December 18, 2009
(Jesus said) "Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you." Luke 6:37-38
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
As a teenager I remember having a strong sense of justice -- so much so that I became a police officer. Some said I wanted to help people find justice for the unjust things others did to them. But for me it was really more about preventing others from doing wrong. My motto was, "If I am not allowed to break the law, then neither are you."
But, in my many years as a police officer, I often felt the justice system was letting victims down and allowing criminals to get away. Justice in the world is often not fair. Like so many people, I often judged others while letting myself slide.
Then I became a pastor. In some ways it became even worse. Now I no longer had the power to arrest, and I could not go around handing out justice when and where I thought it was needed. Still, in other ways, things have gotten a lot better though because now I know God's justice far surpasses our feeble human attempt at it.
God's justice is different from what I wanted. I wanted those who broke the law to be punished. If that meant I had to punish them, then so be it. I wanted the speeding taxi, the dishonest businessman, and the guy who had parked his car illegally to be caught and punished each and every time. I wanted swift and complete justice for any and all offenders.
God, however, wants those who have broken His Law to be forgiven. He does not excuse the sinner's behavior, nor will they get away with their sins. All sins have to be paid for, but He does not want sinners to pay for their sins with their lives. Jesus, the Son of God, died on the cross to pay for our sins and was raised again to show that this payment was accepted. God's justice is different from ours. His is all about grace, about wanting the best for the sinner. Our justice is all about the law and wanting the best for us.
Today, I sincerely try to measure out justice to others in the same way God has done with me. He has given me grace, forgiven my sins, and turned my heart to see that the measure I should use with all people is the Gospel. Out of love He has saved me and His desire is that all be saved.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for the forgiveness -- and not the judgment - we have through what Jesus has done for us. Help us to share that love with others. Amen.
Biography of Author: Pastor Josef Henning wrote this devotion. In 2002 he became pastor at the English Lutheran Fellowship of Randburg, South Africa. He and his wife, Birgit, have three children. Lutheran Hour Ministries-South Africa with its office in Johannesburg utilizes Equipping the Saints (ETS), Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC), and a performing arts program to reach others with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.