A Spiritual Revolution 3 - Do Not Judge
Updated: Oct 8, 2019
Chan Gin Kai
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:37-38)
As Christians, we need to discern right from wrong, choose the correct path, and help guide others towards it as well. But pride often creeps in and corrupts our efforts. Righteousness becomes self-righteousness, and confidence becomes arrogance. How do we draw the line so that we won’t be deceived by our own conceit, even as we strive to do what’s right?
Jesus taught that we should not pass judgment or condemn others. But that does not mean universal acceptance of any lifestyle, teachings or sins. Whether it is because we are too lazy to think or overly trusting of what others say, we human beings tend to think too single dimensionally. We allow crafty politicians, shrewd special interest groups, manipulative people and even self-righteous pastors to sway us to polar opposites with their guile: Either you’re for me or against me. If you don’t agree with us, you’re intolerant and hateful to everyone like us. If you love me, you must accept everything I do. If you don’t accept my view, you’re disobeying God.
Unconditional love is not unconditional approval. We can love people and accept them without loving or accepting the things that they do. We are all sinners and we have all loved other sinners without approving of their sins. We have all made wrong choices and have loved people who have made wrong choices without agreeing to their choices.
So why do we allow discussions over certain sins, choices and lifestyles to be elevated above all others? Why are there more arguments over supposedly “controversial issues” like abortion, homosexuality and contraception than casual sex, adultery or materialism? The latter three are more rampant by far and arguably even more destructive to our social fabric. So why do we allow opposing camps of these “controversial issues” to draw us into their arguments? I’ve never met anyone who repented of his sins or changed his lifestyle because he got convinced by the mudslinging over social media. But I know many who are won over through personal Bible studies and love.
He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? (Luke 6:39)
Jesus emphasised the need for us to focus on our personal righteousness. We tend to think the worst of others while we accept our own excuses. We speak more about others’ faults but secretly hide our own. We dismiss the good that others have done, but elevate the little that we have accomplished. Let us pay more attention to getting ourselves right with God.
Jesus taught against the self-righteous condemnation of others, and the hypocritical denial of our own sins. But he didn’t in any way say that we shouldn’t teach or help others. Neither are we to turn a blind eye to the sins of people around us while we focus only on our own. Instead, he logically explained, albeit through a humorous (or even sarcastic) example, that we become more effective in helping others when we have managed to change ourselves.
“How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Luke 6:42)
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Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. In church, he serves as a mentor to young professionals in the EDGE Ministry. He describes himself as "just a sinner who wants to get right with God".