“For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.” -1 Cor. 11:31
The Ghost Rider is one of the most unique comic book heroes I have come across lately and has a very unusual superpower. Besides for the fact that he is a chain wielding, Harley riding, undead creature with a flaming skull – his power over villains comes into action simply when he touches them. Upon touching them they will personally experience all the pain they have inflicted on others. If the villain was a murderer they would feel the pain and emotional anguish of their victims collectively in a moment of time, and the result of the experience would invariably be death. If there really were such a character roaming the streets, who could possibly survive the touch of the Ghost Rider? Although most of us aren’t murderers, we are all creatures who look out for our own interests – and all of us have hurt others along the way. When we are hurt by other people it is easy to demand justice, but when we hurt others our natural tendency is to either ignore their pain or justify ourselves by claiming that our behavior is just human nature.
When it comes to sin, all of us are guilty. Sin however is not a failure to live up to manmade religious standards, but the failure to walk in love towards others. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans, “Love works no ill to its neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” – Romans 10:13 Sin is not a personal preference, but a social disease that is responsible for all the evil in our world today – and every one of us have contributed to that evil. If the Ghost Rider were to touch any one of us, the outcome of that touch would most certainly be death. In the same way scripture tells us that the judgment for sin is death and that all of us have sinned. David wrote of mankind saying, “They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that does good, no, not one.” –Psalms 14:3
When most people think about Christians they think about people who are confident in their own goodness and are quick to condemn others. Scripture however shows that the exact is opposite true saying, “Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?” -Proverbs 20:6 Most everyone on earth is confident in their own goodness, and they feel secure in this confidence by looking down at people who are ‘worse’ than them. Instead of taking a good hard look at themselves and their own sin, they find others who have committed worse actions and by the comparison feel justified. The most tragic thing about this is that the only way to escape judgment is by judging ourselves – by deciding that we personally are in need of mercy and forgiveness.
The only way to enter into the Kingdom of God is by humility. The people who come to Jesus are those who have acknowledged their need for a savior, and out of that need have cried out to Him. Romans 10:9 says, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.” God has purchased our freedom with a great price, and those who deny their own need for that mercy are in effect denying the need for God to have paid the price. Galatians 2:21 tells us, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” Ultimately the only thing that will keep anyone out of heaven is their own pride by choosing instead to trust in their own goodness. Those that do will be met with the righteous judgment of God, where all the pain and suffering they have inflicted on others will be laid out before them – followed by death.
As Christians we should be the least judgmental people on the earth, because we know there is no goodness in us apart from Christ. We are fully aware that a perfectly innocent and spotless Lamb laid His life down to cleanse us from the evil we have committed. Jesus spoke in a parable of a servant who was forgiven a great debt that was impossible for him to repay, who then condemned someone else for a small debt owed to him. The Master of the servant then rebuked him and sent him to prison saying, “O you wicked servant, I forgave you all that debt, because you desired me to. Shouldn’t you also have had compassion on your fellow servant, even as I had pity on you?” –Matthew 18:33 We are the servant who was forgiven a great debt, and as God has extended mercy to us – we need to extend mercy to others.
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