Posts Tagged ‘judging’

There has been a national outrage recently about people using public bathrooms according to the sex that they identify with as a transgender person. (Just in case you’re unfamiliar with this transgender issue, it involves biological transgender males using a woman’s bathroom and biological transgender females using a men’s bathroom)

Many have even gone so far as to consider a boycott of Target Stores and other businesses who have publicly adopted policies that accommodate their transgender customers.

What these boycotters don’t realize is that these policies have been in place for years— they just haven’t been made public until now. There has probably been times when you have shared a public bathroom with a transgender person and didn’t even know it. (Because there are partitions between bathroom stalls in the larger public bathrooms)

Use the common sense approach

One common sense approach to this problem would be to design smaller unisex bathrooms with locking doors rather than sex-specific ones. (These are already employed in many hospitals and department stores)

That being said, with all of the talk about the fear of pedophiles and rapists disguising themselves as transgenders in order to molest a child or female in a public restroom, I wonder where the outrage is about the 1 out of 5 children that are being sexually abused by someone they know in their own home! Mention that to the same people that protest “transgender-friendly” bathrooms and all you hear is silence.

A more complicated issue

The transgender issue becomes more complicated when it comes to gym locker rooms and showers in public schools. I believe that the current situation in many schools violates the privacy rights of other non-transgender students. Some students already have insecurity problems of getting undressed in front of other students of their own sex as it is, much less having to get undressed in front of a biological boy or girl who are transgender.

I believe everyone has a right to education and dignity. But not at the expense of the majority of our students who would feel uncomfortable getting undressed in front of someone of the opposite sex. This isn’t about discriminating against particular students; this is about putting rules in place that EVERYONE can live with. It’s about allowing everyone a right to privacy. That’s why I think we need a compromise—Like possibly cordoning off a section of the student’s locker room or designating a portion of the showers as “transgender-friendly” so students know what to expect.

Look, I believe that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the creator of everything in this world; that Jesus is the only begotten son of God and our Messiah who will one day return and rule here on earth. And I believe that as a Christian, I am responsible to obey God’s commandments—including observing God’s holy feasts mentioned in the Bible. And it is my right to continue to believe these things without restraint. Now there are many who would disagree with my beliefs. (Including most Christians) But that does not give me the right to force others to conform to my beliefs.

In the same way that I have no right to make people who do not share my beliefs feel uncomfortable by forcing them to accommodate me, transgender people also have no right to make others feel uncomfortable by forcing them to accommodate their beliefs.

God did not make clones. He views every individual as he made them—males and females with certain unique sexual characteristics. Along with those traits, God has provided direction on how we are to relate to one another. There is no prohibition regarding a slightly more “masculine” female or a slightly more “feminine” male. God views them as he does anyone else, with love and delight, and he desires that they experience all the freedom that he designed them to have.

The more important question we should ask is, why do Christians spend so much time and effort judging and condemning the ways of the world, when there is so much sin within the modern Church today?

The apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Corinth on this very issue: “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. Purge the evil person from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5: 9-13)

The apostle appeals to our own conduct, that we only reprove and judge those within the Church. Nor did he pretend to exercise a power over others outside the Church. Not only that, but he admonished the Church that it would have been better if they had made use of the power they had over their own members, by admonishing and reproving those who continued to sin.

When this world comes to an end the Lord will not ask us how much effort we put into protesting the LGBT community, or Muslim refugees, or illegal immigrants. But he will ask, “Did you help one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine? Did you give them food and drink? Did you share what you had? Did you visit them when they were sick or in prison?” (Matthew 25:31-46)

“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1: 26-27)

The Bible says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matt. 7:1-2)

But is judging the same as condemning? Judging is used in more than one sense in the New Testament writings. The Greek word ‘krinō’ (or a form of it) is used for judge and judgment.

The Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthian church said: “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. (1 Cor. 5:1-3)

The Apostle concluded by telling them that they had to ‘judge’ this man by the word of God and then act on it! “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked man from among you.” (v.12-13)

“For judgment, (krima- condemnation of wrong) I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” (John 9:39)

Jesus said, “As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not ‘judge’ (krinō) him, for I did not come to ‘judge’ the world, but to save it. (John 12:47)

It seems that Jesus contradicts himself until we see how John uses two different Greek words for the word ‘judge’ and examine the context in which they are used.  The judgment in John 9:39 speak of final judgment. In John 12:47 the judgment Jesus said that he came to bring is krinō; i.e.; making a distinction between right and wrong. As in John 7:24: “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.” And Luke 12:57: “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?”

What kind of judging does God not forbid?

God does not forbid the judgments of the civil courts, (Rom. 13:1-7) or the judgment of the church upon disorderly members. (1 Cor. 5:1-13; 2 Thes. 3:6)

Matt. 7:6 tells us: “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”  So we must be able to recognize, (make a judgment) who the dogs and pigs are so we will know who not to give that which is sacred to.

And in Matt. 7:15-20 Jesus tells us to: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.”  But how can we fulfill this command if we are not able to judge who is a false teacher and who is not?

James exhort us to help restore those who have wandered from the truth and have been led into sin: Jas. 5:19-20- “My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” But unless we can determine (through an examination of the word of God) that a person is in sin (thus making a judgment), we cannot not turn him from the error of his way.

What is the wrong kind of judging?

  • Any judging that is neither positive nor conclusive or anything that is from insufficient evidence or from ill will is prohibited.

Romans 14:1 – “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.” Jas. 4:11-12: “Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.”

Sadly, I have experienced this more in group prayers than anywhere else. When asked who needs prayer someone will say something like, “Please pray for ‘Joe Christian’ because he is no longer walking with God and is using drugs again. He has also been seen with underage girls.” This is nothing more than ‘prayer gossip’ and is slander against someone who is not present to defend themselves.

  • Judging others while doing the same thing yourself.

Romans 2:1 –“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”

Matt. 7:1-5 – “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

According to Matt. 7:1-5 we have the responsibility to remove the plank out of our own eye first so we will be able to see (judge) clearly another who needs our help to remove the splinter out of his eye. And sometimes it is a matter of perspective. It is easy to see others’ flaws at a distance; for example, a small speck of dirt in someone’s eye. But place that same speck close to our own eye and it becomes a plank; blocking our view. God did not commission us to be speck inspectors!

Judgment is forbidden when it is harsh, unfounded, hypercritical, malicious, slanderous, or ill-natured because its aim is to hurt, defame, and damage, rather than to encourage and build up. Judgment is only encouraged to settle matters in civil courts, to correct and restore a believer who has wandered from the truth, and to identify false teachers and evil people.

We must remember that forbidden judgment will almost always result in hurt, but godly judgment will almost always result in building up and restoration.

We would do well to live by the words of the Apostle Paul who said, “Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (Romans 13:10-14)