Saturday, March 1, 2014

Judging Others?

Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 

For in the way you judge, you will be judged; 

and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:1-2

Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. 
Matthew 7:15-16

Does Jesus Contradict Himself?

Jesus was quite clear here … don’t judge others. 
Is it possible for anyone to follow this command? 

We all make judgments every day.
And as a result, aren't we all under this judgment?
"For in the way you judge, you will be judged"

And as Christians, haven’t we been forgiven and redeemed by our Lord and Savior Christ on the Cross? Since our sins are forgiven: past, present, and future ... 
how can we now come under judgment, since we are eternally forgiven?

I often hear people say don’t be a fruit inspector, because that is being judgmental. A few verses later Jesus instructs us to: “Beware of the false prophets” and “You will know them by their fruits.” 
Matthew 7:15-16 

Isn't this an instruction to judge others?

And the love chapter tells us: “Love … does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:6-7.  If we rejoice in the truth and not unrighteousness; how can we live out the power of Christ's unending love without judging the difference between truth and unrighteousness up against God's definition of right and wrong … the difference between the truth and a lie? 

These teachings appear to be contradictory. How can we be aware of falsehood without judging? And how else would we recognize a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

We know God cannot contradict Himself and can never lie, so to think otherwise is to come to a wrong conclusion. So let’s try to better understand what God is saying here.

Truth is not ignoring the facts when people deliberately disregard God's Truth ... is it? 

The answer to this question is always NO ... but it can be different depending upon whether a person is a Christian or an unbeliever. For an unbeliever with a different worldview, the truth to them has a different meaning, but when their conclusions are contrary to God's truth they are always wrong. The only other option would be God lies.

Everything that Jesus says is in the context of  God's eternal truth.

The apostle Paul makes things more clear here:
“Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.  For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:8-10

When Jesus says: “Do not judge” He is not saying Christians are to ignore and disregard evil acts such as: adultery, murder, stealing, lying, or to violate any of the other commandments ... because my act of love covers all of your sins. But rather, he is saying: when we love one another as we love ourselves we will not do these things. "Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."

The law of Christ does not negate the commandments ... the love of Christ fulfills the commandments. A key point here is that although we are not to judge others … the actions of others are not included in this command. There is a difference between judging people and judging evil actions. To judge evil actions, false thinking or false religions is not judging a person. Only God or the courts are allowed to do that. But it would obviously be wise for you to distance yourself from a cheat, a murderer, an adulterer, or a liar; as well as false religions, atheistic teachings, and all other evil and false teachings and philosophies.

Some examples: 
   1.  A business partner says to you, here is a great way we can double our profits 
       by maintaining two sets of books.
   2.  A married co-worker asks you to sleep with him or her on Friday afternoons.
   3. A man has a vasectomy and hides this fact from his bride who wants children. 
   4. Or anything else that someone asks you to do, which God has stated to be wrong, 
       and an unloving thing to do.

As Christians we should obviously judge all of these actions. 
And we can do that while not judging the other person.

Our witness should be to say; “I cannot do these things because they are a violation of the beliefs that God has given me. They are the foundation of my life. I would be the worst kind of a hypocrite to violate these beliefs. We should then attempt to help the other person to see the truth; because that is the loving thing to do in their regard. 

Isn't this how Joseph responded to Potiphar's wife?  ... "But Joseph refused. "With me in charge," he told her, "my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" Genesis 39:1-23

Judge the actions and not the person. 

The verse above says that we owe this love to one another.

To reject false religion, false gods, or false beliefs is not to judge the person; but rather the falsehood. For me to point out that the acceptance of evolution is the rejection of the Creator and Savior of the world may appear judgmental or closed-minded to some; but we must do our best to explain the difference. To be closed-minded to teachings that deny Christ is good and not a bad thing. To do otherwise is to allow evil to replace the truth of Christ.

When the opportunity arises, your purpose here should be to show others what God is leading you to do, and would have for them to do as well ... and why.

This is the perfect opening to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and the victory that Jesus has for us all. Some might think that this is judging them because it is convicting to them. 

But the truth is that sharing the gospel is the most loving thing that we can do for another person.

Judging others comes in many forms. Sometimes it can be as simple as the tone of your voice. It could also mean forgiving but never forgetting. For example, it was clearly wrong for the man above to not tell his bride about his vascectomy. But it would be judging him to first forgive him, and then to continue to bring it up and call him a liar for years in the future. 

But most often judging comes in the form of accusation or confrontation of the sinning person rather than the deed. Everyone knows the difference between right and wrong but some pretend that there are no absolutes. 

Christianity is based upon Biblical absolutes. These absolutes are not open to debate. 
God is not asking us to help Him determine what is right and wrong.

But those of the world have not accepted the teachings of our Lord and Savior and will always see you pointing out sinful acts as judging them. Men of the world, often believe that there are no moral absolutes. But it is easy to expose this foolish logic by asking a few questions ... such as: do they think child molestation, rape, or murder are acceptable behavior?

In my mind, the worst form of judging others often occurs when a believer is hurt by another Christian and is angered.  Then he judges that person and a seed of bitterness establishes a stronghold in his heart and mind. It is then nearly impossible for the person who caused the hurt to reason with him. Reconciliation is not even possible without both persons coming to understand the true meaning of loving others and living out the forgiveness that Christ has given to each of us.

"Be angry, and yet do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity." Ephesians 4:26-27

In the situation where another Christian’s sin has become apparent to you, Jesus teaches us in this case as well. You should first make it clear that you are only following the instructions of the Lord and Savior that you both follow. Show them the verse below and explain to them the steps Jesus Christ has instructed. Jesus wants us to hold each other accountable; to help each other; to encourage one another; to confront one another when they have fallen away from the truth; and to teach us through the process.

 “If your brother sins; go to him and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17

In a case where the church would be forced to put someone out of their fellowship, this too is not a judgment but rather an act of love, in hopes that they would return to following Christ; rather than stand firm in their lust or pride. 1 Corinthians 5:1-5

We must always remember: "the love of Christ controls us."

 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

God bless you my friends, Bob

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