Three bearsDo you remember the story of the Three Bears? I used to read it to my students when I taught kindergarten. It was always a favorite. The children loved how I’d read in different voices when I came to the line:

Somebody’s been sitting in my chair.”

They loved it when I came to the part of Goldilocks getting caught in baby bear’s bed. They would giggle, because she got caught somewhere she didn’t belong.

How many of us are guilty of sitting somewhere we don’t belong? Anyone?

In truth we are all guilty of sitting in a seat that isn’t ours….the judgment seat.

Matthew 7:1 warns us,

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”

But we all do it. We all look at other people and size them up. Funny how we don’t feel guilty when we talking about sizing someone up or the one I know I’m guilty of… people watching. Let’s call a spade a spade. People watching is a polite term for judging others.

The very girls and women I fight for on a daily basis have experienced more judgment in a year than most of us will encounter in a lifetime. They get it from those looking to sell or purchase them. They get it from those who see them out on the street. They even get it from some God-fearing church people.

If I’m honest, before I learned about the horrific atrocity of trafficking, where people are held captive and sold like a product to be used and discarded, I, too, thought prostitutes chose the life. I thought they could walk away whenever they wanted to and couldn’t figure out why they didn’t. I was guilty. I judged. I dodged them. I would look away. And I was wrong… dead wrong in my assessment.

Today, if I see a young lady who appears to be in the life, I don’t walk from her, I walk towards her. I talk to her. I want to know her story. I want to offer her hope. I want to be her friend.

Am I the only one? Am I the only person who has had to face up to the fact I stole God’s chair? I’ve sat in His judgment seat?

Today, I’ll be attending a seminar on pornography addiction to learn all I can about it. Why? Because after spending five years fighting for victims of sexual exploitation, I’ve come to learn the perpetrators, the buyers and sellers of sex, need rescuing and restoring as much as those they victimize. They’ve all been wounded somewhere in their past. I found this to be true when I interviewed a former pimp for my book, Rescuing Hope. His wounding started before his 10th birthday and it all went downhill from there. Let’s face it:

Hurt people hurt people!

Jesus hung out with the hurt people. He hung out with those no one else wanted anything to do with: the prostitutes, the tax collectors, those with mental illness [Matthew 26:6- Matthew 10:1-4 and Matthew 8:28-34]. In Mark 2:15-17, we read:

And it came about that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax-gatherers and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him. And when the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax-gatherers, they began saying to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax-gatherers and sinners?” And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “it is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

If we’re to be like Jesus, we need to reach out to those who are lost, hurting, and in need of a Savior, no matter what they look like. We need to demonstrate love and kindness to them, not judgment.

There is only One judge and a jury of One, and that is Jesus [James 4:12].

If you’re sitting in the Lord’s seat, I suggest you take your lead from Goldilocks and vacate it immediately, because remaining there isn’t good for anyone involved [Luke 6:37].

Where are you sitting?