I spent the past two weeks at Cascade Christian Camp and Wi-Ne-Ma Christian Camp. I had an amazing two weeks! There were new friendships and new inside jokes (hey girl) to go along with them. Even though I had to drive 10 hours out to Cascade and then 2 hours to and from Wi-Ne-Ma, and even though I missed my wife for 2 weeks, it was a wonderful experience that I would gladly do again!
As I was meeting with my family group (small group) at Wi-Ne-Ma, we hit a rough topic:
My wife and I always joke that we are really good at judging because we are Christians: it’s our job. Joking aside, we are a judgmental group. The question is, should we be?
People often say “Don’t judge me,” or “only God can judge me,” or “who are you to judge.” The implications of these statements are that judging is bad.
Then I saw a post about Chik-fil-A, stating that supporters of the fried chicken sandwich fast food joint were disobeying Jesus’ very words “do not judge” by being judgmental homophobes. (I promise I will post about this phrase and homosexuality and Chik-fil-A at another time)
This all got me thinking: did Jesus really say "don’t judge?"
I mean, yes, He did. But did He mean it? Is that in context? If so, why? If not, why?
In Matthew 7:1, Jesus does clearly state, “Do not judge,” but the verse doesn’t end there. He goes on to say “so that you will not be judged, for in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”
That sounds much more like a call to be careful about how we judge. If I judge someone, I better make sure that I am clean of that sin too. Jesus is saying that we will be held to the same standard we hold others to. That is a dangerous standard to live up to for most of us Christians.
So, if Jesus says to be careful how we judge, that must mean we can judge! Hooray!
Wait. Paul wants to speak on the subject. He always has something to say. Usually a bit controversial. He’s a little Driscoll mixed with Bell.
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?
-1 Corinthians 5:12
Paul is saying here that judging people outside the church is not our job. (He may have taken that straight out of my last post.)
Jesus gives us guidelines on how to judge. Paul says who we can judge. Each other!
So, we are to be careful on how we judge, because the standard we judge by will be applied to us. And the standard should only be applied to fellow believers.
This applies to judging each others actions, which can be anything from bullying fellow believers to turning off entire groups of people to the message of Christ. Anything that in anti-kingdom is worthy of judgment. However...
Judgement of a persons heart ultimately belongs to God. Paul clears that up in Romans 14:12-13:
“So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.”
I conclude this:
We are to judge the actions of other Christians as it pertains to the furthering of the Kingdom. (I’m looking at you Westboro)
We are not to judge the heart of the person perpetrating the wrongs. (I guess I’m looking at you again, Westboro)