I have been privileged to experience first hand what it might be like to go before a two types of judges; one who has already deemed me "guilty" and then one who has deemed me "not guilty." It was quite a life lesson for me and here is how it played out:
If you know me or have read my previous posts, you are aware of my multiple health issues. At the time I had become ill I was working full time. When I became ill I had to stop working. After several years went by it was getting harder and harder to make ends meet, so my husband and I decided that it was time to apply for my Disability benefits. That battle began May of 2005.
January of 2007 found me sitting before a judge that had already made up his mind that I was not eligible for my benefits, I am sure in part because I don't look sick. My file was literally several inches thick of medical documentation, yet it was of no avail to him. His questions to me were not out of line, it was his responses and his attitude toward my answers to his questions that revealed his prejudice against me.
That morning before we went to my appointment before the Judge, I had searched God's Word for guidance. He gave me this scripture that I did not fully comprehend at the time; Proverbs 10:19-20 NKJV which says this; In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; The heart of the wicked is worth little.
I focused on the first verse in regard to my use of words during the inquiry that morning. I held my tongue more than I believe I would have, had I not received this scripture ahead of time. There were times during the judge's questioning that I would have been tempted to explain my responses in more detail, but I believe the Lord helped me restrain my tongue. It was obvious to me that it did not matter what I said, the decision was already made.
Several months later I received the news that, indeed I was denied by the judge to receive my benefits. It was very disheartening to say the least, but the truth of my situation had not changed and with the help of the Lord and my husband and attorney, we continued onto yet another appeal. The waiting continued.
It was early fall of 2008 that I got a call from my attorney that the decision by the first judge had been overturned and that I may not even have to go before another judge. I was to fill out more paperwork (yet again) and then wait (yet again)! We were so encouraged, yet nothing was settled yet.
January 2009 found me sitting before the second judge. This time I could tell that he was impartial and he listened to my responses without dismissal or contempt. The waiting continued.
I got THE call in March of 2009 that the second judge ruled in my favor. By summer of 2009 I started receiving my benefits and 4 years of struggling had come to an end and it was such a relief!
Had I truly been sitting before the One and Only Righteous Judge I would have had to been declared guilty. EXCEPT for one thing, as a believer I have a lawyer who has NEVER lost a case! His name is Jesus Christ. As a believer, we are declared not guilty in the sight of God. AMAZING. It is all because of Christ and the blood He shed on the cross!
BUT GOD graciously allowed me to experience what it would be like to sit before the first judge that made me feel condemnation so He could whittle away that same judgmental attitude I am prone to have toward others, not unlike big brother did toward the prodigal. In my next post I will elaborate more specifically how He did that.
I am reminded of a song by Benny Hester titled When God Ran. My prayer and my song is that this becomes our vision of God's response toward all of us prodigals and in turn respond to each other the same way. Amen.