Summary: Look not to what is on the outside, but to the heart of man.
When we look around at society today, we see a world where there seem to be few morals, where traditional values have worn thin. Here in England there are ever rising numbers of young single mothers, of people addicted to alcohol and drug use, and of crime. At an apparently less menacing level, our world and our motives appear to be driven more by greed and hunger for power, than by kindness or consideration of our fellow man.
So what would Jesus think if he were walking among us today? What would he say of the lack of morality and the greed of the modern day western world?
I think he would look at the teenage mother, or the delinquent drinking himself into oblivion under a railway bridge, and feel pity for them. I think he would love them. The world is gripped with darkness. Imagine, for a moment, if you lived in a dark room, so black you can’t even see your handin front of your face. Darkness envelops everything. Imagine, if you will, the despair caused by living in such total darkness. You cannot see, and fear and blackness dominate your life. As the scripture says, "We are blinded, groping around in the dark and trying to find our way." In such a dark world hope fades, depression sets in, and the blackness permeates everything until it takes over your very soul.
Now, imagine a tiny hole appears in the wall. A narrow beam of light enters the room, hurting your eyes and making you squint, illuminating the tiny dust particles as they dance in its narrow rays. Suddenly everything is changed. Yes, you are still surrounded by darkness, but your sight is now fixed on that tiny crack in the wall, on the wonderful light shining through from outside. You have hope. Hope because you know that there is something wonderful outside those four walls that contain you. Hope that one day you might be able to break free from your room and walk in the bright expanses that lie beyond.
I think Jesus would bring this kind of hope, and I think that is what we should try and do. This sermon is about judgement, or perhaps more accurately non-judgement. Instead of looking at the world around us and casting woes upon it for its lack of standards, I think we need to concentrate on bringing hope. Instead of seeing the delinquent or he solo mum as a representation of all that is wrong with society today - perhaps we should try to sympathise with them. Their life is not easy, and if they could choose, they would not opt for the life they have. I think God would want us to commiserate with them, to try and understand them, to try and help them with the huge problems confronting them. To provide a crack, however small, in the walls containing them so that His light can have a chance to enter. And thereby to destroy the darkness that imprisons them.
As we listen to God’s word today, let us concentrate on bringing hope to others - through prayer, through kind words, through treating people as fellow human beings, and not as stereotypes. The only way to bring hope to people’s lives is to uphold them, to value them, to LOVE THEM. Only God’s love can break down the walls of darkness and of hopelessness, because it is not of this world, but is perfect and beyond the motives of mortal man. Love, we are told, conquers all.It is said, " All that is required for evil to triumph over the world, is for the good to stop trying." This day, then, let us try not to judge, but to love, and to provide ways for God’s beams of light to enter this world of darkness.