“Judge not, that you be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1)
We’ve been talking about harmful attitudes that are becoming quite common in churches these days. Yesterday, we addressed the consumer mentality. Today…
2) Judging others, in our churches. This is more common than we realize. Quite often, we are not even aware that we are being critical and judgmental about the differences (or flaws) we find in other believers.
People are different. Churches are different. And (here’s the shocker…) God is okay with that. Have we really taken the time to notice just how much God loves diversity? I like to point out that God could have met our dietary needs by providing something like gray broccoli – full of all the vitamins and nutrients that we need. But, instead He has created a myriad of foods with flavors, smells, and textures… all for our enjoyment. God enjoys diversity. And diversity is something we also enjoy. Think of all the varied sights, sounds, and smells that are all around us. Every day.
Why would we possibly think that the God of such diversity would even want His people to all be the same?
All the same is boring. Bland. Predictable. UNinteresting!
“Yes, but we are all called to be Christlike.”
But since when did “Christlike” mean all the same. When you look at Jesus’ interactions with people – His approach to people (and to every situation) is marked by all the different ways He met needs. We would be hard-pressed to find any place where Jesus did a miracle the SAME way twice! This tells us more than we realize.
Being Christlike is a matter of having Christ’s Heart and passion for God… and for people. Being Christlike looks at differences and sees the wonder of the Creator at work – doing what He does best… creating different ways to be amazing.
We look at differences and often want to compare and contrast… evaluate and judge – all according to some standard that we think is right. It’s like we are actually searching for some small discrepancy so we can justifiably reject people who do not measure up to our “righteous” standards.
Jesus had a lot to say about judging others. In Matthew 7, He offers us the classic warning on treating people around us. “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (7:3)
We tend to be experts at “breaking down” and exposing the flaws in those around us – while completely missing the fact of our own critical spirit. A critical spirit virtually blinds us to what really matters… having the kind of sight that God has!
That is Jesus’ point! When Jesus came to earth, He had every right (as the only perfect person) to make critical judgments about people. There were specks in eyes everywhere – and He alone had the clear sight to actually help people.
But He was never critical of sinners. He never pointed out their flaws… and seldom “expressed his concerns” about their character or choices. He accepted them as they were (and they recognized that fact). He saw them with eyes of love that valued (treasured!) them – even in their quirks, shortcomings, and failures.
In short, Jesus loved people just as they were, treasured them for who they were, and constantly sought to build bridges to their hearts.
Think about it… the most righteous Person Who ever lived, came and looked on all our unrighteousness… and just loved us.
If we are going to claim to be Christlike then we need to be like Christ – Whose love caused Him to be meek and gentle at heart (Matthew 11:29)!
The one thing we need more than anything (as Christ-followers) is to be accepting and loving of our brothers and sisters in Christ – no matter what label is attached to them. If they love Jesus – we ought to reflect Jesus’ love for them… in every way!
When we truly love (as Christ loved us) then we will actually be able to do what God really wants: “to see clearly to take the speck out of (our) brother’s eye.” (Matt. 7:5)