Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Principles of Judging Part 4

After an extended hiatus, today we return to the principles of judging, and hopefully will finish out this series before I have to go anywhere, or another topic grips my heart wherein I can’t concentrate on anything else.

Thus far we’ve covered the introduction to the principles of judging, detailing the scriptures that allow us to judge, those that prohibit us from judging, as well as whom, from a biblical standpoint is allowed to judge.

Today we continue our journey, and as such we will begin discussing specificities concerning judging, starting with what we are not to judge. I realize most would have preferred that I begin with what we can judge, or what we ought to judge, because well, we’d be really good at it, but just as a forewarning to all those who are rubbing their hands in anticipation of judging others, beware the fact that God will judge the judges as to whether or not their judgments were righteous and just. There are always consequences to judging, this is why we must know what and when to judge as well as what not to judge, because in the end the great Judge, will evaluate every judgment that we’ve made, and every idle word that we’ve spoken.

So what is it that we ought not to judge?

The first thing we ought not to judge, or pass sentence on is someone’s eternity. I’m not referring to those who have never received Christ as Lord and Savior, I’m referring to those who differ with us on some theological point, and we’re so quick to sentence them to the deepest bowels of hell we get whiplash from it. I’ve seen allot of things in my twenty four years of ministry, and this is one of the things that I haven’t gotten used to after all this time. I’ve met more than my share of calloused individuals who cling to their doctrine with such force, that anyone and everyone that happens to disagree is certain to be hell bound.

Once again, I’m not referring to the cornerstones of the faith, such as Jesus being the Son of God, Jesus dying for our sins, or Jesus rising the third day, but things like whether or not we should attend Sunday service, or whether we should quote exclusively from the King James Bible. I had someone sentence not only me, but the entire ministry to hell because I read out of the New King James Bible. Are there versions of the Bible that should be avoided? Yes, there are! Are all versions of the Bible other than the King James heresy of the highest order? No they are not!

We quibble over these things, and our quibbles get so heated, that suddenly we are judge, jury and executioner, and without a second’s worth of remorse we sentence someone to hell, and vociferously so. There are people who love handing out one way tickets to hell, as though they were stocking stuffers, not really understanding what judgment they are bringing upon their own heads. Just remember, God will judge the judges, and it is He who will determine if their judgments were just.

It is God who keeps the ledger, it is God who keeps the books, and it is He, and He alone that knows with certainty who makes it into heaven, and who is sentenced to hell. To all those who enjoy the thrill of playing judge, and sentencing people to hell, may I submit the following question, which I would encourage you to ponder: how many of those whom you’ve concluded are going to hell have passed from this life, and for how many of them were you there when they took their final breath?

While man still has breath, he can repent, and when man repents God forgives! Unless you were there, and with their dying breath they rejected Christ, unless you were there and with their dying breath they rejected the grace of God, then you don’t know, so don’ t judge!

1 Corinthians 4:1-5, “Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the heart; and then each one’s praise will come from God.”

If we have nothing to occupy our time, after we’ve prayed, and read the Word, and done all that is incumbent upon us as believers to do, rather than judging may we be diligent in being found faithful in those things with which we were entrusted of God, and those things over which we are stewards instead.

Now the Word does not tell us not to judge, it tells us not to judge before the time, and when it comes to someone’s eternity, the time will be when the Lord comes, for it is He who will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and reveal the counsels of the heart.

The second thing we ought not to judge or pass sentence on are those points, ideas or issues that do not affect us biblically.

We know very well that the Bible contains absolute truths, as well as relative truths. There are certain things concerning which God is very specific in scripture, things that cannot be questioned or analyzed beyond the fact that God said it, and it is thus. For example God said, ‘you shall not commit adultery!’ Why? Because it’s a sin, and there’s no way around it, there’s no loophole, there’s no exemption. It is an absolute truth of scripture that we must adhere to. God was clear; adultery is sin, as is lying, as is theft. There is no way we will be able to justify these things on that day when we stand before Him, or excuse such behavior.

‘But Lord, you don’t understand they stole from me first, and I just stole it back.’

