It’s been a very interesting week. I wrote an article that was published by Christianity Today Her.meneutics blog for women. I love that Her.meneutics addresses current topics (what’s in the news with entertainment, politics, justice efforts, and a whole gamut of other issues) from the evangelical woman’s prospective.
The article was published on Tuesday under the title “Beyonce is Wrong: Girls Don’t Run the World.” I have enjoyed reading the comments and am encouraged that solid reading material has the ability to promote healthy dialog and encourage growth among individuals and communities.
Yet, I have been somewhat bewildered by several of the comments (seemingly written from a Christian perspective) that state in so many words, “Don’t judge.” While I’ve heard that statement for many years throughout my Christian journey, I have often found it used as an excuse not to hold someone accountable (and if we are honest with ourselves, we use it as a way out because we don’t want others to hold us accountable either).
I am quite familiar with the “log and plank” and “don’t judge so you won’t be judge” scriptures (both in Luke chapter 6 if you want to look them up), so I don’t need those quotations in the comment section (I mean unless you really want to add them :-). The point made, even in those scriptures, is that we are not to be hypocrites. We should have a pure heart so that we can see clearly and discern well (to make good or righteous judgments).
One of the topics that I am studying right now is the work of the Holy Spirit. As I pondered and prayed about the topic of judgment as it relates to the Holy Spirit, I read Jesus words as recorded in John 16:8-11:
When he [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regards to righteousness, because I am going to my Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world [that is Satan/the devil] now stands condemned.
According to these scriptures, part of the Holy Spirit’s many functions is to convict the world of guilt (that means, the Holy Spirit finds those who live according to the world’s instruction, guilty) in three areas: sin, righteousness, and judgment. They are found guilty of sin because they do not believe in God. They are found guilty of unrighteousness because they do not live as a holy God commands (which is perfectly revealed in the earthly life of Jesus) and they are judged and found guilty because the one who rules them has already been judged and is condemned.
Judgment is certainly for the unbeliever (those who do not have faith in Jesus), while loving correction is for those who believe in Christ and yet error in some way.
There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1-2)! When Christians sin, as we sometimes do, God has given us guidelines to lovingly correct each other (Matthew 18:15-17, Rev 3:19). But if you are overly zealous like the Apostle Paul, you might not bother with those formalities. Paul called the Apostle Peter out in front of everybody so that no other believer would make the same mistake that he did (Gal 2:11-21, 1Tim 5:20). (I’m painfully aware that Paul’s approach might not go over well in this day.)
In light of these truths, some may ask the questions, “Why bother judging the world? Why not ignore them and their sin?”
Well, for three reasons (and this is not an all inclusive list):
1. Because Christians have been called to live in this world (that is, we must be aware of what’s going on) but not be tainted by it. We should be attentive and constantly remind each other of God’s biblical truth and his standards for living so that we “will be able to test and approve [or judge] what God’s will is” (Roman 12:2).
2. We have an enemy that is intent on destroying us (1 Pet 5:8-9) and God wants us to stand against the schemes of the devil (Eph 6:11). Part of his scheme is to keep us distracted, make us think that things aren’t that bad, keep us isolated from the unbelievers in world, and impartial to the spiritual warfare that is raging among us.
3. Because we love others and do not want anyone to continue down a road that unknowingly leads to their destruction (Prov 14:12).
Are there other reasons that you want to add to the list? Let’s also ponder these questions, “Are Christians afraid to stand for righteousness (particularly when it is unpopular)?” Is it more loving to share the truth or keep it to ourselves?
While I hate being a bearer of bad news, the good news is that love compels me to share the truth.
© Natasha S. Robinson 2011