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beyond the shadow of a doubt

July 11, 2007

This is probably one of those things that everyone knows, but me.

Romans 2:1//Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.

I would always stumble over that last part, right myself quickly like nothing happened, and hurry away before someone saw. If someone is in sin and I determine, based on the fruit of his life, that things are not right … am I, then, guilty of his sin(s)?

I tripped over this again during the very long drive to Nashville, but turned around to kick it this time. “Therefore” is a continuation of what went before:

Romans 1:32//who, knowing the righteous judgement of God, that those who practice such things [sexual immorality, wickedness, etc. as listed in verses 29 through 31] are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

To judge is not synonymous with condemn, as it is often used in Christian circles. We get upset when someone “judges” us to be bad in some way, but never when they compliment our hair. You can judge something to be good as well as bad. Webster defines judge as “to form an opinion about through careful weighing of evidence and testing of premises.” Good or bad. Right or wrong.

Considering Romans 2:1 as a therefore from 1:32, the danger is in approving behavior, speach, lifestyle, etc. that flies in the face of God’s righteous judgement. Then we “practice the same things.” If you approve of it, God says, you might as well be doing it.

Two obvious complications with this:

The first is loving people. Disapprove of that which is contrary to God, but love the people doing it. Jesus ate with the worst sinners; the pharisees pointed fingers.

The second exposes the heart. We can disapprove of abortion by voting only for pro-life candidates, but what about the more subtle issues that we don’t talk about? What about the things we know we shouldn’t say or do, but in our hearts we really don’t think are all that bad? Can we disapprove according to the letter of the law, but not in spirit? The fear of the Lord is both the hatred of evil (Pr 8:13) and the beginning of wisdom (Pr 9:10).

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Tami permalink
    July 11, 2007 6:25 pm

    Good insight, Lex. Here’s what I was reading and reflected on last night re: judging:

    1 Corinthians 5:9-13 (Paul speaking…)
    9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner–not even to eat with such a person. 12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.” F13

    Jesus ate with the sinners (outside the church) and drew them to himself. He railed against the Pharisees and scribes (read: the guys who’d been “walking with the Lord” for years and should’ve known better). They were judging those outside, while leaving their own glaring sins unchecked. Just some more food for thought on the whole Judging topic.

  2. Lex permalink
    July 11, 2007 7:26 pm

    Well that wraps it up.

  3. KnowYourGod permalink
    July 14, 2007 7:53 pm

    I am so happy you are back and blogging again, i do miss “stimulating” conversations. I have no real interpretation here except to add that jesus says, i do not judge but if i judge i judge perfectly. this is to say we can not judge motive/heart but we can see murder and say that is wrong :)

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