“Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you–who are you to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:12)
I was reading an article today in Charisma magazine, “How Stephen Colbert Returned to Christ After Becoming an Atheist.”I was struck by a few of the comments and began to ponder who and why are we so quick to judge whether someone has accepted Christ as their Savior. Here are a few of the comments:
“Nope. Not buying it. He would not treat the president the way he does.”
“The president is not the standard of Christianity, Christ is.”
“If he’s a Christian then I’m Abraham Lincoln!!!!!”
“He’s not a Christian he acts out of hate for the president n many whom he disagrees you should live out of love just as Christ did”
“No fruit with this man. I ain’t buying one iota of it.”
The The American Heritage Dictionary defines judgmental as “inclined to make judgments, especially moral or personal ones.” So, the word “judgmental” refers to making a judgment, especially about somebody’s moral or personal behavior.
Who are we to judge?
Is it wrong for us to judge others? Matthew 7:1 says. “”Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” That does not mean we cannot show discernment. Jesus tells us to judge correctly, “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly” (Jn. 7:24).
Jesus Himself was the victim of slanderers (Matt. 11:19) and of false testimony (Matt. 27:63). It’s not the act of judging but the attitude with which we do it that God is most concerned about. Self-righteous judgment is wrong. God sees the heart ( 1 John 4:19-21). Harsh, unforgiving judgment is wrong. As Christians we are to speak no evil of no one (Titus 3:2; Matt. 7:2). Hypocritical judgment is wrong. Jesus warns us against hypocrisy (Matt. 7:3-5). Superficial judgment is wrong.
We have to stop this. We have a tendency to sit in judgment of one another without knowing the truth. Judging another person’s salvation is not what we have been called to as believers. We should be better than this. Instead of passing judgement, let pray for one another. 1 Peter 2:1 says, “… put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.”
Love wants the best for others. Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Rom. 13:10). When we focus on obeying the Lord by loving as He loves us, we will not be tempted to pass judgement.
I don’t know if Stephen Colbert is a Christian or not. What I do know is that we are to love one another because he first loved us. We cannot say we love God and hate on another person (1 John 4:19-21).
May the grace, joy, and peace of God be yours through Jesus Christ our loving Lord. To Him be glory, now and forever.
Note: All Scriptures are taken from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.