Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rejecting Condemnation: Dealing with this Corrosive Spirit

Without doubt the most humbling thing I’ve felt recently is the thought that I’ve condemned people, including myself. It’s an all-too-easy thing to do. We wander off on a tangent because we’re preoccupied and next thing we’ve judged someone--causing at times a great deal of hurt.

This critical, corrosive spirit comes no doubt from fear and hurt, and it propagates itself. Hurt people hurt people and so on. When we’re hurt we’re slaves to the hurt in our lives. Paul tells us we can be slaves to fear and the hurts of the past and of our base nature, or we can be slaves to God, and realise freedom… freedom from spiritual death… and freedom from condemnation.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ, (who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit).”[1] We are freed from sin and death when we cast our cares on Christ and fervently allow his Spirit to train us.

This is a journey towards a flowing, enveloping trust. The fullest sense of trust is zero condemnation, either of self or other people. It’s a trust that fears very little save the fear of the Lord--the healthy, respecting, awed fear that directs life on good paths.

Trust enables us, in faith, to experience a smooth, foreboding peace within--we have no fear of others or ourselves, and no one and no thing is a threat. We therefore have no reason and no opportunity to condemn people or ourselves. Guilt is a thing of the past.

But all this is conditional, one day at a time. God, through his Son, Jesus Christ, is a relational God. The sanctified life requires us to relate with God continually so that his grace might remind us of the fact that we’re forgiven and stand condemned at nothing. All that might condemn us rests squarely at the foot of the cross.

“Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.” –Martin Luther King, “I Have a Dream” speech.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

[1] Romans 8:1 (NIV). The portion of the quote in parentheses is taken from later manuscripts.

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