This is the verse that is used to try to shame Christians for discerning poor behavior, ethics, morals, and values: the “judge not lest ye be judged” verse. Using only Matt 7:1 is entirely incomplete. This verse is not speaking to not judging at all — it is speaking to not judging unfairly or any other cheap and selfish way. Read the rest of the story…

In my last blog Judging part 1 , I submitted a definition of “SIN”.  If we are going to judge, I think we need a definition of what to judge will be based on.

Matt 7:2-5 “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged [What is the criteria we use to judge others? Is it from our own perspective? Is it to “hammer” others? Is it to justify our discernment of non-Christians?], and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you [if we use extremes or exaggerations or other dishonorable means, the judgment that we receive will reflect that, but judging with fairness and compassion will also reflect any judgment of us]. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye [point out his sins, “minor” in Jesus’ example here] and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye [our own sins, magnified by our selective blindness]? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ [tell him of his “minor” sins] when all the time there is a plank in your own eye [that there are greater or the same sins in our own lives which we do nothing about or think we are above]? You hypocrite* [pointing out the sins of others while thinking of ourselves as above that particular sin], first take the plank out of your own eye [recognize our own sinful behaviors, confess that to God, and live the Truth and Light by His Word], and then you will see clearly [be in a better position] to remove the speck from your brother’s eye [to judge and to help him out of his bondage to sin].”

*hypocrite refers to an Actor.

John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

I do not understand WHY we, as Christians, hold non-Christians to the same Biblical Standard as Christians.  It is similar to holding a fish to the same standards as an eagle.

In 1Cor. 6:2-3 Jesus authorizes us to judge. Judge we must else we could not discern good from bad, proper from improper, righteousness from evil. But judge behavior, not the individual; the deed not the doer; the choice not the chooser. The individual/doer/chooser is accountable for his/her deed/choice, but judge the deed/choice in your judgment.

And to continue, Matt 7:6 says. “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.” How are we going to know as undesirable the behaviors of “dogs” and “pigs” if we do not judge?

Let me explain.

Refer to John 8:1 – 11. The woman taken in adultery.

Jesus was not arguing with the judgment. Jesus was not arguing the law or the woman’s guilt. Jesus was arguing with our right to execute the woman. Once all the men had dropped their stones Jesus confronted the woman and asked her if any of the men were still there to condemn her. When she answered “No man, Lord”, Jesus told her that neither did He – He forgave her of her sin.

He did not excuse the sin of adultery/prostitution; he forgave her of it.

All behavior and thought that is sinful before forgiveness is still sinful after forgiveness. Not only was Jesus not afraid to call a sin a sin, He was not afraid to call a sinner a sinner. He even reminded her of the sin of adultery/prostitution by telling her “Go and sin no more.”

So what is the Point?

Jesus did not argue the act of judging the chosen behavior of the adulteress/prostitute. 

Some have told us Christians should be more tolerant. “Tolerance” has become quite probably the most one-sided word in the English language. Christians as well as non-Christians expect the “other” to use more tolerance in their dealings with them.

It is Christians who practice tolerance who pull people away from the CHRIST of Christianity. Practicing the Christian faith and what is expected of it is being very intolerant … of sin … even our own by His Word, not yours or mine, by embracing the sinner but not embracing the sin; by helping the sinner out of bondage to the sin by loving him/her enough to tell the Truth.

On Judgment Day, Jesus will send the unforgiven sinner into the fiery pits of Hell in a heartbeat.

Now that is intolerance. Of sin. And Rightly so.

He further will not excuse any single sinful act or behavior. It is worth repeating in the example of the adulteress/prostitute; Jesus forgave her sin but did not excuse it. Adultery/prostitution is just as sinful now, after Jesus forgave the woman of it, as it was before He forgave her. He will forgive us all our sins — past, present, future — if we are humble enough to ask believing. But He will not excuse any sinful behavior. All behavior that is sinful before forgiveness is still sinful after.

Clearly, the Bible teaches the importance of judging between morality and immorality in order to serve and honor God. To ignore this fact is to ignore all of the scriptures just presented, and also many other scriptures throughout the Bible.

The Bible also tells us how we are to pass judgment on one another. God has given us a complete set of rules, and as long as we do not exceed these limitations, there is no sin in judging someone else unless we are hypocrites, and are guilty of the sinful act of Self-Righteousness.  (Judging from our own righteousness instead of the righteousness of God)

 

 

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This may be one of the most misused verses in the Bible. It is used mainly to beat Christians over the head, when we have an opinion of some sinful act or behavior.  First, let’s define what standard we judge someone on. If we are going to judge, I should think we would use sin as our base line. Sin as defined by the Bible.

