I will never forget this one time that I was at a friend’s house. She offered one of my kids a pop-tart and a glass of milk. We weren’t big milk drinkers (still aren’t, in fact) and so I asked for a glass of orange juice for them, instead. You would have thought I said I was going to have an affair with the mailman.
“You drink orange juice with your pop-tart?! NO ONE drinks orange juice with a pop-tart. You have to drink milk!”
I was so taken aback. I mean – does it really matter what our family chooses to drink with our pop-tarts?
We Christians do this stuff ALL THE TIME. We judge others on the dumbest stuff.
We judge on —
–clothing styles (can you believe she got that dressed up to go there?)
–food choices (I can’t believe they go to fast food restaurants so often)
–cars (He must really be arrogant to drive that car)
–shopping choices (did you see the color of that stroller?)
–words (that was certainly an unintelligent thing to say to his boss)
–decor (that is the ugliest lamp I have ever seen!)
The list could go on and on. I have heard and made judgments about others more times than I can count. But when we stop to think about it, none of that stuff above really matters. Thankfully, God made us all differently and that means that she might like that lamp or the color of that stroller. Perhaps he is driving that car without any sense of arrogance, but instead gratitude towards God for allowing him the privilege to drive it. Perhaps that family chose to go for fast food several times in one week because of a busy schedule and rarely does that.
Ironically, oftentimes, those who judge the harshest on the things that don’t matter completely ignore the things that do matter. And so if someone dares to question a choice that would affect their relationship with God or their personal holiness, the cries of “you are judgmental!” leap from their lips.
For some reason, we have it all backwards in this Christian culture. It’s okay to judge others regarding the stuff that doesn’t matter, but how dare we judge the things that DO matter?
But God tells us in Matthew 16, that we will be able to tell believers and non-believers apart by their fruit. That means that we have to be judging the fruit in order to determine if it is good or bad. We are to be loving, kind, and patient…but we are to look for fruit. He also tells us in Galatians 6 to restore a brother gently if he is overtaken by a trespass. We cannot do this without looking at the fruit of our Christian brothers and sisters…what so many people like to call “judging”.
Look, I am not condoning that we all go out and conduct a mass judgement on our brothers and sisters in the Lord regarding their spiritual fruits. What I am saying is that A) we should never judge on the stuff that doesn’t matter and B) We need to carefully pray over and confront, if necessary, the stuff that does matter.
Oh, and one more thing–we can’t know what really matters to God if we don’t read His word. There is a lot of leftover legalism that is thrown around yet and so we need to be in God’s word and learning to know Him, so that we can truly understand what sin is and what holiness is and what it really means to please our Father in heaven.
Let’s offer so much grace for the stuff that doesn’t matter. I mean who really cares, anyway? We wouldn’t want to all be alike, now would we?
And let’s offer love and kindness if we do see a sin that needs confronted.
And, most importantly, let’s offer humility if we are the one in sin who gets confronted.
In my opinion, if every Christian would put these three things in practice it would change the entire culture of the church.
Galatians 6:1-2 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Matthew 7:13-20 Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.