The book of Judges concludes with “everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” That one sentence summarizes God’s commentary on the people of that day. However, it is also the commentary on any generation of people that leaves God out of their lives, including those in our day.
Left on our own, our minds are self-focused, not God-focused. Our standards are just that—our standards, not His. We do what is self-centered rather than others-centered. Romans 3:11–18 explains that every part of our lives has been affected by the depravity of our condition, concluding: “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (v. 18).
So how does God want us to respond? Here are several attitudes to cultivate:
We call out sin, but love the sinner. If we act in a hateful manner toward anyone, we’re doing it wrong. Yes, call sin what it is, but treat sinners for what they are as well—people loved by God and made in His image.
We reflect with humility. Scripture emphasizes that ALL have sinned (Rom. 3:23). Recognize that were it not for the grace of God, we would in the same boat—sinners separated from our Creator. Reflecting on this truth has a way of enhancing our compassion toward non-Christians. If not for grace, our lives would be a hopeless mess.
We pray. Unbelievers need our prayers more than our gossip. Only God can change their condition. We should talk about them to God, not to others.
We address the problem, not the symptoms. The problem is not the particular sins they are involved in or the idols they worship. Individuals not engaged in one sin will practice another. Satan does not care what we worship as long as we do not worship God. Ultimately, it is the fact that they are separated from God that is the problem.
We specialize in Good News. People apart from God need to know about sin and separation from God. But they also need to know that despite their sin, Christ died for them: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
God loves undeserving, rebellious, “do what is right in our own eyes” people. There is no one beyond His reach. He can save a person who engages in petty thievery or one who has been a mass murderer.
In response, we ought to ask ourselves, “Am I as zealous to get the good news to them as I am to criticize their sin and evil?” Even more than our criticism, they need our Christ.
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