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Thursday, November 09, 2006

How to Be Judgmental

A lot of people don't care what the Bible says. They don't want to hear that it condemns homosexuality or abortion. They don't want to hear that you have to believe certain things to be saved. But one thing even the most hardened unbeliever knows about the bible is this saying from Jesus, "Judge not."

To them, this trumps everything and anything else Jesus may have said. Judge not. Or as it is usually understood, make no value judgments about anything I do, think or say.

Scripture certainly does condemn self-righteousness. But it does not restrain us from saying something is wrong or bad or evil.

All of us make value judgments all the time. The rapist who got caught. Let's put him in jail. That's a value judgment. The corporate exec who cheated his investors. Let's oust him. We don't like the policies of a given politician. Let's vote for his opponent. All of these are judgments. God does not - indeed cannot - forbid us from judging people.

But what about those words of our Lord? The difference is this. When I speak a word of judgment against lust or pride or gossip, it is not ME speaking. It is not MY word; it is the Word of God. God condemns those things, not me.

Certainly Jesus wants his followers to worry less about the sins of the bad ol' world than about our own personal shortcomings. "Unless you repent, you will likewise perish." He hates spiritual pride. He hates those who seek to justify themselves while sneering at everyone else. He is not Mr. Politically Correct I-Tolerate-Everything. God is not that way at all. God is not polite. He is good, but not nice. And certainly not tolerant. Forgiveness is not tolerance. Forgiveness is mercy, but mercy based on the penalty being exacted on a proxy.

God is not judgmental? Tell that the Jesus on the cross.

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VirginiaLutherans said...

Excellent post. I couldn't have said it better.

Tim Kuehn said...

Those who quote the "judge not" citation is that they stop before the rest of the passage, which basically says "dont' judge anyone by a standard you wouldn't want to be judged by yourself."

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