“Condemning the Innocent”

“But you would not have condemned my innocent disciples if you knew the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’”

Matthew 12:7 NLT

On April 1st, 1998, Jesus’ words to the Pharisees became very personal. I had labeled an innocent pastor as unspiritual simply because the books I saw on his shelves didn’t meet my approval! Later that evening as I listened to his tearful testimony about precious walks he’d been enjoying with HIS Lord, the Holy Spirit whispered, “And YOU judged him?”


Those words drove me to my knees, “Father, show me the root of this sin. Why do I keep placing MY grid of holiness on those YOU declare innocent?” His answer began with Micah 6:8, “...love mercy and walk humbly,” and continued with many scriptures about pride. I realized I was that person in Jesus’ parable “who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everybody else.” (Lk. 18:9)


I had been concerned about religious rules. However, Jesus is concerned about heart rules: which attitude rules my heart—humility or pride? God’s Word is clear—He hates pride. It sets me above others, so I assume I can judge their faults. But like the apostle Paul said, “Who are you to condemn God’s servants…Why do you look down on another Christian?” (Romans 14:4, 10)


God delights in showing mercy. (Micah 7:18) So, if I turn around and condemn a person HE has declared innocent, I just might hear those same words again—


“And YOU judged him?”



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