Copyright© 2013 πίστις
Other Believers are the most judgmental and critical people I know. Offended yet? Then do not read any further.
I will say that being so quick to judge does not apply to all Believers, some are not this way. Yet many of us are unfortunately very quick to judge and in an unbiblical way. Many are as well quick to jump on the actions of others and be critical of them.
Read this excerpt from an article I found, it’s an eye opener:
This past Thursday evening, I was reading a discipleship book to my children. At the end of each chapter there are discussion questions. One question was: “What negative characteristic turns people off about Christians?” As I posed this question to my children my boys responded by saying, “When Christians judge other people.” WOW! Honestly, I was taken aback by this response because my boys are eleven and nine. I wondered, “How could they know this so early in their Christian maturity?” I concluded that it is an intuitive. Even young Christians can sniff out inappropriate judgment.
It goes without saying that unbelievers pounce all over Christian hypocrisy and judgment. A Hindu professor once found out that a man in his class was a Christian. The professor said to this student, “If you Christians were like Jesus Christ, India would be at your feet tomorrow.” A learned Muslim who recently became a Christian said, “If Christians were truly Christians—like Christ—there would be no Islam.”1 A USA Today poll shows 72% of unchurched Americans agree that a God exists, but the same percentage says, “the church is full of hypocrites.” 44% say Christians get on their nerves.2 People flat-out don’t like Christians. Yet, when is the last time you heard someone say, “Man, Jews, Muslims, or Buddhists get on my nerves!” It doesn’t happen, does it? People show respect and honor to these religions. Now it’s easy to object, “This just isn’t fair. The media has turned Christians into cultural punching bags.” Yet, we must ask, “Have we brought some of this pain upon ourselves?” If we’re honest and humble, we would probably have to say, “Yes, guilty as charged.” Read the full article here: Lord, Save Me From Your Followers!
Have you ever been on the receiving end of this type of judgment or criticism? It hurts…and makes one think twice about trusting others. The one place, the body of Christ where this should not be…it is rampant. It is also readily apparent to the outside world that “Christians” tend to shoot their own wounded…this is disgraceful.
I find it ironic that many people in the secular world despite not knowing Jesus have a better attitude and are more willing to display understanding and forgiveness than many of my own brothers and sisters in the Lord. Far too many Believers seem to look on forgiveness as condoning another’s actions; this could not be further from the truth. Forgiveness means to forgive, it does not mean that you condone the actions of another.
Evangelism is very important, one of the most important things in the Church today after worship and glorification of the Lord.
Yet I see an even more urgent need in today’s Church; Believers need to stop being so judgmental of one another and be much quicker to forgive and to understand…not to mention help one another. There is this misguided notion in today’s Church of guilt by association. Rather than help a fellow brother or sister, many will walk away so as not to look guilty themselves. This is of course ridiculous…whom did Jesus spend so much time with? Who was it that rejected Christ Himself and was lovingly restored?
This may upset some; today’s Church is beset by legalism. Rules and the observation of them are more important that people are. Again…I’m NOT saying all are this way, but many are. This is not to say that we in the Church should condone the sins of others, but at the same time what value is there in turning our collective back on someone caught in a sin? Who among us has not sinned?
This is a Church-wide problem and one that is steadfastly denied by many. Not many will stand up and say anything about it; instead it is swept under the rug and ignored. The average (I mean no insult here) Joe will simply leave the Church and not come back. That of course is just another mark against that person.
I mentioned previously the importance of evangelism, while this is an important need and commanded by the Lord Himself…of even more importance is the how the outside world views the Church. How can I say this you might be thinking; if the secular world views Believers (the Church) as a bunch of back-biting, judgmental, “throw their own to the wolves” kind of people…then when we try to evangelize them why on earth would they want to join us? Would you want to?
Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that you be not judged This is one of the most misunderstood verses in the Bible by both the secular world and Believers as well. It does not mean to never judge, we are told by Christ Himself to make judgments. The problem is not in Believers making a judgment it is how that judgment is made.
John 7:24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment
John 8:7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”
Many Believers when making judgments fall into error as in John 8:7…instead of judging the actions of another brother or sister, they judge that person’s actions and they judge the person as well. This is throwing stones…we are to judge a brother or sisters actions, we are not to judge the person. Judging the action only is a righteous judgment. The other part of a righteous judgment is judging by God’s standards, not our own. This refers back to Matthew 7:1-2, in the same way you judge others, so shall you be judged by Christ Himself…scary thought is it not? Be careful how you judge.
1 Samuel 16:7 …For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
No Believer should judge another person…we do not know the heart of that individual and why they did what they did. Only the Lord knows that. People do tend to look at the outward appearance or the action itself. Do you know what that person has been through? The pain they have suffered? The trials they have gone through? You may think you do…you do not.
How about the cross-dresser, the homeless man, or the one who reeks of alcohol? Many would like to escort these people to the door. Are they not supposed to be treated with respect and shown the love of Christ? How are they to possibly come to know the Lord if they are shunned because they are not in their Sunday best? We maybe will speak to these people on the street, but please do not show up in our churches because you are not welcome. Really? Is this loving your neighbor as yourself?
How many Believers do you suppose come to church in their Sunday best; both in clothing and attitude…afraid to ever confide in anyone the truth of what is in their lives for fear of being ostracized from the very people that should help them? It is not only the secular world that sees what goes on in the Church…many IN the church see it as well.
In this time of the Church being fractured in so many ways; gay pastors, the teaching of Chrislam, accepting many other religions views of reaching heaven apart from Christ as legitimate, “tickle my ears” teaching…unity in the body of Christ should be of utmost importance.
Love your neighbor as yourself, mercy trumps judgment.