Are Christians too judgmental?

I took part in a panel discussion a few weeks ago on this topic.  A discussion ensued in a private forum where some posters expressed views that suggest people like me, who insist on emphasizing the love of God for all persons, are, let’s say, not really Christians at all because we appear not to have any standards, and because we don’t simply state whatever the Bible says.  I think I hold myself and others to a very high standard, however, and I think I am pretty clear on what the Bible says also.  Here’s my response, in part:

What then do we make of Matthew 7:1, Luke 6:37, John 8:15, and Romans 2:1?

Jesus was faced with people who ultimately condemned (judged) him because he refused to judge a sexual sin (the woman taken in adultery: immediate context for the John 8 passage) even though they could point to chapter and verse to say she should not only be condemned but punished; because he was so lacking in (their idea of)  discernment that he tolerated uncleanness (eating with unwashed hands) and moral failure (eating with tax collectors and “sinners”). These were the sorts of things that incensed the moral gatekeepers of the day, the Pharisees. He healed indiscriminately; touched a leper, refused to rebuke a woman known to be immoral (at the house of Simon the Pharisee, the muttering round the table was, “If he knew what kind of woman she was….”, obviously a question of their judgment concerning his evident lack of discernment). Of course, Jesus knew in every case what was going on, and made conscious decisions not only to do these things but to use them as occasions for teaching about the scope of God’s love for people and the nature of love and forgiveness. He speaks without compromise about the absolute condemnation from God which is to fall on those who, having received mercy, fail to offer it to others in turn. “So will my heavenly Father do to you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” This says to me that love and forgiveness, not moral rightness or knowledge, are the essential beginning-point of any real discernment “in the Spirit.”

One day soon I will lay out my understanding of the thrust of the argument present by Paul in Romans chapters one through three, which I take to be an extended exposition of Luke 6:37, remembering that Luke the evangelist was Paul’s traveling companion, they worked together, and are likely to have  drawn from one another’s material.

One thought on “Are Christians too judgmental?

  1. Wow. I may actually be too dumbfounded to even comment…. this came from another believer?

    Ok…. giving it a go. If this was a believer, they likely have a heightened sense of evangelism and believe the best way to go about it is the way their stern fundamentalist teaching has taught them to evangelize. I’m not saying it is always wrong, I’m just saying that some lepers need to actually be touched and healed, rather than just being told what awaits them once their disease has eaten their life away. This requires a compassionate person who isn’t afraid of the disease, maybe because they’ve already been healed of it. Jesus struck his opponents with the truth and rendered them defenseless. His real opponent was the spirit that dwelled among believers masking itself as righteousness. This is what kept believers from doing the work Christ did. That said, there is a balance that needs to be maintained. We can’t be so open minded that our brains fall out of our heads. People do need to hear God’s word even when it is uncomfortable for them to hear it. I have found that you need to earn that place with a person, the place where you can speak truth into their lives and they will know that this is coming from the source of true love and not condemnation.

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