(September 17, 2021) Robert and Maureen McQuillan comment on two vital scripture realities…
We had a call from ‘Joe’ concerned about giving advice to a troubled friend. But as we chatted, we realised he was actually feeling condemned, guiltily thinking ‘What if I’m wrong? Who am I to think I can help anyone? I’ve made so many mistakes myself. I try to be good, to give good advice but what if…?’ And so on!
It was obvious to us that ‘Joe’ has such a good heart and genuinely wants to help others but, like a lot of other Christians, hasn’t really got it about who they are in Christ and what God’s word says about them!
And that our great lying enemy, Satan, is always ‘prowling around’ looking for ways to deceive us from living in freedom and being effective for Jesus (1 Peter 5:8).
As Satan’s trickery makes Christians feel unworthy, guilty and especially condemned, let’s share some truths about condemnation…
1. Condemnation’s evilness
As a dictionary will confirm, condemnation is, at its simplest, accusation. And by extension, causes one to feel guilty, doomed, and unfit for use. It’s a word that doesn’t offer much hope for the future.
This is an evil thing that can eat into your very soul, robbing you of your present happiness and future potential and very purpose in life… if you foolishly let it!
Condemnatory thoughts become self-condemnatory ones, establishing a guilt complex that makes you feel you cannot please God or anyone else. This can go as far as making you feel unworthy, that God doesn’t love you and that you’re unforgiven.
Once you let it get a hold of your mind, this evil condemnation can brand you as a failure in life, marriage, business, workplace, parenthood, ministry and so on. It brings unwarranted defeat.
Worse still, it’s like a life sentence – a death sentence that imprisons and shackles you, day after day in some cases. Without using this following word loosely, a damning effect as in condamnation).
Indeed the Greek word, katakrima, means exactly that – an adverse sentence, judged against, put or sent down.
(Like in an old James Cagney flick… ‘sent down the river’!).
2. Condemnation’s sources
Condemnation is a rotten thing because coming under it leads to feeling guilty and carrying guilt about the likes of…
- Things not done or said that should’ve been done or said.
- Things done or said that hurt or were morally wrong.
- Not caring enough or longing enough about… God, spouse, kids, friends, projects, studies.
- Not enough Bible reading, ministry for Jesus, praying and worshipping.
- Losing opportunities, committing sinful acts and such.
- And so on…
But the truth is, that even being successful in all these areas may not stop you feeling good enough ie ‘I could have, I should done more.’ In other words, condemnation is accusations we create in our hearts and minds or allow to come in from three sources…
If the devil is audacious enough to dare to constantly accuse us of our faults day and night before God (Revelation 12:10), is he going to ignore us?
Note two Greek words here… accuse is kathegoreo ‘to charge with some offence.’ Offence is paraptoma, unintentional error, a sideslip, sin, fall, wilful transgression, fault, lapse, deviation, carelessness.
But the good news is that Jesus dealt with all our failings! Jesus ‘was delivered up because of our offenses and was raised because of our justification’ (Romans 4: 25 NKJV).
The Message says, ‘The sacrificed Jesus made us fit for God, set us right with God.’
Hey, we’ve been put right! If God’s holy word says that about us, we don’t have to listen to the devil’s lies! We need deal with him! 2 Corinthians 10:5 encourages us to free our minds and ‘… demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.’
Now that we’re right before God, all we have to do now is to please him.
When we approve of ourselves as washed by the blood, under God’s grace and therefore not under condemnation, then we’re blessed. ‘Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves’ proclaims Romans14:22bNKJV!
But… when we dwell on our faults, past and present, then in a twisted way we are approving of allowing condemnation to lodge in our mind. We’re condemning ourselves – there’s no blessing in that! We won’t be happy, we’ll be miserable!
We are our own worst enemy in this area for we condemn ourselves whereas God doesn’t! We ignore his forgiveness and his help! We forget the very power of God is within to alleviate our fears and pains. And we forget to call on him!
When you start down this road of remembering failings, things compound and hurtle us down a dead-end! We’ll miss the blessing of a mind and heart at ease. It’s time to stop carrying what Jesus has already carried for on Calvary. What are we trying to do after all? Crucify ourselves?
To torment us in different ways, the enemy often uses other people! Sometimes it’s a case of seeing someone who reminds us of the past. So much rubbish flashes before us.
Or an unwise parent unhappy with grades or what we’ve become in life. Husbands can be class acts at putting their wives under condemnation but, note, some wives are just as bad with their partners!
