December 16, 2017
Posted: December 16, 2017
A Devotion for Your Day
by Lori Bullock
In today's passage we learn that some of Jesus' contemporaries wanted to arrest him and condemn him without a trial. But the law was clear: every man should be given a hearing before judgement is passed. Some of the darkest times in history have occurred (and are still happening today in some parts of the world) when authorities were allowed to be judge and jury and executioner on a whim. In America, we stand firmly on the idea that people are "innocent until proven guilty." ALL people, regardless of race, creed, or socio-economic status, receive due process as an inherent right.
Often we judge people in our daily lives, without knowing all the facts. We condemn them in our hearts, based upon short-sighted conclusions. I have a friend, Angela, who struggles daily with a myriad of physical illnesses: fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, as well as a painful form of muscular dystrophy. The handicap sticker on her van, which allows her to park close to the businesses, schools, and medical clinics she needs to visit, has helped tremendously in her daily struggle to remain independent and take care of herself and her son, while living with her chronic pain and physical limitations. Because her disabilities are "hidden," and she doesn't look as if she is disabled, she has often had to deal with people who assume that she is misusing the system. She has been taunted, yelled at, questioned, and confronted by people who simply don't believe she deserves to park in a handicap zone. They are basing their assumptions about her on insufficient information, and they unfairly condemn her in their hearts, without knowing all the facts.
During this Advent season, which can become a busy flurry of shopping, appointments, lunches and parties, let's remember that we don't have the right to judge those that we encounter. Jesus taught us to love unconditionally and to "Judge NOT." Let's give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and remember that the struggles of our neighbors are often hidden from our view.
Dear God, during this holy season of Advent, help us to embrace others and show everyone we encounter the unconditional and wholehearted love that Jesus exemplified. Amen.
Lori Bullock works in Adult Ministries, focusing on fellowship ministries and events.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 952-985-7324