“Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” (Ephesians 2:1-5 NLT)
Once upon a time–before we came into the knowledge of truth–and shed the fables that religion promotes, we followed the dictates of our flesh without regard to anyone’s needs, but our own. Once upon a time.
If we are truthful with ourselves (for we only fool ourselves, not God) and admit that we all “have sinned” at one time or another, then we could not be so quick to point fingers and condemn those who have yet to come into the knowledge of truth. For God, who sees and knows all–saw what we did and yet had mercy upon us and because He is Love, decided to spare us from spending eternity in the lake of fire–when we acknowledged Him and accepted His Son.
Now, true enough there are some who have accepted Christ as their personal Savior as a matter of “religious ritual” and have been baptized for the same reason. Then, there are some who “acknowledge” God simply because of family tradition and commitment to religion or religious institutions.These go through life still doing whatever they want, seeing no need to change or repent. And worst of all–the entice others to do as they do–living a life of sin and having no remorse.
However, when a person discovers for themselves the nature of God, experiences His mercy and grace (unmerited favor) for themselves, they open the door to Relationship with Him and whenever they fall short–they are quick to admit it and seek forgiveness. As the relationship develops, the desire to please flesh lessens and the desire to please God increases to the point where even thinking about doing something opposed to God, brings guilt and self-condemnation.
But thank God for His enduring mercy, grace and love towards us. He knows our hearts and when our desire to please Him is real, He keeps us on the straight and narrow path and even when we stray, He is quick to draw us back to the path that leads to eternal life. We are also reminded in His Word that we cannot point fingers at others for those things which we have also done, but we can pull them along the path of righteousness, by showing them love and the redemptive plan of God.
Now, before a finger is ever pointed at another to judge or condemn them, remember that Once Upon a Time, that was you!