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Dismissed Without Prejudice

Daily Reading: 1 Corinthians 5-6

Scripture Focus: For what have I to do with judging outsiders? (1 Corinthians 5.12)

Devotional Thought: Recently, I found myself in court with an anxious family. It was for a preliminary hearing in a legal matter. After discussion with the prosecutor and the defendant's counsel, the judge dismissed the charges without prejudice. That sounds good, right? Prejudice is bad, so without prejudice is good, isn't it? Sadly, it doesn't work that way in court! After asking the prosecutor, we discovered that if a matter is dismissed without prejudice it can be brought up again. If it is dismissed with prejudice, then it can never again be re-filed. The judge had left the door open for judgment in the future!

In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul wrote about judging someone in the church vs. outside the church. Paul made it plain that, at this time, we can't judge outsiders. It's not that we can't say an action is wrong or right - for we have to be able to discern good from evil. But, we cannot condemn sinners. We dismiss their case without prejudice, leaving it up to God, whose ultimate judgment is in the future.

In the case of a human court, charges are dismissed without prejudice in order to give the state opportunity to build their case for prosecution. With God, however, just the opposite is true. The Bible says that God is not willing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance. He dismisses without prejudice in order to give the defense time to build their case - for the lost soul to come to Jesus and have his or her sins forgiven! "Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart" (1 Corinthians 4.5).


Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that in your mercy you gave me opportunity to believe in Jesus, and to receive him as my Savior. Help me not to give up on anybody. May my loved ones and friends respond to you in the time of decision.

Psalm of the Day: 113.1-3

1 Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord!

2 Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forevermore! 3 From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!

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