Tag Archives: judgement

Sheep or Goat?

Sheep and Goats

Such apparent similarities between sheep and goats.  In one field, not always easy to tell apart. Yet the differences are there, and are significant.

Matthew 25:31-46 (CEV)

The Final Judgment

31 When the Son of Man comes in his glory with all of his angels, he will sit on his royal throne. 32 The people of all nations will be brought before him, and he will separate them, as shepherds separate their sheep from their goats.

33 He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 Then the king will say to those on his right, “My father has blessed you! Come and receive the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world was created.35 When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me, 36 and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me.”

37 Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, “When did we give you something to eat or drink? 38 When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear39 or visit you while you were sick or in jail?”

40 The king will answer, “Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me.”

41 Then the king will say to those on his left, “Get away from me! You are under God’s curse. Go into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels! 42 I was hungry, but you did not give me anything to eat, and I was thirsty, but you did not give me anything to drink.43 I was a stranger, but you did not welcome me, and I was naked, but you did not give me any clothes to wear. I was sick and in jail, but you did not take care of me.”

44 Then the people will ask, “Lord, when did we fail to help you when you were hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in jail?”

45 The king will say to them, “Whenever you failed to help any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do it for me.”

46 Then Jesus said, “Those people will be punished forever. But the ones who pleased God will have eternal life.”

It wasn’t me,
I didn’t do anything much,
just what anyone would do,
just caring for my neighbour,
the starnger,
the outcast.
Making sure they were
fed,
watered,
welcomed,
clothed,
cared for
and knew they were loved.

I don’t deserve any praise
or special treatment.

It wasn’t me.
I didn’t do anything wrong.
I have my own concerns
to worry about and care for.

I didn’t even see you Lord,
you know I would have stopped if I did.

And there are so many needs,
how would I know where to start?
What do do
How to make a difference?

There are so many others with more time and resources.

It isn’t my responsibility.

(And besides which,
I’m busy doing “church work”)

And Jesus said,

Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me

And Jesus said,

Whenever you failed to help any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do it for me

Lord,
forgive me when I get caught up
in myself
and my own issues;
when I miss the need all around me,
or feel overwhelmed
or impotent
in the face of it.

Help me
to see you
in the face of every person.
May that inform
how I respond
and react.

Lord,
Make me  a sheep,
not a goat

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Sitting in Judgement

How does the idea of being judged make you feel?  To feel that someone is weighing you up against their standards and norms?  I’m not very good at it.  It makes me feel immediately defensive and as if I have to justify myself and my actions – usually wrongly.

On the other hand, how good I am at sitting in judgement on other people… Imagining I know why they do what they do, where they are coming from, comparing their actions with ‘what I would do’ – because of course I know best.  How foolish I am.

Of course I do what I do mainly because I believe it to be the right thing.  It fits in with my understanding of the world and myself.  But does it fit in with Gods?  If I look at my actions through his eyes, might they seem different, less satisfactory, not sharing his ideals?

God is probably the one person entitled to sit in judgement on us.  The one who holds the big picture, who understands our motives, who sees people trying to do their best – and those trying to make everything fit their way.  Where would I fit in that picture?  How does my behavior weigh up?  I might think I will be vindicated and shown to be right all along.  I wonder…

Amos 5:18-24 (CEV)

When the Lord Judges

18 You look forward to the day
when the Lord comes to judge.
    But you are in for trouble!
It won’t be a time of sunshine;
    all will be darkness.
19 You will run from a lion,
    only to meet a bear.
You will escape to your house,
rest your hand on the wall,
    and be bitten by a snake.
20 The day when the Lord judges
will be dark, very dark,
    without a ray of light.

What the Lord Demands

21 I, the Lord, hate and despise
your religious celebrations
    and your times of worship.
22 I won’t accept your offerings
or animal sacrifices—
    not even your very best.
23 No more of your noisy songs!
I won’t listen
    when you play your harps.
24 But let justice and fairness
flow like a river
    that never runs dry.

We don’t like to think of God sitting in judgement.  We want him to be a nice God, always on our side.  Yet if God is God, he has a Grand Plan, a right and wrong way for things to be done.  Not because he is high and mighty, but because he truly knows what is best for us, loves us and cares for us; and longs for us to have the best.

So, God is not looking for us to say all the right things, but to actually do them; not to just put on a good front, but truly aim to live his ways; not to make a lot of noise, but to live those things out.  God looks, not at the show we put on, but the reality of our lives lived day by day.

They are the only criteria anyone should be judged by.  And the judging is not ours, but Gods.

Forgive me Lord,
the times I am quick to sit in judgement,
believing I know what is best,
or what is in the heart of another.
Forgive my arrogance,
my short-sightedness,
my focus on me.

Forgive me Lord,
when I have got things so wrong,
yet believed I was so right.
When I have missed the point,
not understood
or failed to ask.
When I have been so focussed
on what I thought,
that I have failed to hear your voice
or ignored it
and gone my own way.

Thank you
that you are a God of forgiveness,
of hope,
of renewal,
and of new possibilities.

I offer myself anew to you today.
Help me to hear your voice clearly
and respond to all you ask of me.

Prayer in Temptation v

Judging Others

Don’t condemn others, and God won’t condemn you. God will be as hard on you as you are on others! He will treat you exactly as you treat them.

You can see the speck in your friend’s eye, but you don’t notice the log in your own eye. How can you say, “My friend, let me take the speck out of your eye,” when you don’t see the log in your own eye? You’re nothing but show-offs! First, take the log out of your own eye. Then you can see how to take the speck out of your friend’s eye.

Don’t give to dogs what belongs to God. They will only turn and attack you. Don’t throw pearls down in front of pigs. They will trample all over them.

Ask, Search, Knock

Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. Everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And the door will be opened for everyone who knocks. Would any of you give your hungry child a stone, if the child asked for some bread? 10 Would you give your child a snake if the child asked for a fish? 11 As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give good things to people who ask.

12 Treat others as you want them to treat you. This is what the Law and the Prophets are all about.

Oh,
now it’s getting personal,
pointed
directly at me.

Because it is sooooooo tempting
to judge others,
to blame,
to think I know better.

But how do I know?
The motives,
cares,
hopes
of others?
How do I know
what you might be asking of them,
or where you might be leading them?
Who says
I know everything,
or my way is the only way
– or even a way at all.

Yet how much easier to look
at someone else’s faults and failings,
to see them so clearly,
or to think I do…,
than to have to look at myself,
to face the truth in me.
I’d much rather examine their life
than mine;
because if I look closely at me,
I might see what is there,
I might have to do something
about my behaviour,
my attitudes,
my prejudices.
And so I choose not to see.

I don’t treat others
as I would want them to treat me,
and I certainly don’t treat them
as you would.

Forgive me Lord,
lead me not into temptation,
lead me from the place of giving in
to temptation,
to the place of truth,
acceptance
and love;
for myself
and for those around me.

I remain convinced that the struggle we have to accept others, just as they are, is because we struggle to accept ourselves – just as we are.  Yet that is exactly how God takes us.  All that he asks is that we come.  This song gives us the opportunity to do that, to offer all that we are, and all that we are not, to God, for him to work with.  Perhaps if this can be prayed it is a beginning to allow God to work in me, to remove the planks from my life, to refocus – that I may not even see the speck in my friends eye.

Just As I Am – just as my friend is