Okay, a couple of things that I want to address from KR. First, proselytizing. I’m surprised that someone got that from the post that it was referring to. The original post was just an inspirational paragraph about looking to Jesus for hope and strength, but someone chose to perceive it otherwise. So, they have to bash and accuse and be intolerant in the name of tolerance (explain that!).
Then the whole idea of “judging” comes up again. “Don’t judge me”, “don’t tell me my beliefs are wrong” and above all else, “don’t tell me that I’m going to hell.”
Well, I have a few thoughts about all of it! If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you will be able to discern those who are not. It’s pretty simple. You can tell by their fruit. That being said, you were once in their shoes-unbelief. You have a responsibility to love them, show them Jesus in your life, and share the hope that you now have. Judging them based on their sins is foolishness, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Until you come to Christ, the only sin that matters is unbelief. You should warn those around you and you certainly shouldn’t lower God’s standards, you must speak up for righteousness, but man’s righteousness “is as filthy rags”. Without Christ, you cannot be truly righteous.
Now, if someone claims to be a Christian, we can judge.
1 Cor. 5:12 through 1 Cor. 5:13 (NIV) 12What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”£
Strongs Hebrew and Greek Dictionary defines judge:
Properly to distinguish, that is, decide (mentally or judicially); by implication to try, condemn, punish:—avenge, conclude, condemn, damn, decree, determine, esteem, judge, go to (sue at the) law, ordain, call in question, sentence to, think.
We have a responsibility to judge those who claim to be Christians, to hold them up to God’s standards of righteousness.
As for unbelievers and “sinners”, Jesus spent considerable amounts of time with them, eating with them, socializing with them. But, he didn’t mince words. He taught them about the Kingdom of God, how to enter the Kingdom of God, and that obedience is essential and he told them to “go and sin no more.” When he sent his disciples out to share with the people, he told them that if they would listen, share, otherwise, shake the dust off their feet and move on. We need to be open to sharing with those around us, but it’s important to move on if people are hostile to the gospel. Just a few feet down the road, God may have another heart prepared, someone who knows that the Lord is calling them, but doesn’t know what the next step should be.
Our society is in the shape it is in because people kept saying “live and let live”, “who am I to judge”, maybe I should say “the church” is in the shape it’s in because of these things. If the people in the churches were living like they were supposed to, different from the world, maybe Christianity would be more appealing to unbelievers. As it is right now, they just see a bunch of self-righteous people telling unbelievers how to live and letting the church live like the world. They see our divorce rates are just as high as the rest of society, our abortion rates are just as high, and our desires for our children have more to do with a good education and material success than having a relationship with Jesus Christ (this just came out in a recent survey).
Do we keep speaking up for morality? Of course. Do we speak up for truth? Absolutely! Do we correct misconceptions and distortions? Yes! All those things are important, but the most important thing is living it! Showing people Jesus 24/7. He is our example and He is the judge. He will judge those outside the church for their unbelief, their hardened hearts, I don’t have to. I just have to keep sharing, keep loving, keep going!
Today is my 41st birthday. It really is an odd number, but I’m liking my 40’s. I just want to say how thankful I am for the life the Lord has given me. I’m blessed to have a GREAT GOD and SAVIOR, a wonderful husband, wonderful children (who teach me so much), a fabulous, loving mom, an awesome dad, a great step-dad, amazing and awesome friends who encourage and build me up, a godly pastor who leaves no stone unturned, who has taught us the priceless value of God’s Word, of learning it and living it, a wonderful church family, the coolest doggie ever, wonderful internet friends, and so many more blessings that it would take forever to list them!
As my friend, Sandy, would say (even as she awaits her trip home to Heaven), “God is good all the time, all the time, God is good.”