Yesterday, I was out in my flower bed pulling weeds. I hate pulling weeds. I view it as a necessary evil that I have to do for my yard to look good. It is a never-ending battle. No matter how much time you spend pulling them or spraying them with weed killer, there will always be more that pop up the next day. Every time I go out weeding, I always have the same question about who decided what is a weed and what is a flower. Sometimes, it’s obvious. Some weeds are basically grass and are not aesthetically pleasing at all. Why does baby’s breath get to be a flower and white clover doesn’t? Why is the dandelion seen only as a nuisance? Admittedly, there is probably a legitimate reason for it, but I think that it was mainly arbitrary decisions made by people long ago. Someone looked at them and said that they were good or bad, and that designation has stuck with each of the plants since then.
We like to try to make things fit into one of those two categories. It’s one thing to do it with something like flowers, but we also have a habit of doing it with people as well. If we don’t like someone, then they’re bad. If we enjoy being around them, then they’re good. If they align with our political belief system, then they’re good. If they don’t, then they’re bad. If they’re upstanding citizens, they’re good. If they have made a lot of bad choices and gotten themselves into trouble, then they’re bad. We’re all guilty of doing this. Our world makes more sense to us if we can categorize things as good or bad.
Here’s the thing, we do not get to be the arbiter of such things. We do not get to sit on the judgment seat; that position belongs only to Christ (John 5:22). However, that is not what he came to do the first time. While he makes it clear in scripture that his second coming will be one of judgment, his mission during his time here around 2000 years ago was not about condemnation. Jesus says in John 3:17, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” He reiterates this statement in both John 8:15 and John 12:47. If Jesus did not come to condemn, then why do we think that it is our position to do so?
While you will not find a single piece of scripture where Jesus tells his followers that it’s our job to cast condemnation on others, you will find plenty of places where he tells us to love others. Think about those who have shared God’s love with you and informed you that Christ died for your salvation. What if they had judged you as not worth the time? What if they saw you as only the worst parts of you and decided that you were irredeemable? If we think someone is too far gone to receive salvation, then we are greatly underestimating the power of Jesus’ blood. There is no one so “bad” that they cannot be welcomed into a relationship with Jesus through believing in him. What Jesus did for us on the cross is far greater than all the sins that we could ever commit. Nobody is too far gone to come to God.
It is not our decision as to who is a flower and who is a weed. We should love all people, tell them about Jesus, and let God handle it from there. None of us are qualified to take the position of judge of the world. That role is for Christ alone. It is only out of arrogance that we cast condemnation on people. Just to let you know, your sin is also the reason why Jesus had to die. We all are broken sinners in need of grace. Not one of us is better than any other. Every one of us needs a savior. So instead of beating others down and deciding that they are not worth saving, let’s offer them the story of the Redeemer who came not to condemn them— but to love them.