So let’s define “sin”, as in John 1:29.  What is this “Sin” (not sins of the world. Singular NOT plural) because, after all, what are we judging?  If we judge others “sin” against what we do/believe, aren’t we setting ourselves up as the ultimate Judge?

We live in a culture where the concept of sin has become entangled in legalistic arguments over right and wrong. When many of us consider “What is sin?” we think of violations of the Ten Commandments. Even then, we tend to think of murder and adultery as “major” sins compared with lying, cursing, or idolatry. 
The truth is that sin, as defined in the original translations of the Bible, means, “to miss the mark.” The mark, in this case, is the standard of perfection established by God and evidenced by Jesus. Viewed in that light, it is clear that we are all sinners. 

As we see in Romans 3:23: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Often it seems as if sin is simply the violation of any of God’s laws, including the Ten Commandments. 
Paul, however, puts this in perspective in Romans 3:20, when he says, “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.”

We say that someone is sinful because of the actions, but I say that does not define “sin”. The actions/behaviors we see and do, are a direct result of the sin.

The “Unpardonable Sin” is listed in Matt. 12:30-32. This equates to NOT believing Jesus Christ is who he say he is. Either we side with Jesus, or we are against him.  Again in Luke 12: 8-10, Jesus says to “speak” against him is forgivable, but to speak against the Holy Spirit is not.  This sin is made manifest in our Self-Righteous attitude. We are putting ourselves in a position above God.

Author Dr. Henry Morris insightfully clarifies the true nature of Pharisees’ sin:

“The unforgivable sin of speaking against the Holy Spirit has been interpreted in various ways, but the true meaning cannot contradict other Scripture. It is unequivocally clear that the one unforgivable sin is permanently rejecting Christ (John 3:18; 3:36). Thus, speaking against the Holy Spirit is equivalent to rejecting Christ with such finality that no future repentance is possible. ‘My spirit shall not always strive with man,’ God said long ago (Genesis 6:3).

…In the context of this particular passage (Matthew 12:22-32), Jesus had performed a great miracle of creation, involving both healing and casting out a demon, but the Pharisees rejected this clear witness of the Holy Spirit. Instead they attributed His powers to Satan, thus demonstrating an attitude permanently resistant to the Spirit, and to the deity and saving Gospel of Christ”

I also believe that this is one of the largest issues in the dialogue within the Church on this subject, as one group will define “Sin” with reference to action, and another with reference to desire.

I would like to use an example in order to support my definition. Let’s say I am a man who struggles a lot with lust. Jesus said that if a man lusts after a woman he has already committed adultery (Matthew 5:28). If I have these intense desires to do so, does it make me an adulterer? I view (homosexuality, murder, adultery, stealing, etc.) as no different; your desire to commit sinful behavior (acts) would then make you sinful even if we didn’t act on it.

On the surface, this difference in definition seems trivial, but it becomes much more important when you realize just how much damage it has done. A man calls himself gay because he desires to sleep with another man, the world tells him that being gay is just part of who he is. The Church condemns homosexuality, in accordance with the things they find in scripture, and we define homosexuality by action. Neither party clarifies their definition, and the man feels condemned by the Church because what he has been lead to believe is just a part of who he is.

Before dialogue can continue on this subject, both parties need to make their definitions clear, or people will just keep walking away from the Church under a false belief that the Church condemns who they are at their very core.

Romans 3:23 says: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Now the question is: “Condemned” and “Not Condemned”.  John 3:18, Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.

Using that verse, the church has no part in condemning. That is something that happens on a higher level. In this context, it would seem that being condemned and committing sin is the same thing.

Now that we have an understanding of “sin”, we will look at Judging.  Since the Christian is told to judge, what and how are we to judge?

Next we will talk about “Judging”.

 

 

 

 

 

Broken People

Posted: February 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

i-fix-machines-all-day-but-i-cannot-fix-my-gay-son

This picture has gotten over 43, 000 “Likes” and over 2,200 “Comments” on Facebook. I would say this is a trigger issue for a lot of people. It seems there are many thousands of opinions. But opinions are just that: Opinions.

However, the truth DOES matter.
And this Father is correct. At least in part. He can’t “fix” his son. It isn’t because he isn’t broken. He is. We all are.

And just like a machine cannot fix itself, we humans cannot fix ourselves.

Now for the truth: Only Jesus can lift us from this life of depravity. 
As I read some of the 2K + comments, I was saddened by the depravity of the mindset of some posters.

They seemed to come from all walks of life: Some agreed, some liked, some disliked, some gay, some Christians, but many vile, hateful comments. The only thing I didn’t see (I didn’t read them all) is we are all without hope: Without Jesus.

