People often talk about God’s judgment and God’s wrath, but honestly it seems to me that we are the ones who really want to make others pay for their wrong doings. We are the ones who want to pour out our wrath on others.

We want to experience redemption and forgiveness for ourselves. We want others to see our side of things, to see the pain that brings us to make our mistakes, to give us a second or third or fourth chance to get our lives straight and do things differently….but when it comes to others we as people love to play the role of prosecutor and judge. We love to hold people accountable, and we can be extremely harsh judges full of wrath, ridicule and hatred.

We love to talk about how God will make people pay for their wrong doings, and there is some truth to that I guess. There is a law of karma…what goes around does come around…do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

But what about redemption? What about forgiveness? What about restoration of broken lives and broken people? We all want this for ourselves. We seek this from God and from others. We seek mercy when we are in trouble. What about other people? What about people who do things that we do not understand?

What if there are people or even loved ones who refuse to understand us and refuse to see the pain that causes our brokeness and our mistakes? What if we are the ones who the lynch mob is coming after? What if it is us who the world wants so badly to see as the worst of the worst. What if we are the ones being held under a microscope and then burned at the stake.

What if  God refused to extend redemption, forgiveness and multiple chances to us? What if we never experienced those miraculous moments when we somehow get another chance in life after making a horrible decision or a colossal mistake?

Are we really willing to do unto others as we hope that others will do unto us?

Are we willing to extend mercy when we do not understand another? Do we really seek redemption for others? Or do we only seek it for certain people with certain problems?

When I look at the life, the example, and the words of Christ I see something groundbreaking. I do not see wrath and judgment against “sinners.” I see Christ going out of his way to talk to women who were seen as lower than dogs in that primitive middle eastern culture.

I see him intentionally approaching and talking to a Samaritan woman who was living with a man she was not married to and who had been through about 5 husbands….very taboo in that society. The Samaritans were seen as “less than” by the Jewish people at that time so the fact that he was talking to a woman from another race with a bad reputation was extremely taboo!  He privately took time to talk to her and to reveal himself to her. He did not avoid her or expose her faults to everyone or seek to bring punishment or condemnation on her. He sought to bring her salvation and grace and good news to share.

I see him showing up at the exact time that a “lynch mob” was about to stone a woman to death for being caught in adultery. I see him putting a stop to them and calmly pointing out to the crowd that they were all just as guilty. I see him extending love, forgiveness, redemption and acceptance to her.

I see Christ making a point to spend time in the homes of the most hated sinners. I see him touching and loving the untouchables and the “unclean”  men and women. I see him asking those whom society had discarded to follow him and to be his friend.

Christ came to level the field, to set us free from all prejudices and separations and to show us that we are all the same:

“There is now no distinction neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”                   Galatians 3:28

Even after his death and resurrection I see Christ revealing himself to a man, Paul, who had been going around persecuting and killing the early Christians. Christ revealed himself to this horrible man in an extremely dramatic spiritual encounter, and Paul was totally transformed. He was forgiven. His life was completely changed, and he became one of those that he had been previously judging and killing! Yes….a killer was changed and given a new life of purpose.

The main times that I see Christ judging and extending anger are towards the Pharisees, the prideful religious people who went around harshly judging everyone else! Christ judged the judges not the sinners or the outcasts.

Christ extended love and compassion for those stuck in patterns of sin and brokeness. He made a point to reach out to the lowest people in society, but he spoke harshly and passed judgement on the ones who claimed to be more righteous than others and who held themselves up as prosecutors and judges of others!

Christ fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy of Isaiah (61) when he proclaimed,

“The spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed  Me to preach the good news to the poor; he has sent Me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed, to proclaim the accepted and acceptable year of the Lord [the day when salvation and the free favors of God profusely abound.] ”           Luke 4:18, 19    

Christ came to show us the nature of God. His nature is to redeem, restore, forgive, love, help, transform and heal. His nature is to give us as humans many chances to fail and then get back up and try again. His nature is to rehabilitate even the “worst” of sinners and then give them a purpose in life for the causes of goodness and then to continue to extend grace to them when they fall again and attempt to get up yet again.

That is not our nature though….not most of us most of  the time. We tend to be more of the lynch mob looking to point the finger, judge, punish, and brand people for life. We tend to define people by their worst moments in life and hold them to that forever. We even get angry at others who do not want to join the lynch mob as we demand justice! We see this now at the end of the Casey Anthony trial for example.

Christ came and revealed to us a new and better way. He revealed to us a loving God. He revealed to us grace which is the undeserved favor and blessing of God. He showed us that grace comes to us not by what we do and do not do because we are all guilty from time to time. Grace comes to us by our faith in the goodness of God. God is love, and He cannot help but to love. It is his very essence. He showed us how to bear each others burdens, how to love and extend grace instead of judgment because we are all guilty of something.

He gave us two commandments:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…..And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as you do yourself.”   Matthew 22: 37-39

He was very different from those around him and from those around us today. I am a fan of redemption and grace. I have thankfully been the recipient of it, and it is because of that I strive to give that grace to others.  I do not always succeed, but when I do I never regret it. These are some of the reasons that I love this Christ.