“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 4:11-12).
Nowhere are the divisions in the Body of Christ probably more apparent than social media, and these divisions puzzle and alarm me. I don’t understand people who are intensely against same sex marriage, based on biblical reasons, yet seem to have little problem with divorce. By the same token, I don’t understand those who are adamantly pro-choice, yet are for open borders, based on humanitarian reasons. These are but two examples. I could fill a book about money and material wealth, but I try very hard to keep these posts direct and to the point.
In a post, from a few months back, Bite and Devour, I wrote:
Concerning our freedom as believers in Christ, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other” (Galatians 5:13-15). Concerning what is right before God, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17). We can’t afford to “bite and devour each other”; otherwise, we “will be destroyed by each other.” The issues that divide us are symptomatic of a far graver problem; we’ve lost sight of our first love.
I went on to write that Jesus never commanded us not to judge; he commanded us concerning how to judge (Matthew 7:1-5; Luke 6:37-42; John 8:1-8). I remain convinced that the root of our troubles is the plank in our own eye, not the speck in our neighbor’s. I’m not saying that we ought not voice our disapproval, but judge lovingly to advance the Kingdom of God, not to satisfy our own pride and self righteousness. You know that feeling of validation and vindication you feel inside when you’re about to make (what you believe to be) a really profound point; that feeling is pride, and pride isn’t godly. I bet the would-be stone throwers Jesus rebuked were full of righteous indignation; pride was the problem.
No doubt motives were at the heart of James’ admonishment in chapter 4: “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?” (11-12). Instead of exercising discernment about ungodly behavior or false teaching, we fall prey to a manifestation of pride (i.e. we think we’re better than the who or what we’re accusing), and the Church, its witness, and our culture suffer as a result.
My intent is not to come across as one who has overcome pride; I struggle with pride every single day. In addition, I want to acknowledge, up front, that this post touches on several triggers, which tend to get me into hot water with the broadest number of people; that’s alright. The only subject that seems to get me into hotter water is tithing; another time, perhaps.
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