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CHRISTIANS SLANDERING CHRISTIANS: WHAT PART OF “DO NOT JUDGE” DO THEY NOT UNDERSTAND?

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       “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.” [Luke 6:37]

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        When the Lord Jesus rebuked the Pharisees He didn’t name names. He didn’t slander individuals. But this has never stopped “Christians” from engaging in the practice. It began almost two thousand years ago and has never ceased. It continues today in a gross violation of the Lord’s Golden Rule.

         “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” [Matthew 7:1-5]

THE SLANDER BRIGADE

        Christian history is filled with Christians attacking and slandering other Christians. In fact, some Christians have created “ministries” that do nothing more than malign other Christians and Christian groups. They have decided that they are worthy of doing this. For some bizarre reason, they consider themselves all-knowing experts and thus perfectly able to bring railing accusations against any Christian or Christian group that does not see or practice Christianity they way they do. This is the height of religious arrogance in that the practitioners thereof must assume they have all light and knowledge, and are therefore qualified to thumbs up or thumbs down any believer or group of believers of their choosing.

          Even though the Lord Jesus, on at least one recorded occasion, referred to a particular group of unbelieving Jews and Pharisees as “of your father the devil,” he was not engaging in personal condemnation. He LOVED these people and would have been overjoyed if they had repented. He was merely stating fact in defense of His own teachings after they attacked Him, in exactly the same way the Christian maligners attack those they think are heretics. He did this in a manner which exposed the accusing enemy who was intent on slandering His reputation, and who was hidden very well behind religious clothing and enjoyed a level of popular support.

           To sort this out, first consider the verse in question:

         “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” [John 8:43-44]

          Now look at these verses:

         “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” [John 3:17]   

         “If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.” [John 12:47-48]

SELF-SERVING HERETIC HUNTERS

         It is one thing to search for truth, find it, and attempt to share it. It is quite another thing to condemn Christians who appear deficient of it. Now pay attention to this:

         THE REJECTION OF THE LORD’S TRUTH CAUSES SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS.

         Each of us is walking in the light we have. Some of us are always trying to gain more light. Therefore, if one doesn’t yet have eyes to see everything he is supposed to see, he is never going to see until he gets eyes to see. They must want to see. No one can force them to see. Thus, our focus should be on helping each other “see.” If one does not yet “see” or doesn’t want to see we are commanded to love anyway. The best way the fault-finding heretic hunters can get right with the Lord is to go spend some time with the people they condemn and serve them. Proving one’s love is better than winning an argument.

         I recently saw a website in which a minister who was condemned by a heretic-hunter group actually responded to the article condemning him in a loving way. There was no eye-for-an-eye garbage or the ubiquitous condemnation return fire. This person was not condemning them though they were condemning him. I thought it very refreshing and it obviously let me know who was the better disciple. Regarding who believed what or who was teaching what didn’t matter in that instance. What mattered was obedience to the command of the Lord to love one another.

IT’S “LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR” NOT “CONDEMN YOUR NEIGHBOR”

         In the final analysis consider the fact that if someone actually does have all light and knows the teachings of the Lord by heart and fulfills them every second of every day, then that person would know who is right and who is wrong. But that person would also know there is a higher order of behavior toward one another and would never judge or condemn someone who knew less.

       Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails… [1Corinthians 13:4-8] [1]

        By their very behavior the slanderous heretic hunters are condemning themselves by violating the Lord’s Word. Without repentance for their wrongheaded actions His Word will judge them at the last day.

         © 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. 


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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The Partial Bliss of Ignorance

         Everyone acts upon what they know. People generally make choices based on an illusion of complete knowledge. Until one learns something new they act as if they know everything, or at least everything they need to know about a given subject.

         Few people consider the fact that their current choices and actions are based not on a pure perspective, but on incomplete knowledge. The decisions we all make at any given time are therefore almost always suspect.

         Our choices are imperfect but we don’t see this at the time.

         Accordingly, our lives are built on incomplete data. How can such a structure make for a strong and secure foundation? The reason hindsight is always 20-20 is because foresight almost never is, though we often think it is at the time of decision making.

