Monday, February 8, 2016


I do not think it means what you think it means

you can buy this snarky bag here
     Is it just me or is our culture obsessed with judgement?  Apparently, one of the worst things a person can possibly be is judgmental. It's everywhere. Did you catch it in the Disney movie "Frozen" while your kids were watching it a zillion times? Kristoff sees a whole castle made of ice and confesses he might cry. What does Anna say? "Go ahead. I won't judge".  
    So maybe we shouldn't make fun of people for their preferences,  but it's gone way beyond that. We've gotten to the place where any sort of disagreement at all is categorized as disapproval, arrogance, or even hate. Many who like to throw around the word judge often do so by citing the Bible. Sort of. 
    "Whoever is without sin can cast the first stone. Don't judge." 
    Yep. Jesus did say that. The stone throwing part, anyway. But let's back up and look at the actual passage because context is everything. 

2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,”Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

When Jesus told them they couldn't throw stones unless they were sinless He was talking about actual rocks they were going to literally throw at her actual head. Jesus didn't tell them not to say she had done something wrong.  He wasn't being metaphorical when He was talking about throwing stones.  He wasn't talking about hurting the woman's feelings. He didn't say they were hateful for disagreeing with her choices.  He reminded them that they were all sinners, too, and were not qualified to have the authority to decide her fate. Jesus told her He didn't condemn her (though He was and is without sin) and then He said something that I believe our culture would call judgmental: "Go now and leave your life of sin." 
When He tells us not to condemn it does not mean that we shouldn't ever deem someone's actions unwise, it means that we are not to set ourselves up in superiority over them. Those two things are just not the same. It comes down to a heart issue. 
Jesus also said in Matthew chapter 7 "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." So I'm not saying it's okay to think we're superior to someone because we think we're "less bad" by comparison.  But when Jesus tells us not to judge He's not giving anyone a get-out-of-jail-free card. It does mean we need to be patient with one another, but it does not mean there's no such thing as accountability. 

No comments:

Post a Comment