May 24, 2017
I was once asked to give the opening presentation at a weekend for parents who were looking for some help or direction with raising children. I began with something like this:
“There are at least three groups of people who know more about raising your kids than you do.
- People who have never had children.
- People who had children 40 years ago.
- People whose children are the most misbehaved brats on the planet.
There may be others but few will be more outspoken then the three above.”
This same principle of naiveté also applies to those who want to tell me about what it means to be a Christian. I’m talking of course about those who have no clue about the Faith, but of course, they think they do. You know… those who quit coming to church years ago because “Church goers are just a bunch of hypocrites”; or those who quit coming because they didn’t like the pastor. Meanwhile, that pastor left 10 years ago. Or those who have had a few too many and want to spout off about their thoughts on God.
Maybe what I have heard most over the years is something this, “You can’t judge other people!” And then in a sarcastic, smarmy, self righteous voice, “And you call yourself a Christian!” And if they are really smart they might reference Matthew 7. Or at the least they will reference verse 1.
1“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
It only takes a cursory look at these verses to realize they are about hypocrisy, not judgment, i.e., don’t be a hypocrite! If you have sin in your life, don’t judge others for the same thing. Get your life together before casting aspersions on others. These verses are not proof texts regarding judging!
Let me ask maybe a different question. Do you believe that forgiveness is a practice commanded in the Bible? For sure it is! Matthew 6:15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. And numerous other verses I might add.
Here’s the question. How do you forgive or what do you forgive, if there is not a judgment made about the other person’s behavior? What do you forgive if you have not made a “judgment” that the other has “sinned against you?” With no judgment there is no need for or grounds for forgiveness. Imagine in a courtroom the judge saying, “Your penalty is life imprisonment.” Someone then questions why there is a penalty at all. What does the judge say if there has been no judgment of guilt made? He can’t say anything. That’s why courts have to make a judgment. There is no court if there is no sense of judgment. There is no declaration of guilt or innocence if there is no judgment.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that your judgment or mine is infallible. After all, just like secular courts, we can make mistakes. But we cannot live life without making judgments… constantly… regularly…. repeatedly…. I would also say that for Christians our judgments need to come from loving and kind hearts. WE ARE NOT THE WORLD! Get it? WE ARE NOT THE WORLD! If you don’t hear anything else today hear this: We are not called to judge as the World judges. We are called to judge as God judges… from a position of love.
How are you doing with that?