If you are tired of observing Christians hide behind their misuse of Christ’s admonition not to “judge” and so-called leaders directing followers to “love” any and everybody regardless of their behavior, welcome to this believer’s world.
On judgement: In my many years of studying Scripture, I have found nothing to imply that Christ’s statement regarding judgment in Matthew 7:1-5 means that Christians must forego their capacity to be discriminating. A Christian is required to make assessments of his own behavior and that of others, based on Scripture.
Christ’s words, in the Matthew text, make it clear that judging someone else when you yourself are indulging in similar or worse behavior is what He will not tolerate. He is clearly addressing “hypocrisy” here, those who claim Christianity as their mantle, but do not practice what they preach to others.
A good example is the evangelical minister Jimmy Swaggart, who in the late 1980s was implicated in an incident with a prostitute. Pastor Swaggart had earlier exposed another minister for having had affairs. In this case, Pastor Swaggart failed to remove the “beam” from his own eye before condemning a fellow Christian.
The verse following verse 5 (Matthew 7:6) admonishes that the believer not “cast pearls before swine.” Christ is referring here to a believer’s attempts to share things of spiritual value with those who show disdain for such things. Further in that same sermon (7:15-16), Christ said “beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing…you will know them by their fruits”; that is, by their behavior, what they produce through their actions.
For Christians to follow these directives from Christ, judgment is necessary. We must assess behavior, ours as well as that of others, to determine if it aligns with God’s will as Christ expressed that will.
Judgment is therefore required of Christians, as long as we have examined our own behavior and found that we are free of the behavior about which we are judging. Scripture further clarifies how we must view judgment. John 7:24 cautions that ours must be “righteous” not superficial judgment.
The “I don’t judge” excuse comes from many Christians who fear speaking out against homosexual activism. Their fear is understandable because the homosexual movement has morphed into a kind of “homofascism” that is horrendously evil.
Homosexual activists have gained control of much of the American judiciary, which can inflict considerable harm upon individuals who oppose their godless agenda. The lawless Obama administration, as part of its overall strategy to gut America’s Judeo-Christian foundation, has tremendously aided and abetted the homofascist cause.
Consequently Christians, especially true biblically oriented Christians, are being targeted for silencing. To avoid such persecution, some Christians will continue to pander to those forces of evil. Shunning judgment and declaring “love for all” is their preferred method of operation. It’s much easier that way.
For Christian leaders to allow the misinterpretation of Scripture, so as to relieve followers of Christ of their duty to face down and oppose evil, is a grave fallacy, which will not go unnoticed by Almighty God.
On love: I am intrigued by a saying that permeates Christian dialogue these days, “Love the sinner and not the sin.” Nothing in Scripture indicates that Christ made that statement, but St. Augustine did in a letter. His statement translates roughly “With love for mankind and hatred of sin.” A version of the phrase, “hate the sin and not the sinner” appears in the 1929 autobiography of Mohandas Gandhi.*
Love, however, as expressed by Almighty God (and by extension, Christ) is not indiscriminate. He expresses it toward those deserving of such love. One commentary explains it as God’s extending love to those who are not set in a course of wrong-doing. It is extended to all persons until they show, by behavior, that they reject His love. (Psalm 21:8,9 and Isaiah 26:10)
These are people who choose to practice sin, which is vastly different from sinning as a consequence of inherently sinful human nature. Their rejection of God’s love is evident by a refusal to repent and turn away from the practice of sin that God hates. Godly love continues toward those of us who struggle on a daily basis to align our lives with His will, against inherent human weakness. Christ acknowledged this flaw in His followers. (Matthew 26:41)
As such, I do not, as a Christian, owe love to those who choose to defy God and practice sin. And because Christ has given me the directive to judge scripturally the behavior of those around me, I am equipped to determine who those people are by their actions and behavior—by their fruits. This does not preclude a principled, “agape” love for my enemy, as expressive of my sincere concern for the lasting welfare of all humans. Enemies can become friends.
I must, however, extend love as God extends love. The Psalmist expressed it well in Psalms 139:20-24.
This being the case, I am not inclined, along with many Christians who think as I do, to separate the willful (and I stress willful) sinner from his sin. They are one and the same. Continued refusal to repent (to stop practicing sinful behavior) is an affront to Christ’s atoning sacrifice for our lives and will result in the willful sinner’s death, along with his sin. Almighty God does not separate the two and neither should I.
I am well aware that many who profess Christianity are comfortably ensconced in their pithy sayings. Sayings that sooth their timid souls and relieve them of the need to judge. But some of us prefer not to go that route but rather choose to be guided by the whole of Scripture.
In due time, Almighty God will be the final arbiter of all of our choices.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.