On Sunday mornings this summer, Heritage is exploring different myths commonly believed within Christianity during a “Mythbusters” teaching series. The week after each topic is taught from a biblical perspective, this blog will further dive into the issue at hand. We pray that this teaching series and the blog article that accompanies it will serve to be a resource as you reach your world for Christ.
By: Randi Peck
Photo: Heather Michele Photo
Our culture may be largely biblically illiterate, but there is one verse that most people can quote by memory—even if they’ve never stepped foot in a church: Judge not, that you not be judged. (Matt. 7:1)
This verse has become a shield, a means of deflecting and silencing disapproval.
“Aren’t Christians supposed to love?”
“He’s so judgmental.”
“Stop being so judgy.”
The problem is, our society perceives judgment and love as antonyms. And unfortunately, we, as Jesus-followers, have begun to follow suit.
But the Bible makes clear that God is both just andloving. Even as the justice system is not the opposite of mercy ministries; discipline is not counter to kindness; and confrontation is not contrary to grace… So our Lord is completely righteous and completely gracious. (Ps. 116:5) He is both Judge and Father, Ruler and Savior. These attributes can coexist, without compromising one another.
The cross.Through the cross, Christ showed that He is both just and the Justifier.(Rom. 3:26)
He paid for every wrongdoing, while sacrificing Himself in the ultimate act of love.
The implications of the cross are not that we no longer judge; on the contrary, it affects HOW we judge. In fact, through our redemption, we are called to become judges.
Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!(1 Cor. 6:3)
So then the questions become:How do we judge in love? How do we judge in light of the cross?
We point others to this righteous, forgiving King.
For the unbeliever, that means we simply and sincerely offer and display Christ’s redemption, through every available opportunity. For what do we have to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom we are to judge? (1 Cor. 5:12).
They need their lives to be seen and judged through the blood of forgiveness. Only then, can the Holy Spirit come and work in their hearts to convict them of specific sins and call them deeper into an enjoyment of Christ.
For our brothers and sisters, this means that we love them so deeply, so sacrificially, that we are willing to weep, pray, and confront when they are deviating from God’s best. We don’t confront them with a push to conform their external actions. We confront them with the good news, the lavish grace of Jesus, sufficient and available to bring them true satisfaction and freedom.
It is actually strange that we pit judgment against love. For we know the mother approaching her hard-hearted daughter in tears, would not confront apart from her great love. We get that the only reason a friend would sit down with his brother and call his sin out into the light, is because he cares for his soul.
Love is not blind… Infatuation is, sure. But God’s discernment is never clouded. He sees us clearly and cares deeply enough to change our direction when we’re headed for death.
So why has judgment been skewed in our minds as unloving? Because we’ve failed to judge in love. We’ve sped past the cross and started social media threads, ranting about the sins of others. We’ve stopped inviting the wayward teen to our home because we don’t want his rebellion to infect our children. We’ve isolated the divorced couple from our church rather than listening and loving and leading them to the gospel.
We have done a poor job of representing Christ’s glorious judgments. But when we realize we are “guilty of all of it,” we “so speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.” (James 2:10, 12)
We are led by grace onto our knees, into discernment and sometimes into confrontation.
They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness… The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.(Ps 145: 7, 17)