What’s holding you back?
Is it a fear of the unknown? A somewhat unfounded belief that you’re not good enough? What people might say if you fail? Or worse still what they’re already saying?
One of the biggest reasons for our inability to boldly start something we know we’re supposed to do is the fear of what others have either said in the past, what they’re saying now, or what they’re likely to say in the future regarding one’s failings.
Condemnation usually comes in two forms – 1. Subtle, and 2. Angry.
‘Subtle’ is probably the most dangerous. For it usually attacks in the first tense. In other words, it’s so intertwined in one’s subconscious that one actually believes the statements are coming from oneself, as against the accuser. Allow me to use myself as an example. The guilt and shame I felt as a result of my getting divorced several years ago was so acute that over time I firmly believed that not only was I not good enough for anyone, but was no longer deserving of joy, or any semblance of a second chance. What I heard on most occasions in which I tried to envisage a happy future was, “It’s too late for me. I don’t deserve a second chance anyway.”
Unknown to me, those thoughts of condemnation weren’t mine, but were planted there by the accuser in the first person, so as to make me think they were from me. This is why ‘Subtle’ is probably the most dangerous type of condemnation. One believes they are one’s own thoughts.
‘Angry’ is the type witnessed when the mob wanted to stone the woman caught in adultery. Though more blatant and easily recognisable it can also cause serious damage – usually leading to Shame, Fear, and utter Devastation.
But no matter which one you’re experiencing right now I want you to pay particular attention to what Jesus said to that lady.
“Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more.”
Note – He didn’t say “Go and sin no more, and then I will no longer condemn you”, or “go and get yourself right first, then we’ll talk”, or worse still, “woman, you’ve sinned, and you deserve whatever comes your way.”
Rather he said, “I do not condemn you.”
What does this do?
1. It immediately removes the guilt and shame
2. It endears Jesus to the individual
3. Encourages and empowers the individual to want to be better
But most importantly, it stops the individual constantly focussing on his or her failings. For that is what condemnation does – it focusses our minds on what we did wrong – analysing to the extreme, as if it ever solves anything?! Result – a constant burden of guilt and shame, leading to an ever-worsening cycle of the same failings over and over and over again.
Jesus’ words to the woman caught in adultery quite clearly demonstrates that the key to our healing lies in our accepting and embracing the truth – that He does not and will never ever condemn us.
The world loves to condemn. Even friends and family love to condemn. But our Loving and Merciful God tells us His ways are nothing like ours.
Because of the price Jesus paid on the cross, He Will Never Ever Condemn You.
As a result of the blood Jesus shed for you, our merciful God sees you through his son. This is what being in Christ means. When God looks at you, he sees not your mistakes and failings, but His son.
I like to relate it to the Empire’s deflector shield in Star Wars. Yes, I know, how could I, right?? But kindly indulge me for a few seconds. Whenever that deflector shield was on, there was absolutely nothing the rebel alliance could do. No matter what, or how much they fired, nothing could penetrate it. Everything just bounced off.
In the same way, no arrow of accusation/ condemnation can touch you. Because you are in Christ Jesus those arrows will always just bounce off.
Any condemnation you’re feeling right now is NOT from your Loving Father in heaven. The absolute truth is that He Loves You just as much today as He did yesterday – Perfectly and Unconditionally.
So be rest assured, and confidently do what God created you to do. He’s on your side, and is willing you to succeed every step of the way.
Finally, please permit me to take this opportunity to tell you about a wonderful man that God used on many occasions to ensure I never remained in a place of condemnation. Time and time again this amazing individual was there for me, no matter what. His love for me never waned. Not once did he judge me; but with love, and a firm hand, always encouraged me to get up and go again. I humbly pay tribute to my older brother, Kayode Akande, who passed-on to Heaven just over a week ago.
Our loss is Heaven’s great gain; and I’m much comforted by the assured knowledge that you are now forever in a place of Peace, Love, and Perfect Joy.
Adieu my dear egbon. We will most definitely meet again. But as Juba says after the passing-on of his friend, General Maximus, in what is still my favourite film of all time, “Not yet….not yet”.