Monday, November 19, 2012
In the whole bible, besides John 3:16, what verse comes to mind that everyone quotes (and misquotes)? Do not judge. I've heard many, many people use that as a get out of jail free card. "The Bible says don't judge". "Jesus said don't judge". If you ask most of them where that verse is found, they couldn't say. They don't know (nor do some of them care) what the verses surrounding that one says or means. They just know it's in there and that is supposed to end the conversation. In case you're wondering, here it is: Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
Luk_6:37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
Joh_7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
In most conversations, the reason that particular phrase is brought up is sin. Someone is committing adultery, having (or had) an abortion, got caught lying, stealing, etc. It doesn't matter. Sin is sin. And while Jesus did say, "Judge not" he was not one to excuse sin or sweep it under the rug. He called out the sinner, pointed it out, and to some he said "Go and sin no more". He didn't do any of this hatefully or spitefully, but in love.
When it comes to sin, God does not tolerate it, whether its a "little" sin or a "big" sin. Truthfully, from God's perspective there is no sin hierarchy. To him it's all the same and we are all guilty of it. We humans were the ones to decide that lying to spare one's feelings is okay and murder is worse than adultery or fornication.
So, when we see someone going down the wrong path, should we just look the other way? Pretend it's okay? Not say anything because we don't want to be accused of judging? If I saw a huge 18 wheeler barreling down the highway and you were in it's path unaware, would you want me to tell you? I'm willing to guess that you'd want to know, and you'd want me to help you get out of the way as quickly as possible. Sin in that 18 wheeler. The end result in both cases is death.
When we encounter a situation (sin) that needs addressing, we need to be prayerful and introspective about it. Is my life in order? Am I doing the same thing or something that needs to be taken care of first? Go to the person alone. Do not discuss Susie's adultery with Heather and Jane "out of concern." Talk to Susie about your concerns. Let her know you're worried about her.
If Susie repents, great! Continue loving her, continue being there for her. If she doesn't? Continue loving her, continue praying for her, continue being there for her (except in helping her to sin). Go to the church elders or the minister to voice your concern. We should judge the sin, and try to vanquish it from our lives.
But what if it's not a sin, but a "character flaw"? Max is overweight, he must not eat healthy or he eats too much. Sally is the world's worst housekeeper. Her place is always a mess; how can she live like that? Yes folks, that is judging and it is mean, and in this author's opinion it's one of the worst forms of judging. Have a heart, folks! This applies to me as well. I too, have been guilty of criticizing others.
Look deeper at the person you are attacking. Is Max really eating only junkfood and lots of it? Is he doing it because he's lonely or depressed? Reach out to him. Be his friend. And Sally. Why is her house a mess? Is it because she doesn't care and prefers to live in a messy environment, or is there an underlying problem? Perhaps she's overwhelmed and doesn't know where to start. Perhaps she's just too tired to pick up after chasing the kids all day. Maybe she just doesn't have the organization gene that you do. Instead of picking at her or throwing advice or throwing a social worker at her, GO HELP. Offer to take the kids for an hour or two so Sally can get some work done. Shoo her out of the kitchen and wash the dishes for her. Offer her an hour of your time and help her figure out how to organize. And again, continue loving Max and Sally. Don't go running off to Heather and Jane to discuss it.
We all have our sins. We all have our character flaws. Help one another. Be someone's life line. But do it in love.