Judge Who?

"It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”  1 Corinthians 5:12-13 (NLT) The Barna Research Group did a study of people ages 16 - 29 in the US some years ago and 90% of those respondents reported that they believe Christians to be judgemental. This is confusing since the Jesus we read about in the Bible attracted all sorts of people to Himself. The kind of people, who in His day and ours, would be considered less than desirable to hang out with, or just plain "bad" company. If Jesus were crusty and judgemental, such people would never desire to be with Him.

Think about this, who likes to hang around individuals who are always measuring and criticizing us and our actions. NO ONE! Judgment stinks of a, "I'm better, and you don't measure up" attitude. But the question is, measure up to what? No one can measure up to anyone else's expectations, simply because we are not them. Jesus created each of us uniquely and in His image and not in the image of anyone else. Our measuring rod is Jesus, and His life is our model.

Paul is teaching us, as Jesus followers, not to be critical (have Christian expectations) for people who aren't Christians. Before I was a Christian, I did not think like a Christian nor act like one. My unchristian parents did not say, "You need to live more like Jesus." I was lost and in darkness and so were they. We did not know the light and love of Jesus. We should expect those who do not know Jesus to live like they don't know Jesus. We shouldn't be surprised or critical by their actions but instead sad and compassionate. We should be motivated to share (Jesus) not shame.

On the other hand, we should judge (hold accountable) our friends and family who call themselves Christians and participate in the life of the church. See Monday's (August 20, 2018 - Link: https://goo.gl/hn4khH) devotional for this teaching. We should expect Jesus followers to be growing into the likeness of Jesus. Notice I said growing and not arriving. They will not be perfect reflections of Jesus, but individuals who display an ever-increasing life of love.

Judge (hold accountable) yourself and other believers and show grace (leave room for God to work) to those who do not Know Jesus. Prayer Jesus, forgive me when I have had wrong and judgemental expectations for those who do not know You. Help me instead to have the right expectations for myself and my brothers and sisters in Christ. Replace my criticism with compassion, and my arrogance with understanding. Amen

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