In our culture of tolerance, what positions do we take as Christians?
How do we continue to be faithful to God’s call, to speak the truth in love- when societal pressure argues that everything is permissible and dare we say- beneficial?
Today at church, we talked about Matthew 7- a famous (infamous?) Scripture passage that is often taken out of context.
1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “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? 4 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? 5 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.
6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
I have had several people over the years, and recently someone online quote me Matthew 7:1. Judge not, lest you be judged.
What does this mean? Jesus is teaching in this passage- and I don’t think that He is telling us to suspend all judgment- could we even do that? We make judgments every day.
Here are some definitions of judge:
- an authority who is able to estimate worth or quality
- a public official authorized to decide questions bought before a court of justice
- form an opinion of or pass judgment on
- determine the result of (a competition)
- judge tentatively or form an estimate of (quantities or time)
- pronounce judgment on
- put on trial or hear a case and sit as the judge at the trial of
We make decisions about what to eat for breakfast, how to spend our time, we make moral judgments constantly- deciding whether we feel something is acceptable or not. How do we judge what is right or good? As Christians, we have the Bible as our standard. And we are supposed to judge, or make judgments, based on what the Bible tells us is right, and what is sinful or wrong.
What measure are we using? See verse two- if we are using the measure of the Bible- then that same measure will be used on us. We must be careful in passing judgment on others- and watch out for hypocrisy- making sure that we are not more concerned with the sins of others than we are about being watchful for sin in our own lives.
But we need each other’s help. Sometimes we are not aware of the sin in our own lives– and we need someone to come alongside us in love and confront us with God’s truth. We do this in humility and love.
We also need to be careful of judging harshly those who don’t know God. We are to share the gospel with everyone we meet and lovingly encourage them to accept the gift of forgiveness and grace the Lord offers- but we are not to judge them by the same standards as those in the church who have already accepted Christ.
Yet, sometimes I think we get it backwards. We are much more harsh and judgmental of those outside the church, and seem reluctant- or unwilling even- to come alongside a brother or sister in the church and confront them in love.
I pray that we would be willing to confront each other in love- to help each other as we strive to be obedient to what Scripture teaches, and to use the Bible as the standard- to spur one another on to love and good deeds (Heb 10:24).
My husband has brought up this quote several times when we have talked about the movement of our culture toward tolerance.
“Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.” G. K. Chesterton
Let us hold tight to our convictions– never forgetting all that Jesus sacrificed to take the penalty for our sins. Let us remember the mercy and compassion that God has shown us so that we are gracious and compassionate to each other.
I pray for discernment for us that we may reach our friends and neighbors with the love of Christ- and be bold in our witness for Him.