Saturday, January 28, 2012

Judging Others - Or What About Hitler?

I was having this conversation with a woman, an owner of a kid-oriented Christian business -- someone I have a lot of admiration for.  She was debating whether it was okay to hire someone who was a homosexual and finally reasoned that it was, because "we aren't supposed to judge others."  While I appreciate her heart -- her desire to be loving -- I cannot agree with this position.  It took me a long while to think of my comeback, but here it is:

Really?  What about Hitler?  Would you hire Hitler to work with the kids?  If you say "No," are you being judgmental?  After all, he was just a sinner, like you or me.  If you say yes, you would hire him, then I must ask:  Are you crazy?

At some point, a "judgement" can and must be made.  Different people draw their lines in different places, but we all draw lines.  And it is important to be led by the Holy Spirit as to where to draw yours.  The Bible says we should "Judge not, lest we be judged."  But that is a judgement for those outside the church -- the unregenerated.

Within the church, we are told to expel those who claim to know Christ but who choose to live in habitual sin (Titus 3:10-11; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13).  How could we do that without a "judgement-like" process?  The judgement (or "fruit inspection" as my pastor likes to say) is to be done gently, lovingly, truthfully, and with an attempt at discipleship.  But, the ultimate choice lies with the offender.  If they do not accept rebuke and repent, they are no longer to be welcomed in the body.  That would be like knowing you had an operable cancer, but letting it stay and grow inside of you.  Once they are out of the church for a while, we are told to treat them (habitual sinners) again as unbelievers and try to woo them back in.

But, we are NOT told to put them in positions of leadership.  The Bible is clear that leaders within the church (not the building, but the body) must be held to even higher standards of behavior (Titus 2:3-15, 1 Timothy 3:1-13).  We are also told to not be "unequally yoked" (1 Corinthians 6:14; this can apply to marriage or business).

Yes, of course, we want unbelievers to feel welcome and loved.  But, we must make sure that we are influencing them, not letting them influence us.  God's Word does not change for political or social reasons.  And love, true love, is tough -- wanting to help someone avoid sin and hell, rather than making them (and ourselves) feel good in the moment.

Some of you may feel threatened or judgmental about what I have written.  Please feel free to comment, but without any vulgarity please.

1 comment:

  1. Great post Colleen. we've been having this very discussion lately. How to deal with habitual sin in the church compared with how to deal with habitual sin in the lives of those outside the church. It is hard for a lot of folks to accept that there is a different standard for believers because we "know better." To whom much is given, much will be expected. We do no favors by allowing sin to remain in our midst without correction.