May I first unfold some preface? I am a believer, or what most may call a Christian. Although I have cringed at being called a “Christian” because I do not feel worthy to be called “Christ Like” nor worthy to be a follower of Christ. I am however very thankful that Christ thought and thinks I am worthy and died for a sinner such as I.
I voiced a proclamation of faith at the young age of about fifteen. However, I did not fully grasp the concept, meaning and surrendering until my mid twenties. I will confess my faith has been tested and my journey has been a bit of a roller coaster ride, however through it all, I know who I am, what I am about, and to Whom I serve.
In my decades of being a “Believer” aka “Christian”, I have obviously had a lot of experiences. I have attended more messages and sermons that I may be able to count. I have had the privilege and blessing to go on and preach on a Missions Trip, teach Sunday School classes, lead Men’s Ministries and Young Married’s Retreats. I have also been part of a church treasury team and what some may call a Deacon.
Through a few years of living on this earth, my experiences, trial and errors, I believe I have gained some wisdom, not only from some wise people, but from the Word of God, and how He has spoken to me through the years. Through this I have discovered that some Christians seem to “eat their own”. What do I mean by this, it seems some Christians or so called Christians seem quick to judge, and tear down other Christians, not just privately but often in a rather public way. I have had my fill of this, so stick a fork in me, I am done. See what I did there? Eat, Fill, Fork, Done? Any how, let me get back to a more serious tone…
I cringe each time I see other Christians get on this bandwagon of judging other Christians, especially over man made rules, or doctrinal issues. Who is any other believer or Christian to judge another believer or Christian? First of all, we are not The Judge, someONE has that job, and I certainly would not want it.
If we as Christians believe the bible is the inspired Word of God, then why are we not relying upon it more? Let’s first begin with a verse that may be well known by many:
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? — Matthew 7:1–3
Then some Christian Apologists may chime in with, “Well Don, we are to correct, instruct, and doctrine is good for all of that” First of all the word “doctrine” is from the KJV version. Not that I am against the KJV version before someone sends me some more hate mail. I did memorize a lot of scripture from the King James Version, however I prefer the ESV version. I can go into a lot of dialogue about versions, and why I read a variety, but this article is not meant to open that can right now. The ESV version is:
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, for every good work.”
I believe this ESV version is more reflective of what is meant in a English Standard context. It does not say “Doctrine” it shares teaching, reproof, correction, training, so that the man of God MAY be COMPLETE, FOR EVERY GOOD WORK. No where does it say condemn, judge, ridicule, or tear down, whether privately or publicly. What I also think that some Christians forget is the majority of the rest of the New Testament in that what we do, we should do in love. That others will know Jesus, know God, know that we are believers, know that we are Disciples for the love we have for one another.
Here in this verse below we read Jesus wanted to drive home a point, especially when the religious of that day wanted to trip Him up;
“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” — Matthew 22:37–40
How about what Paul wrote to the church of Corinth?
“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” — 1 Corinthians 13:13
And what is love?
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” 1 Corinthians 13:4–7
So let me ask you a question, how is condemning, and publicly calling out what someone may think or believe is a sin, demonstrating love? How is publicly announcing what a person deems as sin, not judgement, or saying “that’s not Christian like”, not casting judgment?
I do believe that we as members of the Body of Christ, meaning Christians should lead, teach, encourage, inspire and coach others to the knowledge and understanding of the wisdom in the bible and that of Christ. However as this verses eludes, it should all be done in love;
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” — Hebrews 10:24–25
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Another thing I believe should be known that inevitably everyone has to pick up and carry their own cross, and work out their own salvation. This is between them and God. Here is a verse I believe reveals this;
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” — Philippians 2:12
Remember Jesus said, “Follow me” It was the person’s option to follow or not. It is their own free will to do so. You are not going to lead someone to a full understanding of Christ by beating them over the head with a bible, judging them, and telling them how awful each flaw they may have may be, or for each mistake, you deem as a mistake, that they make. If you want to be more “Christlike”, a “Christian”, if you want to be a true follower of Christ, then learn to lead, love, teach, instruct, and serve like He did.
Remember what Jesus said to Peter after His return in John 21:15–17 as Jesus wanted to drive home a point. He asked Peter if He loved Him, and Peter answer yes each time, and Jesus answer was the same three times, “Feed My sheep” The sheep meaning humanity. To tend to them, care for them, to feed them with love and manna from God. You do not feed sheep something abrasive or toxic if you are to tend, and care for them.
I share all of this in that it is true in the saying, “you can catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar” Meaning you can lead more to the understanding of God, His Son, the Holy Spirit and eternal salvation by doing it with empathy, love, and wisdom than by condemnation, judgement and ridicule. Often it does not even take words, it is often more profound by actions and deeds. The biggest sermon you can give is the way in which you live and love.
So stick a fork in me, I am done! “Christians” out there that think they need to condemn, judge or scare the hell out of others, especially other Christians… STOP IT! Stop eating your own! LOVE the hell out of them instead.