Saturday, February 6, 2010

turning stones into boomerangs

The Word for today:
Matthew 7:1-12

The most well-known, most quoted Bible verse among American unbelievers is Matthew 7:1-- Judge not, that ye be not judged.

People who have never picked up a Bible quote this readily. They even manage to quote it in King James English, lending it the "genuine" biblical sound!

Kent Hughes, the great teaching preacher, relates this incident:
One of my sons once stayed in a Florida hotel during spring break, and some collegians in the adjacent room were doing some "heavy partying." As my son stepped from his room wearing his college sweatshirt, one of the partyers also stepped into the hall. Spotting my son's college sweatshirt, the other young man said, "Columbia Bible College. That's cool! Judge not lest ye be judged--that's what I believe!"

Let them feel the slightest disapproval and Matthew 7:1 is at the tip of the tongue!

Never mind that they are lifting the verse out of its context and ignoring other scriptures that call for Christians to judge and even at times condemn sin.

Jesus told His followers to judge not--and in the same breath (verse 7:6) he told them not to cast their pearls before swine. A few verses after that, Jesus call his disciples to judge people by their fruits (7:20).

What Jesus condemns is judgmentalism--a critical spirit, a predisposition towards condemnation; attaching motives to actions that have never been there.

So make no mistake. We are to make the distinction between right and wrong, and we are to live the distinction. And when we see wrong, we not only can, but we should, rebuke it.

But when we start to cast aspersions, to assume wrong motives, watch out! On the way out of church, should you opine that Sally sings for the attention (when she actually sings for the King)--duck!

Because the stone you meant for Sally will, at the King's direction, miss her.

And though in the wilderness Jesus would not turn stones into bread, he promises to turn stones into boomerangs in your church parking lot:
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. (Matthew 7:2div>

And you thought David was good with a sling.

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