Reading Time: 5 minutesToday I am recalling with disappointment and some anger, something I saw on social media, earlier this week. A young man who had raped someone was convicted of the crime, and a little later was on Social Media ranting about how he was “surrounded by many enemies,” as if he was trying to paint himself as some sort of a hapless victim. In fact, he quoted the following text:
“Many have become my enemies without cause; those who hate me without reason are numerous.” (Psalms 38:19)
Jesus: Rose of Sharon
It bothers me to see people misusing God’s Word to peddle all kinds of causes and pet theories. I have always thought it was to be fairly simple – just call something what it is, and don’t call something that is evil “good.”
Two of the most common lines we hear are: “Oh, now we wouldn’t want to get doctrinal now,” or sometimes: “We can’t be judgmental.” But do such excuses make sense? What does Scripture tell us about “getting doctrinal,” or about “judging?”
A poor understanding of the doctrine of judging is to blame for the silence of many Christians today when it comes to calling something what it is.
“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” (2 John 1:9)”The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.” (Psalms 37:30)”Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24).
It must truly break the Lord’s heart when we so quickly forget his grace and blessings and willfully sin with so little thought. Hezekiah was arguably the greatest of the kings after David. He faithfully served the Lord. Judah was protected, and it prospered as well. When he was about to die, Hezekiah pleaded with the Lord and was blessed with 15 more years. But then, in a moment of pride, he revealed to the enemy all the wealth and treasures of the nation. When confronted by the Lord and told his actions would bring future destruction on Judah, and slavery for some of his descendants, he seemed unconcerned as long as it didn’t happen in his lifetime.
Our sinful actions often have consequences for lives other than our own. We know this, the Word warns about it, we have personally experienced it and have seen it happen to others. And yet, many times, when faced with a life-altering choice, we choose the one that seems best for us without considering the future effect on others. We “pass the blame” and let others deal with the fallout.
I am eternally grateful that we can turn to Jesus in these troubling times. He had the power to refuse suffering, pain and death. And, had he done so, there would have been no hope for us. But with joy, he put us before himself and chose to die on the cross in order that we might have life.
The commandments to love God wholeheartedly and love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Mark 12:30–31) eliminate any justification in doing whatever we want and letting someone else pay the price. Yes, it will require that we actually think before we speak or act, but we must strive to faithfully put the Lord first, others second and ourselves last.
This week, I saw an example in Scripture that says it best:
“I am like a rose on the coast of Sharon. I’m like a lily in the valleys.” The king says,” (Song 2:1, NiRV)
Song, chapter 2 is a fascinating chapter, with many layers of meaning and implication. I found this short commentary:
“I am the rose of Sharon – Sharon was a very fruitful place, where David’s cattle were fed, 1 Chron 27:29. It is mentioned as a place of excellence, Isa 35:2, and as a place of flocks, Isa 65:10, Perhaps it would be better, with almost all the versions, to translate, “I am the rose of the field.” The bridegroom had just before called her fair; she with a becoming modesty, represents her beauty as nothing extraordinary, and compares herself to a common flower of the field. This, in the warmth of his affection, he denies, insisting that she as much surpasses all other maidens as the flower of the lily does the bramble, (Song 2:2) – taken from Adam Clarke Bible Commentary“
When we turn to Jesus; and we learn to call it what it is, and to heed the “doctrine of Christ;” we put ourselves into that same “place of excellence,” that Adam Clarke had talked about so many years ago. Yesterday’s truth is the same today, and is the hope for tomorrow.
Calling it what it is is made out to be “wrong” and people, even at church will condescendingly echo: “Who are we to judge?” then to silence whoever they are talking to, they might stoically add: “Judge not lest ye be judged!”
In scripture, we are told in many ways how Jesus would have none of that! Jesus made moral judgments all the time. And exhorted those around him to do so. But with a condition — we are to judge rightly.
Where do people get the idea that we are not to make any judgments about issues of immorality, sin, or righteousness? This view comes from the world, but sometimes from other well-meaning believers who are trying to be gracious, accepting and inclusive instead of being salt and light — as instructed in Scripture and by Christ.
“Judge not lest ye be judged!” is often employed to derail any attempt at getting to the moral truth of an issue. Or as an ad-hominem argument serving to overlook some immoral behavior and block any further discussion. The cold silence in the churches about this is growing louder by the day.
In verse 37, Jesus used the Greek lemma, κρινω, which can mean one of three things depending upon the context: “to rightly decide,” “to rule,” or “to condemn.” Here it means to “condemn.” Jesus makes the point: Do not condemn or you will come under condemnation. We are not to usurp the prerogative of God in judging or condemning others. But, as it says in John 7, we are to “judge righteous judgment.”
We KNOW that Jesus expects us to weigh and determine right from wrong because a few verses later he makes this point in a parable. He says first remove the log from your own eye, so you WILL SEE CLEARLY enough to remove the speck from the brother’s eye.
Once we have the mind of Christ and are mature in the Lord, we should “see clearly” enough to help those who don’t have a clear view of the issues at hand. Any believer, assessing a situation, must reject unmerciful condemnation.
Father, thank you for loving us beyond measure. Please fill us with that same love in order that our every thought, word and deed will be pleasing in your sight.
Until next time, may God bless you; and keep you; and make His face to shine upon you.”