Friday, February 19, 2010

Generous Judgment

Tiger Woods made a public confession and apology this week. What should our reaction be?

The Christian faith holds justice in high regard. This is most clearly seen on the cross. That act demonstrated the horrible consequences of sin. It also showed that the penalty MUST be paid. Simple repentance is not enough. If repentance were sufficient then the cross would not be necessary. Justice demands payment!

The Christian faith celebrates forgiveness. Central to the faith is the doctrine of universal guilt. Justice leaves no human uncondemned. Once again the cross brings clarity. The same cross that demonstrated God's justice simultaneously demonstrates His incredible mercy. Jesus died so that we can live. He was condemned so that we can be forgiven.

So, as we look at the Tiger Woods incident, which should trump - justice or mercy? That is a very difficult question. For sure, he will be suffering consequences. Sin always has consequences. Perhaps the closest we can find to an answer is to discover what our attitude should be in light of Scripture.

Matthew 7:1 ¶ Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

Matthew 18:23 ¶ Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

Story of David and Nathan - David was judged by his own mouth. He demanded fourfold restoration. Thereafter he lost four sons.

James 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy; and mercy triumphs over judgment.

As people who have been forgiven of a debt that we could never have paid we ought to be very generous with others. Our attitude must be one of humility, mercy, and eagerness to believe the best of and forgive those around us.