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The Bottom Line on Judging

May 4, 20128 Comments

Final Judgment

A couple of weeks ago, I asked what was judging? Without answering the question, I framed different situations to see if by your opinion they fit the bill for judging.  If you have not read that post its called “Straight Talk: Judging Others and Being Judgmental”.  That post was to get the conversation going, and the thinking started.  This post is a report from the field and an answer and look at judging others and being judgmental.

What others are saying…

I asked some people that were not Christians and of the average intelligence, what was Judging and what was being judgmental?  While this is not scientific, these are viewpoint that add to the discussion.  Responses went from talking about people and gossip to the sizing up and evaluating people that occurs on a daily basis.  Still there was not a consensus and while people knew that Jesus said not to judge no one mentioned condemnation, like Jesus did.

This is certain Christianity and Christians have been deemed or should I say judged to be judgmental, that’s the only consensus.  Here’s the bottom line,  Jesus said, “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned” (Luke 6:37).  The judgement that Jesus is talking about is a condemning of people, a judging of the final end of a person, or giving a final verdict on a person,  I think that’s why older people used to say, “I don’t have a heaven or hell to put you in.” Because they recognized they could not judge anyone, or give a final verdict if someone was going to hell or not.  I agree wholeheartedly.

Priorities of Judging…

There is a legitimate place for judging in the bible and in our lives.  It is needed for our own personal good and for the good of our organizations.

1. We are to judge ourselves. ( 1 Cor 11:31, Mat 7:5)  This is not saying that we are to condemn ourselves, no but we are to continually in light of scripture assess our actions, attitudes and thoughts.  God’s word is likened to a sword where it can cut between spirit and soul and it is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the hearts (Heb 4:12).  Its also depicted at a mirror giving us a true reflection of ourselves. (Jas 1:23)

2.  Elders and selected members in the church are to judge the affairs within the church body. (1 Cor 5:12, 1 Cor 6:4-5)  This is for church discipline and to keep the sheep safe from wolves in sheep’s clothing, and false teachings.  Every organization needs someone or a group of people who will not let the “few bad apples” ruin it for everyone, or abuse others.  This is probably the number one reason why moral is down at most churches and other organizations, because the people who should stop wrong doing and correct people, don’t.

3. Paul stated, “For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside?” (1 Cor 5:12) Outside, meaning outside of the church, people not confessing to be followers of Christ.  Many have taken it as a Christian’s responsibility to correct wrong behavior, and give opinions when they were not asked for, which only leads to shame of the person and other Christians.  We have appeared as over bearing, rude busybodies.  We will all do good to reflect on Paul’s statement, and remember the great commission was to make disciples and to teach them to obey all that Jesus commanded us. 

Where the trouble lies…

Our society has changed, it appears that the accusation of judging with an emphasis on condemning people has changed to saying whats wrong or right or rather believing something that someone else does is wrong.  The later  places Christianity and Christians in the judgment seat for being judgmental, because the bible judges human behavior.  In John 3:18 it says that the unbeliever is already condemned i.e judged, because he doesn’t believe in the Son.   50 years ago the bible was looked at as the plumb line on life, people fully accepted its judgments, that has changed.  No longer is the Good Book, good for that task in the eyes of most.  It seems the accusation’s of being  judgmental has come in the midst of the change of view of the bible; not wanting the judgments on humanity that the bible has and Christianity represents.

The claims of Christianity stand at a stark contrast to most of the world religions, and they further ignite the claims against the church.  In Jesus’ definitive statement “”I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).  This statement alone, places Jesus as the exclusive truth and sole way to God; there are no other ways.  In a world of “religious tolerance”  the bible’s claim and a Christian’s stance on the biblical Jesus, is and will be problematic and deemed judgmental for people outside of the faith given by God of Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Conclusion…

As one commenter stated,  “We can’t help other people’s perceptions, but we can do our best to communicate truth carefully”.  When asked questions in areas that are sensitive, we must add compassion to our truth, and empathy to our communication.  We need to remember that as Christians we are the ones convinced of God and His truths, not the people listening to us.  The truth must be said, if we alter our message and step back on Jesus’ claims, then what will Christianity be?  Unfortunately there is a “Christian” in name organization that is appearing at funerals, disrupting a very sacred time, doing the exact opposite of what any person of reason or faith would deem decent.  I pray for them, and pray they do not become the poster child for Christianity. Likewise there also are numerous “Christian” organizations that have stepped back on Jesus’ claims to appear non-judgmental, I pray they are not the poster child for Christianity as well.

A lot of times it isn’t what you say, but how you say it.  Then there are other times when  it’s not what was said, but who said it!  The accusation of being judgmental can come for reasons that are outside of our control and when a judgment hasn’t been passed.  I remember a conversation with a very intelligent young lady.  After she listened to me explain who Jesus was, she immediately asked “aren’t Christian’s “anti-gay?”  I asked her did she think there was a God, a sovereign being who created mankind, and who rules over the whole earth?   She looked at me inquisitively, and I went on, if there is a God as I have mentioned, does He have the right to put standards of living on His creation?  As Christian’s we represent that God, who in the bible has laid out His love, thought and standards of living for people.  Not only will we need compassion and humility, we will need to refocus the conversations to the reality and existence of this God.

 

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Comments (8)

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  1. Shannon says:

    Thank you for revisiting and pressing through the difficult. I appreciate the wisdom that He has provided, as you have sought Him for answers to that which seemed a bit blurry. Blessings as you continue to seek and share what He is showing you!

    • Thomas Smith says:

      Shannon,

      God’s peace and blessing to you, you are very welcome and thank you for your time. It is my prayer that posts like these truly can bless God’s people.

  2. Terry says:

    Hello and thanks for liking my blog post, God Come To My Assistance,over at 8kidsandabusiness.com You’ve got a great blog! I agree – “don’t judge me” has become the standard reply from anyone who doesn’t believe in the Truth of the Gospel. Keep up the great work.

  3. Ginny says:

    Great post for modern times and current difficulties.

  4. RonFCCC says:

    Thanks for a post that has caused me to think a little more carefully about judging. Conclusions I’ve reached so far: (1) On public issues such as same-sex marriage, Christians must be forthright about what Scripture says, while at the same time doing our very best to “speak the truth in love.” (2) With regard to the private sins of individual unbelievers, it seems to me that is a “by invitation only” kind of thing. Paul showed us that we have no duty to judge those outside, and I think it wise to wait for their invitation before commenting negatively on their personal behavior. Then the same standard of “speaking the truth in love” applies.

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