Through my time in ministry, I have met many, many handicapped Christians.
And yes, I have met many with physical handicaps; but this isn’t the type of handicap I’m talking about here. Rather, I’m talking about people who have been washed clean by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, but who continue to be handicapped by the horror of the sins they have committed.
I know this sentiment well. I have often fallen into this trap. I remember one day as I was driving home, I was full of peace and joy; and then suddenly, I began to remember all of the old sins I kept committing, all of the times I had hurt people, all the times I had passed by hurting people I could have helped … It wasn’t long before I was in tears, sobbing uncontrollably, completely and thoroughly depressed. And in this state, I was so focused on the horrible things I had done that there was no way I could have even recognized anyone in need. I was way too focused on “me” to be able to share the gospel, or to even be nice, for that matter, as my husband could attest when I finally arrived home!
I was watching a documentary recently about a Muslim-background believer. Before meeting the Lord Jesus, he was a radical Muslim who would rejoice with each person he killed, praising God for being allowed to work for Him. When asked how many he had killed, he said he stopped counting after 150. But then he began having nightmares in which he found himself surrounded in blood with blood soaking his hands and forearms. Things got worse when he began seeing his own blood-soaked hands even when awake. He reported that he tried everything — soap, sand even — to clean the blood from his hands, but no matter what, he could still see that blood.
These examples have one thing in common: We were all thoroughly handicapped by self-condemnation. But at this stage, the stories veer apart. In the first example, I continue to be occasionally handicapped by self-condemnation. The second example, however, is the one I want to highlight… You see, these things happened while this man was still a radical Muslim. One night, he had a dream of a Man in white. He could see blood flowing from wounds in the Man’s hands and feet and from His side, and he could hear the Man in white calling out to him: “I am Isa al-Masih (Jesus the Messiah). I can wash you clean.” It wasn’t easy in the country where this man lived — In a place torn apart by civil war, where it was a sure death sentence to even mention the name of “Isa al-Masih” — to find the Lord. Despite the difficulties, however, this man sought the Lord Jesus Christ until he found Him, and the day he gave his heart to the Lord, he stopped seeing the blood on his hands. No longer handicapped by his self-condemnation, he went on to do great things towards building the Lord’s kingdom on his continent.
Jesus’ blood washes us clean. Period! There is simply no need to wallow in self-condemnation when the Lord has cleaned our hands forever. If Jesus doesn’t see us as dirty, then no one can. When we allow ourselves to become thoroughly handicapped by our self-condemnation, we are basically saying that our own judgment of ourselves is more important than Jesus’ judgment. But that can’t be right! Check out this passage from the book of 1 Corinthians: “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.” (vs. 2-4 NKJV, Emphasis mine).
There it is, spelled out for us. It doesn’t matter what anyone on this earth says or thinks about it. It doesn’t even matter what we say or think about ourselves, even if we think we are completely innocent! We aren’t judged by any human, for, “He who judges me is the Lord“!
This is the truth learned by of our Muslim-background believer in the above story. Once he met the One true Judge, he knew he was clean, for the only One who has the right to judge us is the Lord! As a result, he was no longer plagued with or handicapped by the evil things he had done.
But Paul’s words on the subject aren’t yet complete. Check out Vs. 5: “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.” (1 Corinthians 4:5 NKJV).
Our own judgment of ourselves, whether positive or negative, is nothing. We cannot even know the hidden things of darkness in our own hearts. Therefore we are told to leave judgment completely in the hands of the Lord.
Are you feeling trapped by the sins of your past? Remember, we are not qualified to judge ourselves, or anyone else for that matter. Only God is qualified to judge, and when He looks at a believer, He sees that believer as though he or she had never sinned: “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalms 103:12 NKJV Emphasis mine); “Come now, and let us reason together, Says the Lord, Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.“ (Isaiah 1:18 NKJV Emphasis mine). And when we judge ourselves and allow ourselves to wallow in self-condemnation, we are, in essence, declaring that we have more right to judge than God does!
Prayer: Lord, help us to see ourselves in the way You see us, for in so doing, the handicap of self-condemnation is removed and we are free to be Your hands and feet on Earth!
In His love,
Moderator, Associate Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries