Thursday, February 08, 2007

Do you think God tells us to judge others?

I thought I'd tackle Romans 2:1-16, since it seems like a lot of people are really into this trend of judging others.

Paul starts right off the bat in the first verse in this letter to the Romans...

Romans 2:1 "You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things."

It's pretty cut and dry. It goes back to what Jesus said in Matthew 7:3-5 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

We can't judge others if we are stained with sin. We can judge actions, and when we do, we are telling ourselves "this is not something I should do!" We can't pass judgement on other people, tho. That is God's job. We fall into sin when we put ourselves in God's place. Paul explains this in the next few verses.

Romans 2:2-4 Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?

Paul is saying 'Look, God is gonna judge these people! But, you can't do his job!' What about verse 4? God is kind, tolerance and patient, and we are to follow that example. It is God's mercy that leads us to salvation. When we judge others, we are not showing them mercy. They will not repent because of bashing or harsh words. If we want to lead people to Christ, we need to give them the same mercy he does. When we judge harshly, and spew forth 'the bible tells me to judge you and your sin!', we are insulting God and his gift of mercy towards us!

What happens to Christians who judge and bash? Paul explains that, too

Romans 2:5-8 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God "will give to each person according to what he has done." To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.

Paul is clearly saying 'you are pissing God off when you judge others and insult his gift of mercy!' Yes, God will punish those who are self-seeking, and who reject the truth and follow evil. Do you think Paul is talking about the 'judged sinners' in those verses? Nope. Paul is talking about those who judge others... they are self-seeking, meaning that they are glorifying themselves and not God... and they are rejecting the truth... which is that God is all about mercy. It is an evil heart that makes someone think they are above God. Paul says there will be wrath and anger. This could apply to God's wrath and anger... but think about one thing: when you damn another person, things get ugly. There is wrath and anger between you and the person you accuse. Where is God's gift of mercy??? It's been lost.

Paul adds in the next verses...

Romans 2:9-11 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.

Pretty cut and dry. And nope, God doesn't show favoritism... Jew and Gentile alike are held the same. Paul continues....

Romans 2:12All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.

That's also pretty basic. It applies to sinner and saints alike... saved and unsaved... Jew and Gentile... male and female... Christian or not Christian.

Paul explains it even more sternly...

Romans 2:13-16 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

Paul is verbally spanking the early church! Knowing clobber and bash verses from the bible is not going to get your sorry butt into heaven. If you don't walk your talk, you are pretty dead in the law... a Pharisee who sits around saying 'look how holy I am because I know the law!!!' If Gentiles could gain God's grace by their actions, then who were the early Christian Jews to judge them for not being born Jewish? Actions speak louder than words, as far as God is concerned.

Now, the letter to the Romans was Paul's way of barking at the early church there to stop bashing the poor Gentiles and Jews who did not believe. He was saying 'Hey, why would anyone want to follow Jesus when his followers are making asses of themselves by judging everything based on what they think is God's truth???' But, his lesson to the church in Rome can be applied to all Christians. We can't judge someone as sinners just because our personal belief is that wine is of the devil. We can't damn them because our personal belief is that being gay is a sin. We can't harass them just because our personal belief is that children born out of wedlock are manifestations of antichrists. Our personal beliefs don't matter when it comes to what God says. All we're doing when we judge others is attacking them for not fitting our personal doctrine. That's why it's important to leave the judgement up to God.


Millie's Inspirations said...

It is interesting to read about judging in the Bible. Chat rooms are a tough format, because everyone seems to judge everyone.

I think the remarkable thing about the disciples, in following Jesus example is that they "CARED ENOUGH ABOUT THE LOST SOULS" to tell them the gospel. That is the great commission, the last thing Jesus told us to do. To go into all the world and tell every living creature the good news of Jesus Christ.

If we see someone who is lost and we do not lead them we are then at fault for not caring for their soul. No greater love than to lay down our life for someone, or our heart, by saying God loves you and sent his son to die for you, and we all are sinners and need to repent and accept Jesus forgiveness and salvation.

Loving someone enough to tell them the truth, prayerfully, would also include discretion, wisdom, and compassionate love.

This only comes by a servants heart, one turned towards God, not towards prideful, selfish pursuits.

This takes daily prayer.

You are not doing people a favor spiritually by avoiding the accountability we all must feel with each other as the body of Christ, and as believers reaching out to others.

If our Gospel be hid.. it is hid to those who are lost.