October 1, 2019
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You know, things can become pretty nasty when it comes to settling whose land a certain piece of ground is. Actually, we have some friends who have an interest in a controversy like that and the stakes are pretty high. And the judge has to decide who really owns this particular property; how it should be handled. And honestly, there's a lot of rumors, a lot of drama in the air; intrigue. Before the legal proceedings start, the judge has suddenly recused himself from that case. In other words, he's stepped down on this one because for some reason - maybe a conflict of interest - he's basically saying, "I don't think I should be the one to judge this one."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I'd like to have A Word With You today about "Hanging Up Your Black Robe."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Romans 12:18-20. Brace yourself for some radical relationship advice from God that really flies in the face of what we feel like doing. Here's what it says, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath. For it is written, 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord. On the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink."
Some Scripture, you know, you can sort of sit back, smile and say, "Oh, isn't that nice. I'll do that." But this is one of those that makes an honest person say, "Wait a minute! Woah! You want me to give up the idea of retaliating? Of getting even? You want me to minister to that person that hurt me?" God says, "Yes." See, that's the Jesus-difference.
There may be someone about whom you have some pretty negative feelings, angry feelings and maybe for real reasons. And it's very natural - it's sinfully natural - to want to even the score or to respond in like kind. There might be someone you're having a hard time forgiving. God's orders, if I can paraphrase, "Hang up your black robe." Recuse yourself from the case.
When we have unforgiveness toward someone, we tend to put on our black judge's robe and sit in judgment of them. We sit in judgment of their actions, their motives, of what should happen to them because of what they've done. In our hearts, we pass judgment on their guilt and we decide what kind of penalty they should receive for what they've done.
But God's instructions - the ones we just read - they tell us that there's only one Judge qualified to rule on this case. And it isn't you. It isn't me. It's God, of course. We all look silly in His big black robe. It's way too big for you or me, and so is the task of judging another sinner like yourself.
We want to fix this thing. We want to make things right. And when we do, all we seem to do is interfere with the perfect justice that God is working on giving that person. "Do not take revenge...leave room for God's wrath," the Bible says. Fascinating words. He will arrange a payback for the guilty person that is better than anything you could ever devise. He says, "I will repay." That means you don't repay what was done.
God is the Master at making things right. You've got to trust God for His justice in this situation and don't mess things up by sticking your hands in it. God's justice may take longer than yours would, but be patient. Justice delayed is not justice canceled. And when God is finished, I think you'll be amazed at how skillfully, how totally He did what needed to be done without you doing something that He will have to judge you for.
So trade in your black robe for a servant's uniform. Your job is to serve the one that you'd like to judge. That's what God will judge you for. So excuse yourself from this case. This is one for The Judge to do His way.