I know that I’m dipping my toes into some controversial waters here, but hey, this has been on my heart lately, and it’s important, so why not?
“Christians aren’t supposed to judge.” I get a little disheartened when I hear those words because, frankly, it doesn’t make much sense. Here is reason #1: That very statement is a judgement in and of itself. When one says that it is wrong for a Christian to judge someone else, you are judging that this action is wrong.
As Christians, we are to judge righteously, with love. Here is one of the reasons why: When we open ourselves up to love others, we are opening ourselves up to receiving God’s love. It is undeniable that we as believers are called by God to confront other believers who are living in sin or simply not growing, but how are we to do that if we do not first judge that what they are doing is wrong? Without loving and righteous judgements, confrontation in the body of Christ would be impossible. The truth requires us as Christians to judge others (but NOT condemn them to Hell, for those are two entirely separate things).
When talking about judging, Christians normally go to Matthew 7. “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgement you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you” (v. 1-2). Measurement is amount. These verses are talking about intake and outtake. Opening yourself up to someone in a judgement to LOVE them means that you’re opening yourself up to receiving God’s love. So whatever amount of openness you are displaying with a brother/sister in Christ is the amount of openness that you are sharing with God.
Man’s idea of love is so different from God’s view of love. As humans, we think that confrontation cannot come out of love but of hatred. But the exact opposite is true if you don’t have that plank (of self-righteousness) in your eye. If you have a heart for the lost and the spiritual state of believers, then you will be so concerned with their current spiritual condition (which you must first judge) that you seek after them.
Matthew 7:3-5 is talking to believers. “Hypocrite!”—this word alludes to one who is insincere and fake. One whose motives are impure, dishonest, self-serving. We are to speak the truth in love no matter how ugly that truth may be. Before making a judgement, we must first examine ourselves (our motives, our “beams”) in order to make a Biblical assessment of someone’s actions.
The truth is both harsh & beautiful. We must accept both of these aspects because…isn’t growth most often both harsh and beautiful? Praising God for sanctification! I don’t want to be spiritually stagnant, nor do I want my fellow brothers and sisters to be stagnant. I’m just trusting in Christ to make me more open and honest with people and to transform me into a girl whose intentions and actions are driven by the love of Jesus.
Nahum 1:3a - “The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, And the Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.”
God’s perfect timing never ceases to blow my mind. He always seems to unite my life’s circumstances with whatever passage I’m reading in His Word. Or He will connect my personal Bible reading with the sermon at Grace. Or He’ll just amazingly roll all of these things into one giant lesson & send it over my way—(Does that even make sense?) This is just one of the many fascinating ways that God demonstrates His sovereignty to me.
With death being the ever-present shadow in our lives, I feel as though God has been prompting me to be more open with people, more real. It is so easy to go to church on Sundays and be completely surface with the people that are there, as opposed to going deeper with individuals that you’ve never really had a chance to talk to.
Benji’s sermon (July 15th) was all about how Christians today are so uncomfortable with certain characteristics of God that they try to change Him or cover up those traits that they don’t like. For instance, the reality of God’s perfect justice means that there are people walking around today who are on their way to Hell. That scares me, makes me so sad. It makes me want to tell everyone about our filthiness as sinners & Jesus’ saving life.
The Gospel is a wonderful thing. It’s a baffling thing. It’s a terrible thing for those who don’t believe it. It’s a beautiful thing for those who do. Jesus absorbed every ounce of God’s wrath on that cross all because of my sin. THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ME. That is why I worship Him. I want to worship every ounce of Jesus’ character, the One who gave up everything so that I could gain everything. Jesus is everything.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of Christians who never really think about the sobering fact that had it not been for the sheer grace of God, they would be burning in Hell right now. I know this because I have to be reminded of this truth. It’s frustrating how quickly we forget. I constantly need to be humbled by God’s abounding grace in my own life.
In Matthew 16: 21-23, there is a brief conversation between Jesus and Peter. Jesus was talking to His disciples about His upcoming suffering, death (on a cross), & resurrection. Peter jumped in and said, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You,” and Jesus’ response was, “Get behind Me, Satan!” Now, maybe some of you have read these verses in the past and thought, “Gosh, that seems a little harsh for Jesus to say.” I know that I have had a hard time swallowing it at times. But first, think about the meaning behind Peter’s words. Peter’s response was motivated by thoughts such as, “Jesus, You don’t NEED to do that for ME,” “I’m not deserving of such shame or death. I don’t deserve Hell.” Christians, that is EXACTLY what Satan wants us to think! How can we truly appreciate our salvation if we don’t truly realize what we are being saved from? That’s why Jesus responded in the way that He did. Reactions like Peter’s completely diminish the importance of the cross because with the realization that Christ was born to die comes the realization that if He hadn’t, we-would-be-rotting-in-Hell-right-now. I don’t know of any truth that is more sobering than that.
Unbelievers need to hear this. Believers must be reminded. 1) I am overwhelmed with sheer gratitude to the Living Lord. That His death and resurrection allow me to die to myself & live in Him. I have been forgiven, and I am a new creature! 2) I am overwhelmed with the reality of Hell today. Although I rejoice in my salvation, my heart is still burdened for the lost, for those who have yet to taste God’s free gift and who are getting closer & closer to this wretched and REAL place. For these two reasons, I am reminded that Christians shouldn’t shy away from the reality of Hell. We should use it to warn unbelievers of the wrath to come, and we should use it to remind believers of the joy both now & to come.
I need to rely on the Spirit alone to give me the courage to talk to people about these things because no matter what people’s reactions may be, it’s all worth it when the truth is proclaimed and Jesus is exalted.
1) Enable me to continually examine myself before examining others.
2) Help me to depend on You alone to change me, to sanctify & cleanse me.
3) Constantly prompt me to rehearse the Gospel to myself.
4) Give me the courage to share the Gospel with others, believers & nonbelievers alike.
I love this little man.
Do you ever just stop & realize that you’re blessed beyond measure? That you’re constantly being drenched with God’s goodness & grace? That there is so much good in your life that you simply don’t deserve?
Yah, I felt like that today.
This movie is so good!
It’s about traveling all over the country & birding for a year. I want to do this!
“The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.” (Psalm 33:5b)
And I want to explore it.
Happy birthday to the smiley-est baby I have ever met! Carter, you have the sweetest little dimples, the dreamiest eyes, & the cutest little personality! Happy 1st birthday, baby boy!
“Now to Him Who is able to keep you without stumbling or slipping or falling, & to present [you] unblemished (blameless & faultless) before the presence of His glory in triumphant joy & exultation [with unspeakable, ecstatic delight]—
To the one only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory (splendor), majesty, might & dominion, & power & authority, before all time & now & forever (unto all the ages of eternity). Amen (so be it).”
Today I am thankful for this truth.