I have a post on my ChasingNehemiah page on Facebook that’s getting good conversation flowing and while I expounded on my original point there, not everyone who reads my blog follows my Facebook page, so I’m continuing the conversation here to allow more people to engage in dialogue.
Scripture says to “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”. One way to do that is to discuss things with other believers. Find biblical perspective for questions, statements, ideas, etc.
Initially, here is what I wrote:
I read the bible. And when I read about the life of Jesus, I see someone who never judged, never put someone down, never berated, insulted, or belittled. The only people He attacked were the self-righteous “religious” leaders who were nothing but hypocritical power-mongers. And He did all this w/o compromising who He was or what He stood for. If we call ourselves “Christ”ian, followers of Jesus Christ, then we have an obligation to live our lives like He did… no excuses, no wavering. Love God, and love people… do both well and you’ll finish the course with excellence.
This seemed to resonate well with people, yet the notion of “should we judge sin?” came up.
I responded with a bit more exposition on what I had meant by the statement above. Below is what I wrote in addition to that first statement. Would love to continue dialogue if someone is looking for even more scriptural authority on what I wrote. I have lots of it, but I’m trying not to overwhelm people with a bludgeoning wall of text. :)
Let me expound on my meaning a bit to clear this all up. Our position as followers of Jesus Christ is not given to us to use a a platform for judgement of another person’s sin. Sin, ALL SIN, is equally abhorrent in God’s eye because ALL sin required the death penalty of His Son, Jesus. I’m also not advocating the condoning of sinful behavior. My point was Jesus. The Friend of sinners. He chose to spend His time with “those people”… you know, the ones that the falsely pious religious crowd loved to stand in judgement against. Sure, He knew of their sin. He knew He would be dying for it too. But He didn’t respond to them with judgement and criticism. He saw them as they were, lost and in need of hope. He didn’t condone their sin, but He didn’t condemn them for it either. He loved them. He lived His life to the glory of His Father, He lived uncompromising in His mission while still loving and having relationship with “those people”. And by being unwavering in His commitment to His Father, and by loving them as people, not castigating them for their sin, He changed His world.
It is not our job nor our responsibility to judge people. That alone belongs to Jesus. The bible makes it clear that because HE bore the penalty, He is the only one worthy to stand in judgement. He also stands as our premier advocate to the Father (See Romans 7-8). And Jesus warns us against standing in judgement in Matthew 7. Why? Because He knows how easy it is for us to create false hierarchies of sin, labeling someone else’s as “worse than my own” when He knows that sin, of any sort, is disgusting and horrid in the eyes of the Father. He knows that what starts off as altruistic will quickly become something ugly, even if just in our hearts.
Paul continues the sentiment in I Cor 5 when he encourages us to NOT disassociate ourselves from sinful people. Our job is to love them with the love of God, pointing the way to hope and forgiveness in Jesus Christ because of the ovewhelming love shown us that we can show to them. “They will know we are Christians by our love”. Not by our doctrine. Not by our bumperstickers. Not by the music we listen to, the church we attend, the way we dress, etc. By our love. Love comes from the Father, given to us by the Son, developed and matured in us by the Holy Spirit, for the glory of Jesus.
So be like Jesus. Love the sinner, hate the sin. Recognize the spiritual blindness that doesn’t allow them to see it from God’s perspective and instead of judging by a standard that they can’t comprehend yet, love them with genuine Godly love and let your actions and your lifestyle of love and submission to the Father speak more loudly than any words you could say possibly would.
So what do you think? Does that make the point more clear? Do you agree, disagree, not care? Let me know. “As iron sharpens iron, so does a man sharpen the countenance of his friend”, and we also sharpen each others faith by encouragement and discussion.
Blessings over you tonight in Jesus, beloved