11/1/10

Judge Mental.

I had a conversation recently that took me for a spin. In terms of food for thought, I've had enough leftovers for a week.

This conversation centered on condemnation, and the main point of contention has a lot to do with rules and precepts laid down in the Bible. Catch phrases like "It's not our place to judge" and "God is love" and "He's not going to let people go to hell" flew thicker than junebugs in spring.

It was an intense time, y'all.

Rules have been a problem pretty much since the beginning of time. Remember that one thing, that one time? Something to do with Eve, a serpent, and a forbidden tree?

Yeah.

The whole rule thing continues to be an issue. But in today's politically correct world, the concept of knowing right and doing wrong has taken an interesting turn. Lines between right and wrong and ideas of responsibility have begun to blur into a watered-down version of 'God is love' and 'don't judge'.

After all, it's not popular or socially correct to acknowledge a judgement seat, consequences, or a moral right to judge or regulate the actions of our fellow man.

I'm not gonna lie. I'm a boundary pusher. Possibly genetic, definitely controversial, it's a trait that's earned me countless spankings, untold heartache, and the occasional new concept that has shaped my growing, changing perception of life. That's why I feel qualified to recognize boundaries. I mean, someone with my experience in testing them should know one when it shows up.

I'm just sayin'.

And right and wrong? Those are definitely boundaries, and yes, that is my FINAL ANSWER. The Bible is as clear about those dirty little things God calls 'sins' as it is about redemption and grace. And although we're cautioned to avoid judging our fellow man by outward appearances, to work out our own salvation, and to give no thought to hearsay, the Bible never says 'accept everything from everyone because we all have a right to be what we want to be and still get to go to heaven'.

Which is the point my dear friend was making. And one I feel strongly about.

God is love. He is patient, longsuffering, and gracious. But by nature, He is holy and just. He is our righteous Judge as well as our loving heavenly Father. Romans 2:4-11 [NLT paraphrase] says this:

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?

But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself.

For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness.

There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil, but there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good, for God does not show favoritism.

No matter how you slice and dice it, God's word is very clear about His expectations. He extends grace to us, but not without responsibility. We are commanded to self-regulate - to search our own hearts for sin and seek to align ourselves with Him. We're taught to pursue holy living through prayer and fellowship, study of the Word of God, and self-judgment that averts the judgment of God. 

Sometimes that hits a little too close to home. None of us want to look honestly into our own hearts and see the compromises and weak spots that leave us vulnerable to the influences of everything and everyone around us.

But it's crucial to salvation. Recognizing right from wrong, light from darkness, and good from evil isn't an option. That's why the thought of countless people professing Christianity and ignoring His commands in the same breath troubles me. Where is the line drawn when everything blurs into gray and evil things become acceptable and even protected by a blissfully ignorant, all-inclusive love from a mystical, far-away Almighty?

Why are we so quick to gloss over sins with an excuse, or a reason, or a quick nod to a God who will surely understand and forgive because He's good like that?

I don't want to live in a world without boundaries and responsibility, and I have a feeling that God doesn't want to live in a heart without them, either, so I'm taking a look at the things I endorse and especially that I take into my heart.

After all, I have the leftovers to live with. =)
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[the alohilana blog] by R. Jones is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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