Summary: In a culture where the lines of right and wrong, good and evil have become blurred, how and who determines what is the standard for what is true and what is false?
Have you ever noticed how criticism can be a way of life? In fact, we might say that it is the democratic way of life and an integral part of our society. We have music critics, art critics, drama critics and movies critics. Politicians, athletes, teachers and preachers are critiqued. We critique a new restaurant, the new hair stylus in town, and the new item on the menu. It is the American way. But is it Jesus’ way?
What do we do with Jesus’ words,
"Do not judge and you will not be judged. Luke 6:37
Does Jesus actually mean that we should never make a judgment call? Does He mean that we should never critique someone? Does He mean that we should never assess, evaluate or review something?
If He does, then what do we do with the ad campaign that says, “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk”. Isn’t that a judgment call? Am I not critiquing your decision and your right to do what it is you want to do?
What do we do with Jesus’ statement, "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Luke 6:37
As Christians we often find ourselves in a conundrum.
On the one hand Jesus tells us not to judge and yet on the other hand we are told to make a difference. Doesn’t 1 Thessalonians 5:22 say, Avoid every kind of evil.
Now we know that it’s not OK for me as disciples to steal, but do I have a right to tell you not to steal or to report to the police someone else for stealing for fear of judging them.
Do we even dare make a recommendation of one auto mechanic over another for fear of judging them?
Do we not tell someone that their actions are hurting others for fear of appearing to judge them?
It’s kind of hard to figure it out!
In next weeks passage, Jesus will tell His disciples, "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. 46"Why do you call me, ’Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Luke 6:43-46
But wait a minute, isn’t that a judgment call!
• Who determines what good fruit is and what is bad fruit?
• Who determines who is a good man and who is an evil man?
• Who determines what is good and what is evil?
In a culture where the lines of right and wrong, good and evil have become blurred, how and who determines what is the standard for what is true and what is false.
Like I’ve said, as Christians we often find ourselves in a conundrum, a quagmire and a quandary. In other words, we find ourselves in a sticky predicament.
After all, doesn’t he Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 6:2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?
So what do we do?
• Do we as disciples never make a call between right and wrong?
• Do we abdicate our moral responsibility of what is true?
• Do we never hold each other accountable and
• What does Jesus mean by “do not judge”?
Different words have different meanings and the word Jesus uses here for judge is the Greek word krino. We get our English word criticize from it.
This word carries with it more than a meaning, it carries with it an attitude; a judgmental, negative and condemning attitude.
That’s why Jesus says, Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned, Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37
As Jesus has shown us, as disciples our attitude lies at the very core of everything we do and everything we say. Jesus is not saying that we should not
• observe the evidence,
• evaluate the facts and
• make an informed decision.
• Jesus is not saying we shouldn’t determine right from wrong or to not condemn evil and commend truth.
What Jesus is warning us against is judgmentalism.
A fault-finding, negative attitude that picks at, pulls down, blames and complains about those who do not live up to our expectations.
He’s talking about hidden agendas that look to tear down rather than build up. Schemes that look at the faults in others while ignoring the faults in oneself.