Some years ago, some people came up to Jesus and asked him about cause and effect. They were wondering if the people who had died in a recent building collapse were worse sinners than those who died a natural death.
Jesus’ response played down the manner of the physical death and drew attention to the state of the questioner’s hearts. If you don’t repent, he said, then you also will die in like manner.
In another incident Jesus’ disciples ask him about a man that had been born blind. Again they were wondering about cause and effect. Was this man the sinner or his parents that he was born blind? In this case Jesus said neither but that he had been born that way to glorify God. He then healed him.
In both cases Jesus repudiates the idea that there is a direct link between a man’s (or woman’s) circumstances and his (or her) sin. This is one of the main reasons Jesus also tells us not to judge.
Sometimes there is a link between a person’s lifestyle and an early death or a sickness or condition. Man’s heart so easily judges in those circumstances. One of the main reasons Jesus confounded the religious people of his day was because he was happy to be in the company of such people, sinners. He saw a bigger picture and knew that the hearts of the ones who had fallen into various immoral or harmful lifestyles were more humble than the ones who prided themselves in not having lived that way.
Very often the only difference between a self-righteous, judgmental person and someone who regularly sins in some other more publicly obvious way is that the latter knows he needs a saviour whereas the former doesn’t.
Very often that was the only difference that needed addressing as far as Jesus was concerned.