Not good enough. God said it is sin, you knew God said it is sin, yet you did it anyway. We all know what the absolutes of God are, they are clearly outlined in the Bible, and going through them all would be a teaching in and of itself. These absolute truths we must defend to our dying breath, because they are the fundamentals of scripture, but there are things we ought not to judge because they are not biblical issues.

There are also relative truths in scripture which either hinge upon the context or the culture of the time. For example, in his second letter to Timothy, Paul asks him to brink the cloak that he left with Carpus at Troas, and his books, especially the parchments. This is an example of a relative truth. It was a specific request made to Timothy, and it does not mean we should all go searching for Paul’s cloak and parchments in Troas.

We need to find that balance as believers between judging nothing at all, and allowing all things in the midst of the congregation, to judging everything from our own perspective, our own prism, or our own doctrinal myopia.

Romans 14:1-6, “Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.”

Well, not only do we dispute over doubtful things, and heatedly so, we discount scripture and if we happen to eat only vegetables we judge those who eat meat, or if we happen to eat meat, we judge those who eat only vegetables. There are many things that occupy our time, things for which we judge others, that the Bible tells us not to be concerned with, because each one, to his own master will stand or fall. While we’re on the subject, it is scripture that says, he who observes the day observes it to the Lord, and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it! Just thought I’d throw that in there for flavor, and a little hate mail.

The third thing we ought not to judge or pass sentence on is other people’s children.

I realize this may be out of left field, but only I know how many counseling sessions I’ve had with individuals who simply want to complain about other people’s children. If you are preoccupied with other people’s children, you won’t have any more time for your own. What becomes of your field, if all you do all day every day is till and plant your neighbor’s field? Tend to your field, tend to those whom God has given you as gifts, tend to their spiritual upbringing, and if you do it biblically, I assure you, you won’t have time to judge other people’s children.

First the beam, then the speck!

No, I have no children as of yet, so I will not go into a protracted polemic on child rearing, but from what I’ve been able to observe, it seems most parents find an excuse for their own children while judging other people’s children for the selfsame actions. Hypocrisy does not smell good, no matter who’s wearing it, that’s why they will never invent a cologne or a perfume entitled ‘hypocrisy’.

Now that I’ve managed to alienate or otherwise irritate most of my readers, all I can say is disprove me biblically and I will retract my statements. Hopefully tomorrow, we will continue the series on the principles of judging, and discover what it is that we are not only responsible to judge, but commanded of God to judge.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your comment about not judging someone's eternal destination really hit home for me. Last year I 'discovered' the horrors of narcissism when I ended up confronting a verbally abusive "Christian" relative. He was unrepentant, married to an enabler, and had been abusing his family of origin (all Christians) for decades through verbal abuse, selfishness, and control freak behavior. To make a long story short, none of us are in contact with him or his spouse any more.

Now that I know what a malignant narcissist looks like, I'm convinced that's what he is. When I come across this "stench" in other people (not just mere selfishness, but the unrepentant worship of self where you get to do whatever you want, when you want, to whoever you want, without thought to consequences and how your actions hurt others) I have an immediate reaction of loathing and I have a difficult time not visually them on the downslide to hell. I know God can do anything and that God always forgives the repentant, but when you are dealing with people that are by their very nature unrepentant (my relative had been confronted multiple times over decades now; that's the essential spirit of a narcissist, he is unrepentant & lacks empathy for anyone else), it is difficult not to "judge" what is going to happen to them.

I also get into trouble when I let slip to someone else (particularly someone who has not been a victim of a narcissist & therefore is still naive) that I picked up this "stench" in an individual, I get called out on the carpet (probably rightly) for "judging." I've been praying alot lately, asking God to help "clean out" the negative emotions the whole situation is generating in me and helping me to stay right with Him. I don't want to be a nasty person running around judging every body and being self righteous, but I can't turn my "smeller" off!

It is also hard because I get confused about the difference between "forgiveness" (which the Bible seems to indicate is only for the repentant) and "love" (which is supposed to be for everyone.) Thank you so much for your blog! It has been very helpful and encouraging for me.