Monday 22 February 2016

Judge vs. Judge Not – Which Is It? - Frank Viola

Original Source article here    Extract courtesy of Frank Viola. All copying rights see his site.
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Here in the USA we are in the midst of another run for the presidency where a small number of people have lost their minds. Scratch that. I mean, where a small number of people have decided to run for the highest office in the land.

Not a few of us are experiencing regular bouts of deja moo whenever we turn on the news and hear the politicians pontificate. (Deja moo = the acute feeling that you’ve heard this bull before.)

Anyways, amid the sharp elbowing, personal deriding, eye-popping broadsides, and gratuitous insults, this year’s bare-knuckled, cut-and-thrust campaign is marked by virtually all of the candidates judging one another.

In that regard, it’s not terribly dissimilar to the “Christian” community on social media where the knives come out on a daily basis causing no small blood-letting.

This year’s political knife-fight got me thinking about the issue of judging others.

Herein lies a thorny biblical paradox. On the one hand, the New Testament sternly warns us to “judge not.” At the same time, it happily exhorts us to “judge.”

So what’s the deal?

As I’ve argued elsewhere, whenever you see an apparent contradiction in the Bible, draw a distinction.

In this case, there are two types of judging.

Let’s begin with the first type. The one that Scripture condemns.

Type 1: Judging an individual’s heart-motives which is directly tied to condemning them.

This is the kind of judging that Jesus, Paul, and James sharply denounce. It’s the judgment of the heart. It’s where a mere mortal usurps God’s position, critically looks down on the failures of others (real or alleged) and imputes dark motives to their hearts. It also applies to the act of judging a person when you yourself are guilty of the same (or similar) practices.

(At the end of this article, I’ve listed the key texts that condemn this type of judging.)

I’ve met many judgmental Christians in my lifetime. Perhaps you have too. The self-righteous, highly-critical spirit that exudes from them is nauseating. Such people anoint themselves to be inquisitors, especially toward people they barely know. Their compass is set to think the worst of others, and they seem to relish condemning.

Tragically, these individuals aren’t in touch with the fact that Jesus Christ doesn’t stand with them. And in every case where I’ve seen this kind of judging take place, the person dishing out the judgments ends up being chastised by the Lord. Sometimes in pretty sober ways.

Jesus made clear that this kind of judging has a way of bouncing back on those who exercise it (Matthew 7:2).

Fact: highly judgmental “Christians” are almost always exposed to have corrupt characters. Usually the things such people condemn the most loudly in others end up being the very things they themselves practice — or struggle with — in secret.

As I’ve pointed out before, the piece of saw dust that the judgmental person detects in her brother’s eye has come from the telephone pole in her own. Consequently, the judgmental person is projecting what’s in her own heart onto others and condemning herself in the process (see Matthew 7:3-4).

Regrettably, this type of judging goes on constantly in Christian circles as professing followers of Jesus unsheathe their swords, impute bad motives to others, climb on God’s throne, and act like holy inquisitors.

With respect to this kind of......... (Read the rest of the article here and all the Bible passages )

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