For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its savior. 
John 3:17

You’ve seen the signs and placards held up for the cameras at sporting events… John 3:16… Chances are you know the verse by heart, too: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
I call that Good News!
But have we stopped to consider that the good news gets even better in the verse that follows—John 3:17? Hear it again: Jesus wasn’t sent to judge us but to save us. Oh, I know, judgment is coming. The guilty will be punished. Our God is a consuming fire. But…

Kandinsky's The Last Judgment (1912)

He’s undeniably a Savior to everyone who comes to him, who believes in him. I wonder if this is why you’ll almost never find anyone who has a bad thing to say about Jesus. We can’t blame him for anything because he does not accuse us of anything! Before I knew him as my Savior, I thought he was a pretty cool cat. I looked at him the way Leonard Cohen described him. “Jesus may be the most beautiful guy who walked the face of this earth,” Cohen said. “Any guy who says, ‘Blessed are the poor. Blessed are the meek,’ has got to be a figure of unparalleled generosity and insight and madness.”

It’s a challenging notion, of course, to refrain from judging our fellows… the non-binary, the land developers, Democrats, Republicans, terrorists, the one percent, Vladimir Putin, the petite bourgeoisie… Fill in the blank… They should all burn in hell, right? Or at least get a little roasting…

Leonard Cohen performs

But that’s not our call to make.
Years ago, when I was living in Mexico, I found myself making this daily prayer: God, let me see people the way you see them.
I don’t know for sure what inspired the prayer; perhaps it had to do with an ex-con in the church I attended who forged my signature on several checks and robbed me of five thousand dollars! My reaction to his deceit and treachery was probably like yours would have been. I was angry! When confronted by what he had done, he apologized, and I think he may have been truly sorry, but I also remember thinking he needed some roasting—third or fourth degree at the least. God, however, impressed on my heart to forgive him. Thus, the prayer.

Another potent reminder

I knew then—and I know now—that I stink. There is no good thing in me apart from God’s Spirit residing in a part of my soul (Romans 7:18). Who am I to judge another? I am a sinner saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8). Oh, let a righteous man strike me, it will be a kindness (Psalm 141:5)!
Friends, I believe in spreading the Good News of John 3:16. I also believe in embracing John 3:17 as part of the message! Be a “little Christ” with me, will you? Let us love others as he has loved us. And, perhaps, you’d like to adopt my prayer from Mexico: Lord, let me see others the way you see them.

P.S. We are still working on Let me Have My Son, starting the second round of editing in March. As always, we can use whatever financial help God inspires you to send our way. Now would be a good time! Thanks!

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Cristóbal Krusen is a filmmaker and author. He founded Messenger Films in 1988.

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