I alternate my listening between our local news talk station (Rush Limbaugh, Neal Boortz, Sean Hannity) and ESPN radio (Mike and Mike, Colin Cowherd, Dan Patrick). When the news gets boring – like when Boortz gets to talking about flying his plane – I switch to sports. When the sports news gets boring – for me, pretty much anything other than NFL football – I turn to the news.
I was listening to ESPN radio the other day, and the host was blasting “judgmental Christians”. He went on to say, “I know the teachings of Jesus, and he said that we’re not to judge other people.”
Now, I’m a pretty even-tempered guy, but when a schlock-jock who doesn’t know what he’s talking about starts expositing the scriptures, I get riled up.
I would like to challenge the notion that Jesus’ number-one-message was, “Don’t judge.” That’s simply not what he was talking about. In fact, he encourages us to judge! Let’s take a look.
Mat 7:1 NLT
(1) “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.
This is the little verse that causes so much confusion. If we were to stop with this verse, we could say that we are to leave well enough alone and go on with our non-judging self. But, in order to understand a verse of scripture, you have to examine the context – that is, the relationship of that one verse to the others around it.
Ignoring the context and building a world view around one isolated verse is like ignoring the whole recipe and trying to build a cake from just 2 cups of flour.
When this verse is read in context, it becomes clear that Jesus is not condemning making judgments – he’s condemning hypocrisy.
Mat 7:3 NLT
(3) “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?
This hypocrisy is what is so obnoxious to God. And this is really what the world objects to as well. In the eyes of many, the church has done a pretty poor job maintaining its own integrity, and, consequently, has lost the moral authority it once had.
Finally, Jesus actually encourages Christians to judge with the proper attitude:
Mat 7:5 NLT
(5) Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
Jesus doesn’t have a problem with us judging the speck in a friend’s eye as long as we’ve dealt with the log in our own. The truth is, a word of correction given by the right person, at the right time, and in the right manner, can be a voice of guidance for someone who desperately needs it.
Kip Keith is a Christian writer, speaker, and musician with over 20 years in the ministry. He is the Youth Pastor at Cornerstone Church of the Roanoke Valley. Contact him to speak at your next event.http://www.theemptyhole.highpowersites.com