Thursday, November 17, 2011

Only God can judge me...Not!

How many times have you hear someone say "Only God can judge me!" Often times when you challenge someone on that they are quick to mention a couple of verses in Matthew.
Matthew 7: 1-5 - 1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
If you are someone who would be quick to say yes I agree with this let me ask you a question. Who is Jesus speaking to in these verses? We have to go back a few chapters to figure it out.
Matthew 4: 23 - 5:2 - 23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.1 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them, saying...
So who is in this crowd? Seekers. Those who have not yet believed that Jesus is the Messiah. It does not say anywhere in this passage that they believed in him. Those of us who call ourselves Christians or Followers of Christ or whatever new hip term some people want to use "Christ Follower", "Jesus Lover", "Jesus Freak", "Servant to the Master", "Kingdom Builder" etc. would refer to these people as "the lost" or as I mentioned earlier "seekers". And this is a great concept for the world in general. We do not need to judge each other until we get our own house in order.

However, (yes there is that word again) there is another verse that relates to those of us who call ourselves Christians and are part of the Body of Christ and it almost seems to conflict to what the verses above teach. See if you have read this passage before:
I Corinthians 5: 1-12 - 1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? 3 Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. 4 When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord. 6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”
This passage was written to the Church at Corinth, those who were gathering together in homes or synagogues or wherever they could meet. The Church is called the Bride of Christ and she is to be kept pure for The Groom, Christ himself. We are to judge others within the faith but we are to be careful that we have judged ourselves first before we start accusing others of wrongdoing. I have seen church leaders who have seemingly turned a blind eye to this passage and the church they were shepherding suffered greatly.

As Christians we have been called to a very high standard that can only be lived out with the power of the Holy Spirit. We must learn to draw on that power to help us know when to speak up and when to shut up.

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