Many of us profess Christ but sometimes our past actions follow us. We are all known by our fruit even when we don’t want to be. Not just the fruit of what we are bearing now but even the fruit we bore in the past for although we are forgiven in heaven there are still consequences on earth. Forgiveness and restoration are two separate things.
Sometimes sin has a lifetime of consequence. When we see the justification or the staunch stance of a person who screams that we ought not judge them, it causes us to take a pause and question the resentment they feel in the process of restoration. Are they truly repentant or just sorry they got caught? Justification for poor behavior often negates our part of the story. Sometimes it takes a long time to be restored and sometimes it never happens. We must be fine with the consequence while admitting that we have hurt people along the way knowing that we are forgiven by God if we have repented. The woman who cheated on her first husband may be living differently now than she was back in the day, but she is still a gamble to marry. Forgiven? Yes and there still may be a consequence.
A felon in the United States of America is not allowed to own a gun and there are jobs that they cannot obtain not just for a season but for life. While they may never go forth and commit another crime and they may live an exemplary life moving forward some things never go away. A child molester may repent and come to Jesus, get therapy for their action, but there will always be parents who don’t want to leave their children in their care. That’s the consequence of the action regardless of the current behavior.
We as believers are called to judge right and wrong of fellow believers. There are too many scriptures about seeing your brother in a fault and attempting course correction and bearing his burdens to negate that responsibility. Here’s a quick tip I learned from a teaching of John Bevere’s on judging. We as believers in Jesus Christ are called to judge other believers in Jesus Christ on issues of sin. What we are not allowed to judge is motive. In other words, I can say, “Sara, your affair with Tom is not right. It’s not right for your marriage, it’s not right for your well being, and it’s not right as a Christian woman.” What I can’t judge is motive, “I totally get why you’re having an affair Sara. You’ve got major stresses at work and you married a jerk of a guy, and your mom cheated on your dad….” I don’t get to judge Sara’s motive or heart of why she’s acting immorally. I am to warn her that her sin is unlawful in our faith and then I have an obligation to pray that she is able to move on with her life. Unfortunately, her choice may cause her pain for the rest of her life.