One of the consistent criticisms of the church from those who are not part of the church is that we are so judgmental – always telling other people where they’re wrong and holding them up to standards of behavior that we don’t even meet ourselves. This criticism has been leveled at the church pretty effectively lately, and it seems there are always a few Christians who make themselves available to be evidence that the criticism is right. Honestly, there are a lot of people taking shelter under the banner of Christ who are judgmental in ways that Jesus never was. For my part, I’m sure at times I’ve fed into the stereotype more than I’d like, and I’m sorry for that. I really am, and I’m working on it…
In today’s world, where tolerance trumps everything else, the worst behavior possible (in the eyes of many) is to appear to be intolerant of someone else’s thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. “Don’t judge.” seems to be the prime directive. But this kind of tolerance is misleading at best. The truth is, we all make judgments all the time about all kinds of things, and situations, and yes, even people. We get great service at a restaurant and leave a bigger tip than if the food had been served cold and rudely. We see a quarterback throw the ball in the dirt and judge that he’s unfit for the position. We read of a politician texting out pictures of who knows what and judge that he’s probably not the guy we want to trust with decisions that affect hundreds of thousands of people. If the registered sex offender who lives next door volunteers for babysitting duty at your house, you’re probably going to make a judgment call, right?
It’s not making judgments that is really the problem, though. It’s when fingers are pointed and condemnation is thrown around without any attempt to understand. But the answer isn’t the “ignore it and let them do whatever they want” kind of tolerance that is taught today. I’m casting a pretty wide net here, I know, but I don’t think that kind of tolerance actually does anything to help anyone in any way. But love does. The Bible tells us that “love covers over a multitude of sins” so we should “love each other deeply”.
- We need to learn to love people we don’t agree with philosophically.
- Ask your students about the diversity they experience in their world and discuss how they can display the character of Jesus to every stripe of that diversity.
- We need to love people enough to help them get untangled from the sin that’s eating them alive. It’s not enough to shout at a drowning man that he’s going to drown if he doesn’t learn to swim soon.
- Teach your kids how to love deeply enough to love past sins without just ignoring them or their consequences.
Check out the rest of this series here or each individual post at the following links: