How do we as Christians take the Gospel to the world? What is the best way to bring people who are far from God, near to Him again? The message needs to be shared with love and compassion, so that every person has a chance to connect with all that God has promised.
Pastor Jeff Vines wants to get us thinking about how we do this without being judgmental. Can we discern right and wrong without condemning others? It’s ok to quote a passage of scripture that is actually in the Bible, but we should not do it in a way that is out of context or completely self-serving.
Every generation seems to find a verse in the Bible that they really love to misquote. Many people still make fun of the Bible saying that it’s archaic and not relevant. But often these same people like to quote a verse in the Bible if they think it’s beneficial to their argument.
Jeff believes that one of the most misquoted verses in the last 20 years is ‘do not judge or you too will be judged.’ It’s part of the sermon on the Mount. We’re a people that believe that God loves us, and He gives us the roadmap for how to relate to each other and to the world. We’re supposed to be salt and light.
Jesus says in Matthew 7 do not judge or you too will be judged. But what does Jesus mean when He says that? Does He mean that you shouldn’t discern right and wrong in another person’s life? What do you say to somebody who’s a racist, do you tell them that it’s wrong? Is that judging them in the way Jesus is talking about judging?
Jeff says the real issue for most of us is about moral authority. “You don’t want anybody else telling you that you’re wrong, but you want to tell everybody else when they’re wrong. But when Jesus says that, He’s not talking about not discerning right or wrong or morality. He says you will be judged on the measure you use.”
“The comparison Jesus has made is not between those who pray and those who don’t pray,” says Jeff. “So far, Jesus has talked about motivation. Do you pray standing in the street so everybody can hear you or in a closet in private with God? Do you give so that everyone knows? Or do you give so that your left hand doesn’t know what your right hand is doing?”
“How do you approach the law? In a way to earn merit or salvation? Or do you approach it out of gratitude for the grace that’s already been given to you?” continues Jeff. “Do you approach it in a way to please the heart of the father?”
The difference is not between those who judge and those who don’t. It’s about those who discern and confront out of love in the hopes of restoration and change, and those who judge out of hatred and condemnation. The difference is motivation.
Jesus is not saying to refrain from discerning what is good and beneficial to society. It is actually unloving not to confront a person in love in relation to destructive behaviour. “The church is the hope of the world,” says Jeff, “and we have a balance here. The message of the gospel is that everybody has something that needs to be judged. We all need people who will tell us.”
When you’re helping somebody get the speck out of their eye, you’ve got to do it gently. Jesus doesn’t deal with the size of sin. Unless you see your sins as greater than everybody else’s, you’re not going to be able to help somebody.
“When Jesus says, don’t judge, He’s not saying, don’t discern,” says Jeff. “But it’s a judging without wrath. You’re not God. You have no right to exhibit wrath on anybody.”
“Don’t judge doesn’t mean do not disturb or confront anyone. But when you do, it should be done in such a way that is so loving and so gracious, that people are willing to hear you.”
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