Summary: Although we do not need to verbally label people, we need to understand where different people are at in their lives and thinking if we are to significantly help them. We need to develop our people skills and direct them toward growth.
Our Responsibility to Make Judgment Calls
1. A New Barna report came out this week (Sept 07):
"The new study shows that only 3% of 16 - to 29-year-old non-Christians express favorable views of evangelicals…
"… Among young non-Christians, nine out of the top 12 perceptions were negative. Common negative perceptions include that present-day Christianity is judgmental (87%), hypocritical (85%), old-fashioned (78%), and too involved in politics (75%)"
2. We have never been on the "what’s hot" list, but we evangelicals are viewed with more contempt than ever.
3. But the article continues:
"Even among young Christians, many of the negative images generated significant traction. Half of young churchgoers said they perceive Christianity to be judgmental, hypocritical, and too political. One-third said it was old-fashioned and out of touch with reality." [source: www.barna.org]
4. I asked myself those questions. Are some of these perceptions based on reality?
|5. The answer, I think, is often yes and no. There is no doubt that the church needs significant improvement.
6. But some of these criticisms reflect a difference of view about absolute truth. We have moved into the Post-Modern era, yet God’s Word is Supra-modern -- always beyond and ahead of the time.
7. Whereas the Golden Rule of Postmodernism is to never judge others, Biblical Christianity mandates that we make tentative judgments about others for the purpose of helping them. Indeed, the quality of wisdom is about making good judgments. That’s why Post-modern strikes many of us as less than wise.
We understand Jesus to condemn judging by a double standard, not judging in particular.
Matthew 7:1-2, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
John 7:24: "Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment." Christ here encourages us to judge, and to do so rightly.
1 Corinthians 2:15 says, "The spiritual man makes judgments about all things..."
Paul goes on to scold the Corinthians for refusing to make necessary judgments in 1 Corinthians 6:22, "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?"
8. We cannot tell exactly where the line is, but we can detect when one is way across the line is where we must look, and we must search things out beyond the obvious.
• Some believers are weak when it comes to people skills. They are not comfortable with being human themselves and they tend to be unrealistic about others.
• Some people feel too responsible for the behavior of others.
• Cain’s attitude toward his brother is the attitude some Christians take.
• And it is up to us to try to figure out what we can do to help others as they go through life with the Lord. We may not be our brother’s keeper, but we are to be our brother’s helper.
• Note that this urging in verse 14 is given to "brothers," not just leaders.