Sometimes it’s a direct accusation by some religious stone thrower who doesn’t have our interests at heart and doesn’t understand the power and depths of God’s forgiveness, as pictured so clearly in John 8:10-11, the incident of the adulterous woman dragged before Jesus.
Bronze symbolises judgment in scripture (Leviticus 26:19, Daniel 7:19). Ever see that amazing bronze sculptured statue at the Crystal Cathedral called Love without Condemnation?
The young woman’s closed averted eyes, her embarrassed trying to cover herself, plead her shame and regret. There is condemnation in the eyes of the religious condemners (one holds the scriptures, another indignantly rests his chin on his hand, and a third holds a large rock).
But there is none in the eyes of the compassionate Lord. Note his words when they slink away: ‘Where are those accusers?’ (v 10NKJV) indicating that he wasn’t one of them!
In evil condemnation by others, has Jesus condemned you? If not, why let anyone else? Jesus’ shed blood covers you before God, Satan and them!You’re accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6).
The truth is that Jesus doesn’t accuse you either. You’re free in every way (John 8: 36)! As he wanted for that woman, he desires you enjoy a better lifestyle – one without condemnation and by your own choice, where you don’t go on sinning. When thoughts and suggestions come along seeking to destroy, live in that freedom in mind and heart! Make right choices.
Maureen’s favourite scripture is Romans 15:13 and the Message version reads, ‘Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!’
3. Condemnation’s answer!
More good news… In Jesus there’s always hope for the future. Condemnation and guilt drain us of energy but trust in God fills us with his life-giving strength.
- John 3: 17 (our version, based on the Message): ‘God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger at you, telling you how bad you are. He came to help, to put things right.’ So don’t go on carrying guilt and condemnation.
The Bible declares that if God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8: 31). Hey! We’re on the winning team! So if it doesn’t come from God, where then does condemnation come from?
If condemnatory thoughts and accusations are robbing you of happiness and Christian service, remember their source is not God and so why dwell on them?
4. Condemnation’s retort
What did the wise Paul believe?
He boldly declared, ‘Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:1). ‘No’ – oudeis – coming from oude and heis indicates not even one condemnation against anyone believing and continuing in Christ!
The Message version boldly reads, ‘With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud.’
If you really know that you’re born again, there’s no need to live under this cloud of condemnatory tyranny any more. We’re free indeed in mind, heart and spirit.
Therefore we should live in this freedom. Don’t yield to Satan’s lies, and don’t put yourself down either. Rather, enjoy Jesus’ love daily. And if we happen to blow it today, we can receive Jesus’ prompt forgiveness by quickly asking for it and repenting (1 John1: 9).
Also, when such wrong thoughts or accusations by others hit you, remember that if Jesus isn’t going to condemn you then no human, including religious leaders, has the right to do so.
Remember Helen Lemmel’s old 1918 hymn The Heavenly Vision, better known as Turn Your Eyes on Jesus…
Turn your eyes on Jesus,
Look full in his wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of his glory and grace.
Hey! That’s about three human matters that need toline up correctly… eyes, mind and thoughts! Dwell on the beauty of Jesus and all he’s done for you.
5. Condemnation’s wrap-up
Regarding those you have hurt in the past by foolish actions and words or omissions, only Jesus can touch them and put things right for them and between you. Turn it all over to him.
As for your mistakes, you can’t change the past, but Jesus can change you and enable you to live in victory daily.
Choose correctly to accept God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness and escape from Satan’s, your own, and people’s mind games! Remember –
- Satan condemns but Jesus defends.
- We self-condemn but Jesus commends.
- Others may chide us but Jesus will side with us.
That’s Jesus’ three prong message – love, acceptance and forgiveness!
And, oh yes, those two vital scripture realities we mentioned at the beginning. They’re…
1. Trusting God
We often talk about trusting God… but can we honestly declare that we actually do? Trusting is a verb, an action word. It’s what enables us to ‘overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit’ (Romans 15:13b).
2. Trusting God’s word!
Likewise, do read, really know and trust God’s word? Do we fully believe what it says? If we do, we’ll believe and know that there is no condemnation for the Christian, those who ‘do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit’ (Romans 8:4).
Really apply these two truths and with the Holy Spirit’s help you’ll trust yourself! Remember again that John 8:36 scripture above proclaiming, ‘So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through’(Mge).
Dr Robert and Maureen McQuillan’s links are OnlinerConnect@gmail.com and Facebook (Scripture/other emphases in this Onliner ours. Appreciated images/pics: various general sources). Link: Inner Leadings