Courtyard where King Henry 8th Beheaded Those Who Opposed Him
Judgemental. Hypocrite. Intolerant. Politically incorrect. Self-righteous.
These are all words I have heard used to describe Christians. They are all true. That sounds horrible but it is undeniable. Somewhere, somehow, in our quest to be more holy, we have lost sight of the key element of Jesus Christ’s ministry…He loved.
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
The problem, I think, lies in the fact that we do not want to let God down but in the world, the pressures to conform are so strong that we often feel we need to go to extremes in order to defend against them. There are many hot topic issues in society today and unless we accept them all, we are labeled with the adjectives at the top of the page. If we do not subscribe to someone else’s choices, we are judging them. If we try to maintain a standard and fail, we are a hypocrite…etc. I was recently challenged on this issue and had to do some soul searching to figure out why I was making the choices I did. The answer came in the form of a few verses.
1 John 3:4-5
Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that He appeared that He might take away our sins and in Him is no sin.
Finally, Brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think on these things.
2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
These verses tell me that sin is sin. They tell me that God wants my life to be full of His goodness and that His word will teach me what is good.
I have decided that I believe that ‘All Scripture’ means the whole of the Bible. I know that the Old Testament applies to the Nation of Israel and that ‘under grace’ the New Testament applies to me. Upon careful study, I have learned that much of the New is substantiated by the Old and that the lessons of the Old are still valuable for me today. It is easy to pick and choose the passages that are comfortable or highlight those that say that I am doing things right, but in order to grow, I have to be willing to let God be my judge.
Can anyone teach knowledge to God, since He judges even the highest?
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgement on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, for you do the same things.
You then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgement seat.
The Bible tells us that we all sin. (Romans 3:23) In Matthew 18, God tells us to reach out in love to help those who are sinning see their stumbling and encourage them to overcome it. Galatians 6:1-2 tells us that we are to restore one another gently, being careful to not be tempted and in so doing, fulfill the law of Christ by carrying (sharing) one another’s burdens. These verses do not say that we are to judge one another but rather that we are to encourage one another to godliness. It is ok to say that something is not right…God’s word teaches us right from wrong. It is not ok to judge the person – that is God’s job.
If a brother or sister in Christ were to come to you today, would you be able to hear their concern in love or would you feel judged and defensive? Some of that depends on them and some of it depends on you. If you feel the need to defend your actions, are you willing to go to Scripture to find out what God says? If it is sin, are you willing to give it up? If not, why do you want to hang on? What is your motivation?