I wondered why we can’t just accept people where they are, wherever that may be, instead of categorizing the sinful nature of the person. A person created in the image of Almighty God!

However: Sin is NOT behaviors. Behaviors are the result of Sin. We don’t lie because we are liars, we are liars – therefore we lie. We are born liars. We are born thieves. We are born in sin, and we will die in sin.

Jesus came to be a sacrifice and pay for the Sin (not sins) of mankind. That sin is the fact that we do NOT trust our lives and eternity to Jesus the Christ. That forgiveness covers ALL the other behaviors (read sins) we commit daily.

The only choice we have – is where we will spend eternity. And WE can’t fix that.

This Father has a better concept of life than many of us.

It isn’t about right or wrong.

It is about Life or Death.

“Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything;(read behaviors) what counts is the new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God.” Galatians, chapter 6, verses 15 and 16. From the New International Version of the Holy Bible. (bold by me)

We can concoct all kinds of doctrines and motivations for righteous living, but the only thing that matters is the New Creation.

Those whose life is in Jesus are not exempt from committing sins, even vile sins. But according to Romans, chapter 8, verses 1-3, from the New International Version of the Holy Bible: 
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. (bold by me)

That’s it.

We are NOT sinless, we are sin Exempt. Spiritually only. If we do stupid behaviors, we still get sick or hurt.

No, this Father cannot fix his son. Not because he is not broken, but because a broken person cannot fix or condemn another broken person.

And we are all broken – Without Jesus the Christ.

It isn’t my job as a Christian to “fix” anyone.  It’s my job to introduce people to Jesus the Christ.  Then love them – unconditionally.

To help deal with under-performing staff, here is a guide to help determine why the person may under-perform and possible courses of actions to take.

Turning a blind eye to mediocre performance implies you are condoning sub-standard work.  The best course of action is to identify and confront problems early.  Meet with the person to determine the reason for under-performance and take the necessary steps.  However if improvement does not occur, be clear about the consequences.

Unclear targets and expectations Many times we, as leaders, are vague and brief in our instructions. Therefore, the staff, or volunteer, does not know what they’re supposed to do.  And it’s very possible they may be fearful of admitting to their “boss” they don’t understand. Identify expected outcomes and completion dates. Always ask for feedback and accept it gracefully and patiently. Instructions must be clear and understood to be followed.

Poor ‘fit’ for the task or position Fit is one of the most difficult things to measure, yet the success or failure often rests with how well the staff or volunteer’s behaviors, interests and preferences blend with others on staff. Maybe having a blunt discussion with the person to determine jointly if the chemistry is right.

No rewards for doing a good job Rewards, in the form of personal recognition, can be simple and very effective.  Saying ‘thank you’ for a job well done, giving a gift card to a local restaurant, or writing a brief note of appreciation will go a long way to motivating people. Be specific in praise.

The Person does not have the skills or knowledge to do the job The source of this problem is, again, in the Leadership process.  You may have “inherited” the person, there be “nepotism” involved, and it’s “politically incorrect” to change, but regardless of the original cause; a Leader must move to quickly identify where the gaps exist and provide the necessary training to do the job properly.

Staff do not understand how their job fits in the big picture In other words, does the person realize how important their success is to the overall mission of the organization?  All tasks in any situation are important; otherwise they wouldn’t be there. Let people know how valuable their role is.

Poor relationship with the leader Studies have shown this is the #1 reason why people underperform.  In my experience, one of the most common reasons for this poor relationship is the leader attempting to apply what I call a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to managing.  We fail to recognize that each person takes in information differently and responds in different ways. Spend some time with them to understand “how” they sort communication.

Family or health issues conflict with work There may be concerns over their home life, health issues, even stress, could cause issues. Sometimes a person will not be open about these things, maybe seeing them as an embarrassment. An open, supportive workplace with a focus on health and wellness will help employees achieve a better balance between their work life and home life.

ELECTION: 2012

For the first time in U.S. history, a major party candidate for the presidency is a Mormon, an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

In the long view of American history, this is not the first time Christians have been confronted with a presidential election challenge.

We must remember that although we have long referred to the United States as a Christian nation, we are not a theocracy. That is what Islamic governments attempt to institute through the implementation of Sharia law. The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States declares, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

America is in trouble. We need God! We have lost our spiritual way, placing our trust in substitutes or despairing about the future. However, the salvation and spiritual depth of our nation will not be led by the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court, or the Republican or Democratic parties. We still need leaders. The alternative is anarchy.

There are times when Christian voters are faced with an electoral dilemma. We MUST ask this question: “No matter the candidate’s stated religious preference, are there indications or evidence the candidate truly would uphold the First Amendment in respecting religious freedom and not subordinate it to political views of a different persuasion?” Clearly, a candidate’s substance – the actions that flow out of beliefs – matters more than religious appearances.

