sins—past, present, and future—are paid for, and we have access to mercy and grace to use our lives for God’s purpose.