         How many times must we say, “If only I had known…”

         Consequently, it is usually the case that people make choices based more on what they want, even though they may attempt to make a studied and informed decision.

         This means, of course, that it is desire that drives us. Such choices based on personal desire are relatively easy and simple. Of such are the choices of a child, including children of the adult variety.

         But how can we possibly choose by including information we do not have? And how do we know we do not have it? What if we discover something the day after our decision is made that would otherwise affect our choice? (“Well, if I knew that, I never would have done what I did…”)

         In time, some people get wiser. They don’t want to get burned again. They do not want to have to deal with the consequences of what turned out to be a stupid choice. So they become more careful. They learn about possible pitfalls. They develop a feel that goes into the mix of the decision-making process. Sometimes the feelings are based on truth.

         But more often than not, these feelings are based on fear:

         “The last time I went into the surf I stepped on a stingray/got nicked by a shark/got sucked into an undertow/got all stung-up by jellyfish.”

         Yet, sometimes a person decides to never step foot in the ocean due only to perceived fears, no doubt based on someone’s fear-based advice. Until he eliminates such fear, his choices will always be suspect.

         And he will never enjoy the thrill of the surf.

         Though making correct choices must be learned empirically through experience, we cannot allow perceived judgments to cloud the outcome. We cannot treat a new circumstance exactly as the old circumstance, because conditions are always different.

         This is why life is not formulaic—it is because God is not formulaic.

         Therefore, sinful man apart from God always tries to create a safe world and eliminate all risk. This is not living by faith, and as such can in no way be pleasing to God.

         And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. [Hebrews 11:6]

         The more one attempts to eliminate risk, be ready for any bad scenario, have an answer for anything life may throw one’s way, cover all the bases, and prepare in detail for all things possible, the more one will actually open the door for disaster. If one feels he is covered no matter what may happen, one will unconsciously let one’s guard down, relax in a false security, and eventually get creamed with catastrophe.

         Why? It is obvious that such a person not only prepares for disaster but expects it, or else he would not put so much effort in the preparation. He is not preparing to avoid disaster or eliminate it, but building a supposed safety net to deal with it when it happens.

         He does not know the future but is convinced he must make a wise investment in covering himself. But his assessment of possible bad scenarios is very limited and full of holes. It is impossible to prepare for anything. “Anything” is way too large. Inevitably, one will take a hit where he neglected to cover himself with armor, in that the chink in his armor was previously unknown until his opponent’s sword found it.

         Living by faith in the Lord Jesus, however, actually does cover one from any possible scenario. The difference is that one has no knowledge of the future but God does, and by faith, one trusts God for his protection.

         It is the only possible way to live a secure and peaceful life.

         Otherwise, one will trust in one’s ability, one’s money, one’s ability to earn money, in insurance of every possible kind, false doctrines and teachings that appear sound, and anything and everything except the Lord Jesus.

         Following the Lord does not mean everything will be perfect, though. It is sometimes the will of God that we endure tests, trials, adversity, and persecution. I mean, we are in a spiritual war, right?

         But we know by faith that the Lord will see us through the storm, and we can have the peace that passes all understanding in the midst of storms.  

         On the other hand, the illusion of complete knowledge apart from God is highly deceiving, and creates the very opposite of what one intended. The false sense of security that arises is the very thing that destroys one’s life.

         “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” [Mark 8:35]

         It is a scary thing to reject God and choose to be one’s own boss apart from God, or follow another. It matters not how sensible one’s choices may be. It boils down to acts of pure pride, defiance, and rebellion. No faith equals spiritual death regardless of how many bases appear to be covered or sources accessed to make wise decisions.

         Not only that, but having no love for the truth of God’s Word will actually blind a person regarding it. The rejecting of living by pure faith and loving the Truth opens the doors of deception, and this deception will even come from the Lord Himself:

         For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. [2 Thessalonians 2:7-12]

         It is said that ignorance is bliss. This is true in part, in that a lack of knowledge promotes a false security.

         But real bliss arises from pure faith in the Lord Jesus and obedience toward Him. It is the only way to cover all the bases. It is the cure for ignorance and blindness.

         And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.”

         Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?”

         Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.” [John 9:39-41] [1]

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.