Tag Archives: Tolerance

Defining Judgment

Decorative Scales of Justice in the Courtroom

What Does Judging Look Like?

When I was a kid, I figured people who didn’t follow my family rules were automatically wrong. Of course, now that I’m an adult, I’ve learned a thing or two about personal opinions and I realize that some people have a harder time with certain areas (1 Cor. 8).

I’ve become more accepting, less judgmental, and tried to give people the benefit of a doubt.

The Bible says not to judge people. This command is all over Romans 2. My problem, however, is that I want desperately to avoid a ‘Politically Correct’ mindset. I worry about how ‘offendable’ we’re getting. It’s getting to the point where you can’t be honest with anyone. Especially as a Christian.

We are not permitted to inflict our morals on others, but they are very eager to press their lack of morals on us. I’m not allowed to be Pro Life because everyone should have the right to ‘choose,’ but I can’t choose to be Pro Life.

I’m not allowed to call anyone a sinner because that is labeling them. I used to use the phrase ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ until a friend called me out on it and caused me to reevaluate what it meant. I can see how being called a sinner would put someone on the defensive immediately. What Christians fail to do sometimes is explain that we consider ‘sinner’ to be a synonym with ‘human.’ But even if we amend the statement to ‘hate the sin, love the person,’ there will still be offence. After all, who are we to say that what they’re doing is sin?

And that’s the thing: we are not the ones to call certain actions sin. The Bible is calling those actions sin.

1 John 5:17 says ‘all wrong doing in sin.’ And there are several verses that tell us to hold each other accountable. By ‘each other’ I mean Christians, not non-Christians.

But there can be no conversion without conviction of sin. How will a non-Christians know they need to be saved if they don’t believe they’re dying?

The problem is that the currant popular mindset says ‘if you disagree with me, then you’re judging me.’ And sadly, there are many judgmental people, Christians included (me included) out there. I don’t want to judge anyone, but neither do I want to remain silent if I see them living contrary to the Bible to the detriment of their spiritual, emotional, mental, and/or physical health.

So I need a better understanding of the term ’judging’ so I can avoid doing it but still love without fear of offending others.

Here is what I believe the Bible means, at least in part, when it says do not ‘judge.’

First, if I am talking about someone behind their back, that’s judging. If I love and care about this person, I will go to them with the concern I have, not broadcast it to others, even under the guise of ‘we really need to pray for them because…’

Second, if I avoid that person, or distance myself from them, that’s judging. Loving them means that I should go out of my way to let them know I care about them, and more importantly, so does Jesus.

Third, the second I start to think I’m better than them, that’s judging. The ground at the foot of the cross is level and sin is sin. I’m just as deserving of God’s wrath as anyone else.

Fourth, if I’m afraid to talk to them about sin, that’s judging. That fear comes from the assumption that they will reject me and what I have to say, that they will close their heart and walk away. If I have already spoken to someone about an issue, and they have disagreed, then there is no need to ‘beat a dead horse.’ It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict them of sin, not mine.

Which brings me to number five: if I am persistent in my endeavors to convict them of sin in my own power, that’s judging. Because I’m saying that their sin is so bad, they need my help on top of Jesus’ sacrifice and the Holy Spirit’s working if they are to have any hope.

In conclusion, I believe that truly loving someone means warning them. If I saw a friend doing something dangerous, and I kept silent and they got hurt, I would feel partial responsible. Ezekiel 33:6 is a pretty scary verse about what happens when we don’t warn others. The verse before it makes it quite clear that once we have issued that warning, then it’s the other person’s move.

I’m going to stop beating people up over sin. I’m going to love them enough to warn them, and after that, regardless of what they do with that warning, I’m going to pray for them, love them, and leave the judging to God.

So what do you think? Am I way off? How would you describe ‘judgement’?


Having it Both Ways


Last time, I wrote about how we as Christians, instead of being hypocritical, should try to imagine what it’s like for those who don’t know God. We should love on people.

But society would have us head from one extreme to the other and tell people there is nothing wrong with sin.

Today, many people are preaching acceptance and tolerance. The popular conclusion is that either you love everything about someone, or you hate/fear everything about someone. For many, it’s either tolerance or persecution.