Christians must always prayerfully choose from available electoral options. Who appears most likely to respect rather than curtail Christian freedoms in our nation? Who appears most likely to take stances that honor biblical convictions? American politics is a rough and tumble sport, downright ugly at times. We must prayerfully and wisely vote for (but not endorse the religious beliefs of) candidates whom we determine will be either supportive of or at least respectful of our freedoms and understand the valuable role churches play in the moral fabric and direction of our nation. REMEMBER: Jesus, not the president, saves souls.

We have been told from all parts of society that we should not mix politics and religion, the Church and the state. However, for Christians, faith is meant to be instructive to them in their relationships, their careers and all aspects of their lives.

Instead of shying away from the issue, these are the principles by which I believe all Christians should vote.

Vote For Citizens

Even though we have dual-citizenship, (in this world and Heaven) we are nevertheless citizens of the towns, states and country in which we reside. Voting for Citizens means we should not simply vote for what we think is best for people in the Church, but rather as a citizen of Ft. Lee, or New Jersey or the United States.

Vote With Knowledge

You should know where each candidate stands on numerous of issues. If you don’t inform yourself, then you are merely becoming the type of person who gets swayed by negative ads.

Part of the problem is too many Christians have become One-Issue Voters (same sex marriage; abortion; taxes; military strength; Israel) and once they encounter a candidate who doesn’t agree with them on the hot-button issue, then they stop listening and stop learning.

Vote For Others

Throughout Scripture, we are called to be advocates for those who have no advocate. We are called to be a voice for the voiceless, to stand up for those who have no standing. Cast your vote for the benefit of others.

Don’t simply vote for whoever will give you the best tax break or the best health plan. Rather, use your vote to bless others.

Vote With Hope

This election is about hope. The rhetoric among the parties is about who will raise America out of the recession, who will create new jobs, who will change the trajectory of our nation in the world at large.

But, as Christians, we need to realize we need to Vote Without Hope. Don’t place your hope in any one person. Ultimately, whomever wins will not deliver on every promise. Neither candidate will be able to accomplish everything they intend. And in four years, we will probably be using the rhetoric of hope once again to nominate new presidential candidates.

However, we can Vote WITH Hope. That is because we believe in a God who is sovereign over the president and Congress and supreme over the Supreme Court.

This information was gleaned from articles written by:

Randall Bach and Richard Lee

 

 

 

Bonnie Ware, an Australian nurse, has spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives.  As Ware walked with her patients through the final stages of their lives, she witnessed how many of her patients gained “phenomenal clarity of vision” as they approached death. Ware claims, “When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again.”   According to Ware, these are the top five regrets of the dying:

1.  I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.  Bonnie Ware added, “Health brings a freedom few realize, until they no longer have it.”

2.  I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. Ware observed, “This regret came from every male patient that I nursed.”

3.  I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.  “Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others …. Many patients developed illnesses related to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”

4.  I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends. “There are many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”

5.   I wish I’d let myself be happier. “Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits.”

I didn’t live my convictions and speak my mind.  I worked too much.  I was not a good friend.  I didn’t allow myself to be happy.  These were the top regrets of people near death.  What regrets do you have? Where do you feel that you have failed?  May you experience the promise of Jesus who said in Matt. 11:28, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”

New Year’s Resolution 2012

Posted: January 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

ImageI have finally gotten around to establishing my New Year’s Resolution for 2012. I am keeping it short this year, which will make it easier to remember. I have decided to use the K.I.S.S. system in doing this. 

KISS stands for:

Keep

It

Simple

Stupid

So here goes:

  1. I resolve to buy my clothes in a size larger than those which have a snug fit. Because I look good in baggy clothes, they are the rage, and most important; with my “trend to expand”, I will probably grow into them.
  2. I resolve to laugh at once every day. Just reading Facebook each day affords me that. I can’t believe some of the pathetic lives some people live, and then post about.  One woman was complaining about her husband cheating on her so much, that she doesn’t think the baby she is pregnant with is his.
  3. I resolve to continue my innate ability to filter out the voices that strive to project me to do things I really don’t want to do. My wife says I am really good at that, so I resolve to hone my skills in that area.                                                                                                                          On another note: I am concerned about my wife. I think she may be in the early stages of dementia. Several times she has said, with exasperation in her voice, that she has told me many times to do a thing – and I don’t remember her ever saying it.
  4. I resolve to continue my never-ending quest to find the most comfortable position, on the most comfortable piece of furniture in the house to test my eyelids for leakage, while I am “watching” the sports channel on T.V.

There you have it. I said it would be short and I think I can keep these this year.

My prayer is that you will have a BLESSED year.