Happy New Month!
To every citizen of my blessed nation (Nigeria) – Happy Independence Day!
Whether or not some feel like celebrating either of the two above is not what I’m about. I’m celebrating all day, every day, for good reasons and bad reasons. If you’d like, I could share my reasons with you later.
I know it’s been quiet here for a while (last week). I’ve had a few battles going on but thanks to the power WHO is (within), I have conquered. By way of apology, today’s post is going to be really really long. I’m just going to be sharing on something I personally encounter or have to tackle almost every-single-day! The specific incident that triggered this post was actually a comment I saw somewhere and decided it could help to set a few crooked things straight for those who yet holding heavy misconceptions about the concept of ‘judging’ – especially as pertains to scriptural reference.
Okay so, who remembers the story of the adulterous woman in the bible? You know, the one who was caught in adultery (adultery she was obviously not committing with herself by the way) and had folks chasing her and itching to stone her for her obvious ‘filth’ and despicability? Don’t ring any bells? You need to stop reading now and go through the story sir/ma’am >> (John 8:3-11). Don’t worry, take your time – we’ll wait.
Don’t play. Go and read it friend! It makes this more fun. 🙂
You should be done now. So, in the comment the person used that woman in the story as a reference, saying folks should basically ‘buzz off’ because they’d no right to judge her for anything she did (right or wrong) because only God does. And that even Jesus didn’t judge the adulterous woman in the bible when they brought her before Him, testing Him to see if He’d negate the law instead of condemning her as they’d already done. According to this unknown individual, Jesus didn’t even judge her but instead made the mean people go away and told her she could go and that was that. Of course there was a bit more to her rant (it was really that, I’m making it all very polite for your sake) but that was mostly the gist of it. I laughed and mentally shook my head when I read that aggressive rebuttal to all present and prospective ‘judgers’.
Isn’t it terribly saddening (with a tinge of humorous), when folks decide to see only what they wish to see in the word of God? Through out scripture, one common thread you can detect is that of balance. There is always balance. So when persons go off on some tangent, presuming they can pick and choose what aspects to heed and the others to disregard, it strikes me as really sad. You can learn and be conformed and be enlightened by ALL aspects of scripture, if you would open your heart and permit the Holy Spirit to teach you and guide your understanding into all truth (not when we let bias, human weakness, filters, misconceptions, biblical distortion or deceit do the interpretation for us).
Sure Jesus didn’t go with the crowd when they brought the woman caught in adultery to him to be stoned.
But, neither did he laud her. Or pretend she had not sinned. Or pretend he didn’t know what they were accusing her of or talking about.
In truth, two points of that story I believe many like to conveniently omit are:
- Jesus forgave her. There wouldn’t be any need for forgiveness if there was no sin committed.
- He instructed her to leave her life of sin on her departure. Not only does that identify her actions as something Jesus considered (judged) to be sinful, it clearly shows that Jesus didn’t expect her to take His mercy and forgiveness as a license to wallow in the sin she had grown accustomed to. He expected her to repent and turn away from her past filth. Not merely so people wouldn’t try to stone her when he wasn’t around but because He had forgiven.
Surely you can detect the implied truth here – His mercy and forgiveness were not extended to this lady as tools of ‘clucking sympathy’, nor were they a pat on the back for her sexual sin but rather, the received mercy and forgiveness of Jesus Christ ought to have transformational effect in her life. In anyone’s life.
But that’s not what a lot of people want to hear these days.
They yell; “Are you God?” or “Who gave you the right to judge us?” and they feel justified in their rebuke because as far as they’re concerned we aren’t authorized to judge anyone or anything.
Well now, I’m not so sure about that.
A common mistake made by those who read the bible solely to prove points or back arguments or confirm their biases or whatever, as opposed to those who read it with the belief that it is truth that possesses transforming power to change their lives and renew their minds, is that the former take a lot of things at surface meaning, read out of context, or/and don’t bother attempting to discern any deeper meaning that may have escaped their understanding. Who told these folks that ‘judge’ as used in scripture has ONLY ONE contextual application and meaning? No really, show me the person. -_-In as much as we aren’t the ‘final’ judges over the destination of man’s soul, we do carry a lot of responsibility in this race we’re on and ‘judging’ isn’t excluded (1 Timothy 4:6/ 1 Corinthians 6:2-5). Responsibility laid upon us, mind you, by the One who will judge us all. (1 Corinthians 11:32/ 2 Timothy 4:1)
Another thing that tries to confuse me is the attempts made to justify sinning or advocate for liberty to live in sin, as persons refuse to grant any permission to put before them the very truth they’ve managed to hide from themselves. They use the claim that God alone sees their innards and is the only one privy to their true motives/situations/realities or whatever – and we (the unauthorized judgers) are NOT Him. That’s true, but what about knowing folks by their fruits (Matthew 7:16), how we can be identified by the company we keep (Proverbs 13:20), how even children can be judged based on their actions (Proverbs 20:11), shining light for people to SEE (Matthew 5:16)…. There are scriptures provided amply in the word of God to show He doesn’t expect your sincere devotion and conversion to Him to remain locked up in your heart, ignored and oppressed out of effectiveness. But here’s the thing; forget us. Let’s say we aren’t in line when we call out evil and make a fuss (even though we are – Isaiah 5:20). Some, by their carrying on, show they don’t even know this God whom they rightly acknowledge knows them best. If you don’t know Him, what’s your base for identifying who God is and who isn’t? You don’t even know Him! If I don’t know a certain person, I doubt I’d do a good job identifying either an impostor, or even an understudy of such a person. If Jesus walked up to some people right now to correct them about something, they’d probably yell in His face; “LEAVE ME ALONE! YOU’RE NOT GOD!!” (and if I were nearby, I’d probably fall into a fit of guffaws).
Also, do people and authorities and kingdoms not have representatives? Would an ambassador of Nigeria in a foreign country be expected to call the president for directives each time he was asked a basic question about the nation he is supposed to be representing? That would be ludicrous. He’s been made an ambassador to represent the nation because his judgment and devotion to that nation is trusted to a reasonable extent and he can be relied upon within reason, to uphold the interest and dictates of his beloved nation wherever he may go. Of course there can still be ambassadors who shame their nation and are ignorant of what exactly it is they stand for but that does not represent the majority of people you’d call ambassadors.
It’s the same thing here! Some of us, by divine revelation and no power of our own, know our God (John 10:27) – His desires and His dictates – well enough. So we are able to spot stuff that push against and negate them from a distance away. And because we love Him we have to uphold what we know He stands for and would be pleased by (Romans 12:2). It’s only natural.
So dearest, chances are, if folks knew – really knew – the God they’re so certain everyone else isn’t, we may not have to share anything with them or make so many loving suggestions/corrections. Why? Because they would know God and His take on matters; they would know the kind of things He’d be pleased at and what would disgust Him; they’d know how utterly deserving of every fiber of loyalty and adoration and obedience within us He is. Oh, they would know! And the conversation would hardly arise because we would ALL be living God glorifying lives, rejoicing in rebuke and striving towards perfection everyday in humility and love.
But the point is, they don’t know.