“So then, you will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:20 NASB)
We recently experienced what will certainly be one of the most historically significant weeks in American history. On successive days, the country celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, followed by the inauguration of the first African-American President of the United States. Both events bear the indelible marks of a truly free nation, but while the inauguration was extremely significant, I feel that the celebration of this year’s MLK Day was more meaningful. Why? Because, in large part, the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King made Tuesday’s events possible.
In his famous, “I Have a Dream” speech, King said, “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Whether or not the totality of King’s dream has been realized in the U.S., or even the world, is debatable. Racism still exists within a wide range of people of all colors and nationalities. However, what is not debatable is the truth of the Scripture above; a scripture that reflects the very essence of Dr. King’s dream.
Jesus taught, and Dr. King dreamed of a time when all humanity would be judged on the basis of character alone, and in Matthew 7:20, Jesus clearly teaches that folks will usually bear out what their character truly contains. With this in mind, let me ask you how you reach conclusions about different people. Can you see past a person’s skin color, or their socio-economic status? Are you willing to look beyond their religious preference or their current attitude? Are you willing to suspend immediate judgment, and extend to others the same grace that you would desire? In short, are you willing to look at a person and see them first as God’s Creation?
The day is coming when we will all be judged by the only righteous judge to ever live, Jesus Christ. On that day, those who know Jesus as Lord and Savior will be judged with grace and mercy. Until that day comes, whoever we are considering, be it our President, or our next-door neighbor, look to the fruit they bear (i.e. what their character bears out) before drawing a rash conclusion. Remember the words of Jesus, “…in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” Could you withstand your own judgment? Could you bear your own scrutiny?
God has extended much grace and mercy to you through His Son, Jesus Christ. Now, through the power of the Holy Spirit that lives within you, go and do likewise.