Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I Can Judge You Because I'm a Christian

"Don't judge me," Is a phrase said around the U.S. (if not the world) by Christians and non-Christians alike. No one wants to be judged without being known. Yet we do it every time we meet someone new. We look at their clothes and car to determine their socioeconomic status. We look at their skin color and make decisions on where they probably live. We check their style and calculate their cool factor. We do all this in about three seconds. Before a word is said we've pidgin holed a person.

Is that wrong or just human nature? What does it mean to judge someone? Should Christians have a special exception on the no judging rule? Some would say yes. They may argue Christians have an advantage over the average person... They have the Bible.

But seriously, what is true judgement? The only one who can judge is God. Eternal judgement is the final call on our infinite afterlife determined by our finite earthly life. I could never judge someone in that way, because I’m not even capable. Final judgement will happen at the end of time. There are only two people who know where you’ll be after you die: God and you. But when we talk about judgement we are typically referring to the day to day critique of a persons morality.

If you've watched or read these are you in horrible sin?

I feel like Christians typically fall into three camps. 1) The Legalist: Those who are lenient toward people that don't know Christ, but are overly harsh judges of Christians. 2) The Self Proclaimed Sheriff: Those who feel it is there job to judge the living, dead, and even undead. They feel the need to tell anything that breathes what and how they are doing it wrong. 3) The Enabler: Finally there are those who believe it's your life and you can do what you want. They would say, "Who am I to tell you what is right and wrong? Whether you're a Christian or non-Christian, what you do is your business." I

I don't feel like any of those three precisely hit, as Pastor Trey says, the center of Biblical tension. Let's look at what Scripture says about judging. Jesus said,

"Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults-unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, 'Let me wash your face for you,' when your own face is distorted by contempt? It's this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor. Matthew 7:1-5

Jesus is quite clear. Worry about you. When you're most concerned about being more like Christ today  you won't have time to worry about everyone else's sins. The person who is concerned with whether or not I'm doing the right thing is often not looking at themselves close enough. In your own life stop worrying so much about what people are going to think and more about what God is going to think.

Too far?

Does that mean we let everything go? Should nothing be corrected? No. There are certain things that should always be dealt with, we call those things sin. If you want a good guide about things a Christian should be corrected on check out the Ten Commandments. If they are going against those there needs to be a talk. If the persons actions/style annoy you or don't fit your cultural preferences--let it go.

If we're honest with ourselves every time we pass down judgement one time we know others could judge us ten times. With that in mind you have to be careful. Judge yourself before you judge others.

How should we judge those that don't know Christ yet? We shouldn't. Their hearts must be changed before we ever expect their actions to change. Romans 6:6 tells us,
For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin...
Those who aren't Christians are slaves to sin. Ephesians 2:3 tells us that before Christ sin is natural! But now we see differently. What is natural for a non-Christian is unnatural for a Christian. Those things that Christians see as unnatural cause us to want to be judgmental.

Are the unsaved going to... Cuss? Yup. Drink; smoke; party; sleep around? Of course. *Gasp* Is it sin? Yes. But that is who they are. Is it ok? No. But let the Holy Spirit work on their lives... He'll do a better job of convicting people than you will. You should live like Christ in front of people. Let your life be an example of the great work Christ has done in you.

Let's learn to be a fourth type. 4) The Motivator: We help bring people to Christ while we're living and speaking a life God would be proud of. We motivate people out of sin. We help them through their struggles and not kick them when they're down. We let scripture speak and let the Holy Spirit convict.

What do you think?