Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Stop judging everyone else... or stop calling yourselves "Christian"

Live Forward
Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear - but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart... - 1 Corinth 4:1-5
"Servants of Christ and stewards of God's mysteries." What a great definition of the life-charged life! In other words, our day-to-day job as Jesus-followers is, according to Paul, the responsibility to "Live Forward" in a positive way, following the teachings of Jesus and living in such a way that our lives tell the truth about God.
Judgment, most especially judging other people, is not a part of the Christian MO (modus operandi). That principle - both here and in many other places in New Testament teaching - is very clear.

"Religion"... "Politics"... same idea
YET, judging other people has become one of the most popular pastimes in North American culture. The people who seem most committed to judgment seem to be the Christians and the politicians. Put the two together (Christians with a political agenda), then you have judgement ramped up to a frenzy of self-righteousness. Add to that the popular idea that the phrase, "The Bible says" really means, "My interpretation of what the Bible says" - and judgment of others now supersedes the call to  be "Servants of Christ and Stewards of God's mysteries."
When someone - a politician or an "I'm right-you're wrong" Christian - consistently throws rocks at other people, it is a move designed as a distraction from the likelihood that the rock-thrower has little of value to offer. If judging others is the only way you can make your own ideas look good, then your ideas aren't worth my time.

Servants of Christ, however, tell the truth about the mysteries of God by living love out loud, in a positive and compelling demonstration of love. Here's an idea:
  • What if we all refused to vote for any politician with a message built around judging others?
  • What if we all refused to be part of religious bodies (I hesitate to call them "Christian") that define themselves by what they are against rather than telling the truth about the mysteries of God by living love out loud?
Listen to what Paul said about this in his letter to his friends at the church in Philippi:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. - Philippians 4:4-9
If there is anything that is excellent, and if there's anything worth getting excited about.... THINK ABOUT THESE THINGS!!!
In love, and because of love - DEREK

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