This morning I was reminded of a truth that I have long struggled with. Sharing here, because, perhaps I'm not alone.
Being critical of other people, feeling bitterness towards anyone else, and judging others only leads to harming ourselves. These actions don't hurt anyone else and can't we agree that they do not solve the issue at hand?
A couple of examples: judging politicians does nothing to the politician. Gossiping and judging a person at a restaurant based on what they are wearing--does nothing to that person. It doesn't make the person go home and dress the way you feel they should be dressing, right? These actions simply invite more harm, anger, hate into our own lives. So the question then is: why would we want to invite that into our minds, spirit and soul?
Also, those of faith are not to judge those without faith. That's God's job. He is responsible for them, not us. Why would we expect non-Christians to act like Christians? If we don't have a personal relationship with God, we aren't intentionally learning and seeking more of God, we aren't putting in daily practices or habits = we aren't going to act like God desires. Our hearts aren't going to be in line with His. In my opinion this is where those outside the church see us as haters, better than, holier than thou---because we are attempting to get them to live to a standard that they have never claimed to.
The Bible is pretty clear however in that we are to judge our brothers and sisters = those of faith. Jesus judged the Pharisees, "You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?" Pretty severe! The whole Sermon on the Mount is a series of condemnations of the evil teachings and practices of the Pharisees. Jesus told them that they should judge, but with a different standard than they had been using. He said, "Moses gave you the law, none of you keep the law...do not judge by appearances, but judge with the right judgment. (John 7:19). John the Baptist judged King Herod for marrying his brothers wife contrary to the law of God (Matthew 14:3-4). He was beheaded for it. Jesus said no one greater than John the Baptist (Matthew 11:11). There are pages and pages of correct judgment in the Bible. The Bible says in a few parts that we were to rebuke our brothers for sin and if they apologize we are to forgive them. Matthew 18:15 instructs to point out fault--keeping it between us and them and then that person will be thankful. And even here juding is to be done with grace and mercy. If I approach one of my fellow Christians to point out consistent or intentional sin I'm witnessing, the goal must be reconciliation back to God, not to shame them, to provoke them to anger, sadness, rage.
Loving those outside the church includes not judging them or holding them to a standard they never strive for or claimed to hold dearly. Holding Christian brothers and sisters accountable to God's word--rebuking them for sin, helps them and also ourselves. If we are going to judge, follow John 7:24 and judge correctly. Jesus has plainly revealed that those who abide in His ways will judge with righteous judgment.
Chris & Jenn live in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. They were high school sweethearts, marrying in 2001. They are parents to one son, Luke (born November 1999) and two loving pups: Miley & Elsie.