My good friend Vicki posted this verse on my facebook the other day. “Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love” Eph. 4.2 NLT.
I felt it was an appropriate way to start today. I should warn you. If you comment on my blog be prepared to be blogged about. I won’t blog about you, but I might be sparked by your insight and blog about the thoughts you stirred. Today is one of those days. A comment was left regarding judgment and if we judge Christians too much, or too harshly.
I was driving home today behind a Police car. He changed lanes which meant I would pull up to him at the light we were about to stop at. In my rearview mirror I noticed another Police car driving up very fast behind the other police car. I had originally thought that this Police car was reacting to a call. I soon realize he was trying to catch up to his friend in car 122. For some reason I remember the car ID.
As we sat at the light I noticed they were talking to each other on their radios. They seemed to be enjoying themselves. As we started driving up the street the first car I noticed turned into my lane and the other car speed up beside it. They both slowed down (blocking both lanes) and rolled their windows down. The car that was originally behind the first car was now in the left lane, swerving and driving strange while talking to the other car.
This got me thinking about the comment on judging Christians too harshly. See, I’ve been pulled over before. Shocker right? The thing I get pulled over for the most (not that I’m constantly getting pulled over) is not stopping at a stop sign. See I have a belief that there is no need for stop signs. I believe the world could function with only yields. There is nothing more painful to me (maybe house guests) than having to stop at a stop sign when no other cars are there. Apparently the cop car felt the same way. At least his actions showed that.
So, as a person that has been told by the cops that I must stop at stop signs it was a little disconcerting to see a cop car not do the same. Did I know his intentions? No. So can I judge the action of this car? No. However, as someone in the position to judge like the Police I found it odd that they didn’t follow the same rules they have put out for me.
As Christians we are all to often these Police cars. We have a belief system we subscribe to. We wear our uniforms proudly and we are all to often quick to point out other’s failures, lack of morals and people’s need for Christ. I wonder what they see? Do they see someone pointing out failures while ignoring their own?
You have to understand that I definitely believe that Christians are often lacking love. Too harsh with other Christians and too harsh with people that do not subscribe to the same beliefs as us. Remember Michael Guglielmucci? The church world exploded when it was revealed that he was a liar! Thank God I have never lied. This is a great example of when we have been too judgmental with our selves and our family in Christ. Remember the verse in Ephesians at the beginning?
James 3 talks about teachers and being judged. The truth is I think there is a principle in their that applies to every Christian. See we are all teachers, and all examples of Christ to those that don’t follow him. So we can expect that when we don’t stop at stop signs, our pupils will say “This guy teaches one thing but does another.” It’s logical for them to then assume that if our faith isn’t important enough to follow ourselves it can’t be that important for them.
Now hold on for a second. i am not saying we need to be perfect. I am simply saying that reality shows that we have joined a team with higher standards than others.
Now let me get to the applicable part. Judgement is going to be everywhere. The problem is, at least I believe anyway that we have turned judgment into something it doesn’t need to be. Judgement does not need to be personal. And this is where love comes in! See judgement without love is dangerous. It’s like going up to a stranger to tell them that you think their hair cut is very bad. The truth is you are saying a simple fact. The hair cut you have is bad. Either the cut is uneven or the color is orange etc. You are not saying that person is a horrible person with no taste. You are simply stating a fact. However because there is no relationship involved the fact becomes a personal attack.
We often judge without love. My son is a very social kid. He’s 4 now which means he’s learning how to interact socially. He punches sometimes and pushes as most kids do. People looking from the outside would probably assume my boy is a bad person. He is not. He is a great kid with an amazing heart. He just does some bad things. I could say the same about myself. Does my sin make me bad? I don’t think so, but the sin I do is bad.
If my friend cheats on his wife and I tell him that is a bad thing to do I believe if I show him love and grace and judge his sin in love he will see that his sin is wrong. He will also understand that I love him and believe that he is a great guy.
So do we judge ourselves too harshly? I do think so. I think we have subscribed to a standard that is pretty tough. However I will say we judge without love to often. Judge sin’s friends not the person. Remember we judge our own intentions. We know we are good people usually. When Michael came out as a liar my heart broke for him and his family. I suspect he is a great guy with many struggles. Was his sin wrong yes. Is he a horrible person, I doubt it.
Let’s love judge. Remember the verse in Ephesians my friend posted. I’m going to leave you with an interesting thing Jesus once said. “You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one.” John 8.15
Is Christ really our example? And are we being good examples? I have to say I don’t expect us to be perfect. I expect us to be honest. Sure the world expects us to be perfect, but I think that’s because we’ve told them we are. I don’t think the cop driving ridiculously would have been a big deal if the last time I got pulled over the cop said, “Hey, we are all human and all make mistakes. Try to better next time.” Instead he said you broke the rules and will pay. He didn’t really but it was better for dramatic effect. 🙂 But how often do we say you will pay? Or in a recent example have we said Ghandi’s in hell? Is he? He didn’t do “this” (say whatever this is) so he’s gonna pay. He might, but I have no idea what he and God had for a relationship. And I suspect that I should have the same respect to every Christian on earth as I really don’t know where they are at. I can just love them.
As the Beatles said. “All we need is love”. I know I need to do it more. I hope this note finds you well friends. I hope to post about the Holy Spirit soon.