Tuesday, February 1, 2011

You're judging me!

The farther our society moves away from the acceptance of absolute values the more it perceives those who hold to absolutes to be curmudgeons and self-righteous. So, whenever an absolutist, like a Christian reacts negatively to what his/her values hold to be immoral, those whose moral beliefs are dictated by culture and time are offended. "How can you dare to judge me?"

The Bible is clear regarding judgments.

First, Christians are not to be judgmental of non-Christians. This is where so many, especially those in "fundamentalist" circles fail. - 1 Corinthians 5:12

Second, Christians are to hold one another in the church accountable for the lives we live. That requires making judgments based on the Scriptures. You can't/won't tell me that the lie I just told is wrong if you don't believe it to be so. And to do so requires a judgment to be made. - 1 Corinthians 5:13

Third, because a Christian or a moral absolutist believes there are rights and wrongs does not mean they are judging those with different beliefs. The judging is done by the absolutes and the creator of them. - 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Here are a few theoretical scenarios.
Scenario 1
I want to join your church. I work as a prostitute, but I believe in God.

Our standard of morality is the Bible. It says that your lifestyle/occupation is sin. Are you willing to turn away from that life and embrace a life of following Jesus?

No. I do what I have to do to survive. Are you judging me?

The answer is "Yes". If you claim to believe then you place yourself in the position of behaving as though you do. And it is a judgment necessary to the health of the church.

Scenario 2
I work as a prostitute. Can I come to your church?

Of course you can. Anyone and everyone is welcome to attend our church.

Will people judge me as unfit if I show up on Sunday?

If they do then they aren't behaving like Christians.

Is that judgmental? No. We can be welcoming but not affirming. We can accept the person without accepting the lifestyle.

Scenario 3
I'm a prostitute. Can I come to your church on Sunday?

No. We don't allow your type in our church.

Is that judgmental? Yes, and it is inappropriate judgmentalism.

Scenario 4
Would you come with me to church this Sunday?

I'm a prostitute and no, I won't come to your church because I hear you people think what I do is wrong. You're a bunch of judgmental hypocrites.

I'm sorry you feel that way. Anyone is welcome to attend our church.

Who made the judgment there?

It's become more obvious for Christians that if we hold to an absolute standard of morality we are out of step with much of the world. In fact, we are considered fools for doing so. And as a result we should expect to be judged as harsh, uncaring, unloving and without grace by those who have a different standard. Be prepared to be misunderstood and even hated.

But we ultimately know that the judgment that truly carries weight isn't the opinion of any mortal. One day every Christian will stand before Christ and give an account of how he/she fulfilled the calling of God.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That was a great illustration, I must say! I'm going to remember that one. Thanks.