A few days ago I came across a book entitled, God in My Unbelief by J. W. Stevenson. ( a book written by a Scottish minister that portrays what it is like to be a Christian in a community) Prior to this discovery, I had been struggling with over focusing on condemning thoughts towards myself and toward others.
Lately, I have come to realize that condemnation whether it’s of ourselves or others, is a fiery dart that, if not brought under control, tends to eat away at our self esteem and our relationship with others. Condemnation tempts us to think thoughts that pull us down, that cause us to not think well of ourselves, that focus too much on our troubles. Condemnation creates thoughts of confusion about what we should do, thoughts that worry too much about our future well being. We become suspect that others are condemning us, and on and on it goes.
Temptation to think condemning thoughts toward others seems to be a constant fiery dart to resist. Condemnation fed by our sinful nature prevents us from trying to understand others. We don’t want to see their need and our need of God’s forgiveness as equal. It will tempt us to see those who we feel are condemning us as the enemy; instead of seeing Satan as the enemy.
I have gleaned from this book such thoughts as:
It is easier to condemn than understand.
We draw the mercy of God when we had known our need to be the same as the need of him whom we condemn.
Over focusing on the condemning thoughts towards myself and others, keeps me from truly seeing the Cross.
The Truth thought that God would direct our attention to so that we could resist the fiery darts of condemnation is: Romans 8:1,”Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus,…” HCSB
Concerning myself, I hear God asking me this question when the fiery darts of condemnation harass me,
“Why are you condemning yourself? I don’t condemn you!”
And the same question is asked when the fiery darts of condemnation toward others assail me,
“Why are you condemning them? I don’t condemn them!”
Can you imagine the bondage we place ourselves in when we allow the fiery darts of condemnation of ourselves and others rule our thinking?
Can you imagine the freedom we would know if we would focus on Romans 8:1?
What if we were to accept ourselves in Christ and believe that Christ makes us worthy?
What if we were to understand that God brings conviction so that we can be restored and made more like Christ?
What if we were to see other’s need to be rescued by God on the same plane as our need to be rescued by God?
What if we were to love others and accept them the way they are and leave it to God to convict them of their sin. (Even when we feel their sin is against us!)
Finally, let us understand the difference between condemnation and conviction.
Satan condemns with the intention of destroying us.
God convicts us of our sin with the intention of restoring us to Himself.