Heart Condition

Judge Not…

“We plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.” 2 Corinthians 6:1

As often as I peruse the ‘net, the number of times I see judgment about others outnumbers the stars in the sky. Whether it’s conservative or liberal, religious or non-religious, finger-pointing has risen to an art form.

As Christians, do we have the right to call others out on sin? Well, Jesus did, didn’t he?

Yes, he did – but we’re not Jesus! Jesus is God. You and I are not God!

Jesus never told us to call one another out. He told us to meet privately with our own brothers and sisters in Christ, and handle it within the church body. He never told us to admonish anyone outside the body of believers. Let’s face it, we have our own sins to deal with.

Jesus gave us two warnings and two commands.

Two Warnings

Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:20)  Jesus tells us that it is more important to love in our hearts and be merciful in our actions than to hold onto law and dish out judgment.

Judge not, lest you be judged. (Matthew 7:1; John 8:7)  Jesus warns us that in our judging, we forget about the grace God bestows on us. We forget to offer that grace to others, refusing to see past our perception of them to their real stories, to their real hearts.

Two Commands

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind.

The second is like the first; love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and prophets are based on these two. Matthew 22:37-40

Jesus reminds us these are the most important commandments; if he tells us this, who are we to say or act otherwise?

A former pastor at my church, Matt VanCleave, who has moved on to a church of his own (Blue Oaks Church),  once spoke about the difference between “balcony people” and “basement people.” Balcony people support you, engage with you, and uplift you. Basement people put you down, separate from you and judge you. I think Jesus was a balcony person. And I much prefer to be one, too.

As I was writing this blog about loving and being uplifting, a heartening fellow blogger, Shaun Gibson from Edinburgh, Scotland, sent me a comment on one of my posts with this Six-award, (see below) asking me to accept and pass it forward. How could I say, “no?”

Shaun is incredibly courageous. He’s a dad of two with a gorgeous woman in his life and lives with immense pain every day…yet he moves forward, gives praise and encouragement, and walks with God because he’s a hero to those two kids.

So to you, Shaun Gibson, @ Looking for Reasoning to a Complicated World , my courageous, encouraging and loving friend, whose sign-off is more love, less hate: Love and prayers from 5,000 miles away, for this 6-Award. I humbly accept and pay it forward.

As part of the rules of accepting the award, I promised to respond to the simple questions below, and nominate ten others. The nominations are here: My responses are below because the nominations deserve more attention than I:

Here are my 10 nominations for this 6-Award, beginning with my former pastor, Matt VanCleave. Thank you to these authentic, uplifting, Spirit-led, balcony people. I pray you, too, will accept and pass it forward:

  1. Matt VanCleave @ http://www.mattvancleave.com/
  2. Patrick Lencioni @ http://www.tablegroup.com/pat/
  3. Anita Davis Sullivan @ anitadavissullivan.com
  4. Bullying Prevention @ terkinn.wordpress.com/
  5. Tric @ http://mythoughtsonapage.com
  6. John Fletcher @ www.ourpersonaljourney.wordpress.com
  7. Scottish mum @ http://scottishmomus.wordpress.com/
  8. Rick Henderson @ http://churchismessy.com/
  9. Steve Rebus @ http://steverebus.com/
  10. Adeline Oh Velarde @ http://adelineohvelarde.wordpress.com/

Questions to Answer:

Favorite colour? – Green  (or new life)
Favorite animal? –  Birds in the wild (they awaken me every morning)
Favorite number?  – 7 (biblical completion)
Favorite nonalcoholic drink?  –  Strong coffee w/ lotsa flavored, non-dairy creamer
Favorite alcoholic drink? – Baileys Irish Cream  (especially in my coffee)
Facebook or Twitter? – Twitter (helps me write succinctly)
My Passions? – Writing and coffee (see above!)
Giving or Receiving Gifts? – Giving – it delights me!

Thank you, Shaun!

Thank you, Shaun!

17 comments

  1. I agree. Finger pointing is not our business. It’s especially hard for Christians though since we ought to be wiser and more knowledgeable, it just becomes instinct sometimes to be critical. And it’s arguable that many Christians are the most critical people even though we can all be hypocrites too. Ugh…my sister has neglected her faith because the finger pointing was such a turn off to her. It’s so important for us to keep a right standing relationship with Him so we can be better listeners, and better doers and point them to Christ instead. Great post. 🙂 🙂

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    1. As Jesus said, “Take the log out of your own eye before you reach for the speck in your friend’s eye.” Thanks, and I hope your sister finds her own relationship with Him without the intervention of “good Christians!” 😉

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  2. This post is very close to my heart and is something I often remind people. I am from a Christian background and even worked for the church for a number of years. My main reason for leaving was the narrow-minded judgemental attitudes that can exist within the Christian church.

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    1. Thank you, Cat. It’s my hope to remind people that some of us are actual followers of Jesus; not all Christians blindly follow rules handed to them by pharisees.

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  3. Honored to be included, and especially so now that I’ve read your post and see how lovely you tied it all in. I’ll be thinking about how to continue it on.

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  4. Thank you for this beautiful reminder of thinking VERY carefully before opening our mouths lest the words come out wrong 😦 That is the problem with online communication is it not? The tone and expression can be lost in translation. Nice to have come across your site.

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    1. Thank you back! I think when we give opinion we sometimes rush to judgment. It’s important to state our opinions, but let’s do it with love and grace, sharing mutual dignity. Glad you’re on Project O…and I don’t think your writing is idiot at all. 😉

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      1. Oh words can become twisted so easily. I am learning QUICKLY (being new to the virtual world of chats and comments) that people do NOT SEE my facial expressions/nor my witness/ nor anything about me – except MY WORDS. I kick myself sometimes forgetting that EVEN in the REAL world our words can be unrepresentative.
        I will learn on here how to hone them to portray the grace of which you speak 😉
        I am convinced this is the lesson I need to learn in having access to blogging: to pause and draw in the sand – as my mind connects ALWAYS to where it should.
        Thank you so much for the compliment on my writing too 😀

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      2. Your writing visits the heart. Fruit takes practice; it’s a journey, as I am learning every day. I’m following you, too. You’re welcome.

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      3. Thank you 🙂 I have written much. I think you would my my other site more than this new one 😉 Yes it does take time – we never stop growing and learning.

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      4. I’d love to see your other site as well. Learning is a choice; I’m glad to have learned from you.

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      5. Irene!!! We need you over at OM’s Poor lad being ground down. I hope I have said the right things to encourage his voice to be heard :/

        What on earth did you learn from ME?? Goodness me.

        My other site is linked on my gravatar if you click on my profile picture when you feel like a peep 😀

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      6. I’ll visit and add as appropriate. And will see you on the other side. Thanks!

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      7. You are just WAY wiser with your words.

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      8. You’re right, Sue. Love The Unknown. First one alone brought me to tears. Have you thought about bringing it over to WordPress? My first blog was on Blogspot, too. Thank you so much for sharing it with me. I’m following.

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  5. I am totally honored and accept your offering with grace and sincerity…god bless….lotsa luv

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