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Pointers along the way #477

Are we to judge, or not?
- Jacob Ninan

When the spirit of the times agrees with one of the teachings of the Bible, "Do not judge," something is wrong! When the people of the world want their freedom to do whatever they want and they don't want anyone to question them, Jesus' words really become handy (Mt.7:1). If we Christians oblige meekly thinking that we are being loving, they have got us fooled!

God is love. He has compassion on everyone who has fallen. He does not want any to perish. But He is holy too. He hates sin and will not hesitate to judge anyone who would not repent. Why then do we, His children, only want to be loving and nice to everyone? Don't we want to become like our Father in every aspect of His character?

The truth is that we don't want to be rejected by the people around us. They will appreciate all the sacrifices we make to serve them. But they will not tolerate any hint from our side that anything they do is wrong. We dare not use the word 'sin' on them if we want a nice reputation! But then our salt is losing its flavour and our light becoming dim.

If we stand with God and proclaim the truth and then some people's behaviour is discovered to be sin is that judging them? In that case Jesus was very judgmental, so much so that they got mad with Him and killed Him. But He wasn't judgmental at all, in reality, because He had come to save and not to judge (Jn.12:47). It was just that His life, words and action were so holy that it convicted them of their sins (Jn.3:19,20). The mistake we make is that by trying to be non-judgmental and showing love and mercy instead we have limited God's witness to the world.

In order to avoid offending people we would hesitate to say that Jesus is the only way to God (Jn.14:6;Ac.4:12), and talk about 'God' without mentioning the name of Jesus. In this way we omit informing the people that they ought to get in line with Jesus giving up all other gods. We talk about loving and accepting sinners without making them feel guilty (another word the world hates), forgetting that it is guilt that would lead them to repentance and salvation (2Co.7:10). We don't want to tell anyone, do we, that their lifestyle is going to lead them to hell unless they repent, and tell them that Jesus has actually come for them to save them from their sins.

It is not just that our witness suffers, but our own attitude to sin is getting cooled down in the process. When we see sin around us if we don't allow ourselves to think and speak about its sinfulness but try to excuse the 'poor' sinners and accept them, we wouldn't be able to hate that sin in our own heart. It is another thing altogether to call sin by its name and hate it, but feel sorry for the ones who are caught in it. Then our accepting those people will not include tolerating their sin as something acceptable. But we would want them to be saved.

'Judge not' means not to sit in judgment over others looking down on them. We are alive only because of grace.


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