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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rustler Article for 3.10.11

I’ve seen a lot of famous people (mostly athletes) with the words “only God can judge me” tattooed on their bodies in various places. Though this sentiment at least partially based on Scripture, it is more indicative of an attitude our culture has developed regarding one another’s sins.
There is an attitude among us that has been “baptized” by Christians suggesting that we cannot render any moral judgment on anyone’s behavior, thus rendering morality to the purely personal level. Certainly we know the maxim “if it feels good, do it!” Our society doesn’t want moral judgments from anyone so that we can get away with anything.
Most often we hear passages cited against “judging” one another from the Gospels (Matthew 7, Luke 6) and from the letters of Paul (1 Corinthians 4, Romans 14). We cower behind the idea that judgment means condemnation of someone’s actions, and so we let all sorts of evil go unchecked in our homes, churches, and communities.
I don’t think anyone would argue that Paul was not a judgmental fellow (Romans 1); the same could be said about Jesus (Mark 7, Matthew 18). The point of the “judgment” language has more to do with rendering a final verdict on the worth (or eternal destination) of a person, not with their specific moral behavior.
The point is this: Christians must be able to judge moral action against the standards of God’s expectations for humanity. We must be able to name sin as sin. However, we must at the same time not fall into the temptation of “deciding” who is saved and who is eternally damned based upon their behavior. Let God be God and decide the fate of a person; however we must not abdicate our responsibility to “build one another up,” to “correct, rebuke” and to preach repentance with our lives, deeds, and words.

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