In fact, a popular consensus is that Jesus’ main message was peace and tolerance. People who say that obviously haven’t read the Gospels.

Everywhere Jesus went, He healed the sick, cast out demons, and forgave sins. He never once told someone they were just fine the way they were.

When He encountered sick people, He healed them. After He forgave sins, He told those people to “go and sin no more”. He told those who wanted to follow Him that they would have to deny themselves and take up their cross in order to do so.

Wouldn’t it be ridiculous if a doctor said to his severely ill patient, “Oh no, you’re fine just the way you are. We’re not going to change you at all.”? That person would die without the necessary treatments and that doctor would be responsible.

So how can we think that a Righteous and Holy God, who cannot tolerate sin to the degree that He sent His Son to die as an atoning sacrifice, would then teach people that sin is acceptable?

Imagine giving your life in exchange for a cure for someone else’s disease and then telling them they are just fine and don’t need to take it. That’s ludicrous. And that is not Jesus’ message.

“Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.”

Luke 12:51

People do not like to hear that they are doing something wrong. But if we love them, and have compassion on them, we have to tell them. Even if that causes division. Even if it gets us labeled as judgmental hypocrites.

Let people call you that if they want. Just make sure it isn’t true.

As I said last time, make sure you’re preaching God’s Word and not your own set of rules.

You can show someone compassion without tolerating a sinful lifestyle that’s drawing them away from God.

You can give someone grace and tell them to repent before it’s too late.

You can give people selfless, patient love while still hating the sin that’s separating them from God.

satan wants you to believe that it’s either one way or the other. Please don’t believe him. Instead, ask God to work in your heart and love others through you.

Ask Him to fill you so full of His perfect love that it spills over onto everyone you meet, whether they like it or not.

What do you think? Can you love someone without accepting their lifestyle? Or am I way off here? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Hypocrisy: It’s Only Cool if I do It


I’ve been reading and thinking a lot lately about the hypocrisy in the church and judgment vs. tolerance. I came across this passage in Luke that I think makes some interesting points:

‘But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath: and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath.” The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom satan has bound – think of it – for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?”’

Luke 12:14-16

The callousness of the synagogue ruler astounds me. Can you imagine the uproar if hospitals were closed one day of the week? Picture being sick for eighteen years and suddenly you have access to the miracle cure. Would you want to wait even one more minute?

The Pharisees took the Lord’s commandment and warped it to fit their own end. They changed the rules, manipulating the Law of God and then imposed their own ideals on the people.

Don’t we as Christians do that sometimes? Sometimes we make up the rules and when someone breaks one of those rules, it’s like God no longer has our permission to work in their lives.

Jesus came to heal the sick, but we get irked when He doesn’t follow our guidelines.

“No Lord, don’t bless her with a Godly boyfriend. I know what she did with her last one and if she were truly repentant, she would never date again and only focus on You.”

“God, why did you give him the job at the church instead of me? He goes out for drinks with his friends once a week and I haven’t touched alcohol in years.”

We Christians labor under the delusion that people have to attain a certain level of holiness before they are worthy of God’s healing power in their lives. We weigh others in our own scales and find them wanting, then we get indignant when God begins transforming them. Or sometimes, we just choose to reject their confession of faith and refuse to love and accept them as a brother or sister in Christ.

Like the Synagogue ruler, we tell them they can only be healed if they are seeking God the way we believe they should.

I love when Jesus says “think of it.”

We should never allow our religious regulations to crowd out compassion. It doesn’t matter if someone is committing the most offensive, heinous sin in the world. That only means they are all the more ill, all the more in need of God.

Think of it.

Think of being so lost you don’t even know you’re lost; so trapped in sin that you’ve fooled yourself into thinking you’re ok and don’t need to change. Think of living a life apart from God.

Do we really want to stand in the way of Jesus’ healing work in someone’s life just because He isn’t going about it the way we think He should? Are we that conceited? That uncompassionate?

Have you ever told someone to come back when it’s no longer ‘the Sabbath’? You know, after they’ve cleaned themselves up a bit? Or are you letting love and compassion govern your actions and bringing people to Jesus to be healed?

I know I’ve been guilty of holding people to my standards instead of God’s. Well, no more. I’m throwing out my scale, because it’s God’s opinion that matters, not mine. 

%d bloggers like this: