Monday, September 21, 2009

TICKED Follow-up 2

This is a continuation of the past 2 blog posts, so if you haven't read them, you really should so this will make sense to you.

I told you at the end of the last post that I had more to say. So, here you are, as promised.

I received two comments to the last post...two comments that weren't in support of these views. I have to assume that the people who view these things the way these posts describe were just busy over the weekend? ;) Here are a few more comments I got on Facebook about the subject.

I also think when we rebuke, if we've taken it to the Lord first and allow Him to speak through us, He will prepare their hearts and give us words. That often helps me.
And when rebuked, take it to the Lord and He can tell us if we have received wise council. God help us grow in our trust in You so you can take us deeper still.


Great post, Michawn. Agree. This topic is one of the promptings that we continued to pray about and deal with prior to coming to realization that God was calling us to plant a church. I think also that we have to see our church family as FAMILY. For some of us, that is the family we have b/c our family IS so dysfunctional, or b/c we live so far away and many in our family are not Christians, or just talk the talk. Trust is another word that keeps coming up, too. As pastors and leaders in the church are we afraid of preaching about this? Afraid people might leave, therefore their tithe goes with it? Are we afraid we might tick off the 'influential people'. We have to trust that the Holy Spirit is guiding us to teach the congregation what they need to hear. As members of the family of Jesus--the church-- are we trusting our pastors to teach us what we need to hear? Are we trusting the Holy Spirit to convict us to lovingly go to others, as well as that he might prompt others to tell us? I think, sadly, that we as a family of believers (not a nuclear family or origin), but family of God, have gotten too comfortable and have forgotten that being a Christian is more than just showing up on Sundays or whenever the door is open. Our churches (the family of Christ) have gotten too programmatic, planned, no room for authentic relationships to be built. People know how to act, what mask to put on, etc. We need to give our people room to live life, not fill up their days, weeks, lives with busyness ,but allow room for depth in relationships. We all can say the Sunday School answers when needed, but I long for the Bride of Christ to tell me what I need to hear and vice versa to others in my church family. Iron sharpening iron. No we are not perfect, but on an journey. And you are on the right track, my friend. In love we need to call out and be called out. But then, we all would have to admit we are not perfect. Are we not to be moldable clay? I think we have dried up?

Just wanted to share those really great words of wisdom.

This one too, from my great friend Mavis, who hasn't had the most luxurious of lives. A lot of the 'bad' was just the consequences of bad choices on her part, and she would agree to that wholeheartedly...
Spoken by the person I love the most. The one who never sugarcoated it for me. The person who saved my life because she cared enough to TRULY be my friend! Love you!
We MUST be willing to be true friends! The results can be so spectacular and the stuff to really rejoice evidenced by some of the incredible things in Mavis' life today.

In response to the first comment I received on this blog from the last post, I must first point out that "thou shall not judge" is, in fact, not one of the 10 Commandments. We are given clear direction as to not judging a certain way or at a certain time throughout the Bible, but the Bible never says that we are never to judge period. There are very clear instructions for the right way and the right time and the right things to judge.

AND...let me re-iterate...again...I am talking about 'Christians' here. People who say they are Christians, but are not living like it. I am not talking about trying to win over non-Christians through rebuke...evangelism is in a totally different category (please hear that once and for all). In fact, if you've read my blog at all for any length of time or really know me personally, you know that Christians getting all up in a roar about a non-Christian not acting like a Christian (hello...there's an obvious reason) irritates the fool out of me. People who say they are Christians and aren't living up to it though...that's another story.

Leaving judgment only for God at Judgment Day, is again, selfish. Why? This is such a Christianese example, but it's true...if you had the cure for cancer, would you not tell others? "No, I'll just let God do it in His timing" that what you'd think? I doubt it. Some of you might think that ludicrous...but, giving people a cure for cancer can, in fact, be likened to a rebuke and a 'judging' that is done the right way. Each has the potential to make that person's life so much better. A rebuke is not done with the motivation to condemn, but to save. And we are not the ones who just randomly pick and choose what needs correction, what is sin. No, our guide is the Bible of course. The Bible sets forth judgments clearly already. Sexual sin is wrong, gossip is wrong, not following the Bible is not try to help someone out of WRONG. It's not loving, it's not kind. It might be politically correct, but that is what, in fact, will literally condemn them in the a fiery pit called hell (no she didn't just go all hellfire and brimstone!). It's the Truth. That's not to say that 'Christians' who mess up (because, once again, we all do sin) will go to hell. Obviously. But, the people who say they are Christians but yet continue to walk in sin that is so very blatantly against is questionable whether they are truly a Christian, now isn't it? If you think that is an unfair 'judgment,' just read your Bible and you will see that that is so consistently pointed out in the Word, there is no way to argue it away.

What had me so riled up the other day when I posted the first part of this? Well, as I stated, it wasn't just one thing necessarily. There have been SO MANY things over the years (literally) that have added up. And, I must say also, that most people in most churches that I've been in (because, obviously we try to surround ourselves with people who follow the Word) do practice this way of living and bringing life to others. But, there is a 'people group' in particular that is just blinded to this way...and there is so much destruction and defeat and so many destroyed lives. And it just makes me sad...and mad...because it clearly doesn't have to be that way. If you follow God's Word, if the church follows the guidelines that God so lovingly gave us, then we will flourish and not live in such a sub-standard way.

The thing that just pushed me over the edge the other day was hearing of yet another couple who are friends of mine who are now getting a divorce (for those of you trying to figure out who I am talking about, you can't...unfortunately, over the last few months, I've gotten news of divorcing friends several times; and, lest I get overrun with comments of people saying that I'm wrong to single out divorce like this, I'm not trying to single out divorce at all...there are many things that our churches are 'sick' with...but this is just what I got news about the other day that spurred me to right that post; and I also know that sometimes divorce is seen as 'the only way' or one person does all he/she can to not divorce, etc....please...this post is not really about divorce, so let's stick to the topic in the comments please). Are individuals rallying around them in love? No doubt they are to a certain extent. But, are they going to the extent in their love that they say, "I love you, but you have got to know that this is wrong. I must love you enough to tell you the truth and to stand with you but stand against what you are doing. Please don't do this. Let's sit down together and really seek God on this and what you should do."

Now, sometimes when it has already reached the point of divorce, it is seen as too late...nothing is 'too late' when God is involved. BUT, that really is precisely my point. Where were they're really close friends before it got to this point (I would've been listed among those 'very close friends' at one point, but we have lived very far away from each other for years now, so I'm not in that grouping anymore...not that I can't still be used by God to speak into their lives, but it hasn't happened yet)? Where is their church family now that this point is here? I have no doubt that people love them, but our way of showing love within the church has become so skewed these days. This is a battle...we need to be coming together as in a literal battle around these people..saying to them and to the devil that we are not going to just stand idly by and let this happen without a fight (not against them, but against the devil). Think about a literal battle in a war...would we just sit back and let those people fight alone? What if they didn't ask for our help (the lame excuse of some of why they don't step in) in that battle? Would we still go fight with them so that their lives might be saved? What if they had some illness that was threatening their lives? Does the church go out of their way to stand with people in that life-threatening time, to offer any assistance and advice and wisdom that they have, to really wrestle in prayer in the battle for their lives? Yes. What about we stand as firmly and strongly and non-apologetically and even as visibly in a battle for marriage? Why not?!?!?! Now, it might still happen that hey divorce of course because we cannot make people do anything, but we must start to do all that we can for every area of life.

Have you seen all the books that Paul wrote to his friends and the churches that were under his care? He didn't hold anything back, did he? He loved the people under his care so passionately, that he didn't mince words, but made God's guidelines to them very clear. The Bible is written...we will not be writing any more books of the Bible, you and I. But, we can still be used by God to speak into people's lives just like Paul did. He was very harsh at fact, some are offended by him still today. But, He was used by God, that's for sure. We must be willing to be used in the same way today.

I found this this morning. Basically, I want to leave you with this. I do not know this person, but what he so very succinctly stated, complete with a thorough list of scripture, is just what this post needs to wrap it up. As much as we can argue with what we perceive as opinions or prejudices, we can not argue with scripture (I guess you can, but you won't succeed in winning the argument).

Oh, and by the way, I have now changed my settings on the more anonymous comments. (To my last anonymous commenter, really? Is that all you got out of all the many things that were said in these posts? Wow.) So, from now on, if you want to post a comment, you must sacrifice the 5 seconds that it takes to set up an account to do so. You don't have to set up a blog or sell your soul or anything...just sign in and then you can comment. Really should have done this a long time ago...discourages 'irritators' from leaving random comments (it's happened alot, I'm not just referencing this time).

And now, in summary, this...

Judging is a subject which many Christians like to avoid. When pressed to defend one's position, though, there often seems to be a distinct division–those who think no one should judge anyone else for any reason, and those who tend to pass judgment on everyone for everything. So which position is right, according to God's Word? Neither.

The fact is that Christians are not only permitted to judge, but in certain scriptures they are instructed to do so. However, there are restrictions on what and how we are to judge.

Opponents of Christians judging are quick to point out the "do not judge, or you too will be judged" scripture (Matthew 7:1; Luke 6:37), yet they either stop short of or fail to understand the meaning of Matthew 7:2 which continues, "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." So what does that mean?

Let's start with a good foundation for our understanding of judging. Our foundation is upon Jesus Christ. Jesus' purpose in coming into this world was for judgment (John 9:39). God the Father appointed Jesus as judge of the living and the dead (John 5:22, 27; Acts 10:42; Acts 17:31; 2 Timothy 4:1; 1 Peter 4:5). It is important to note that Jesus' judgment is just and right (John 5:30; John 8:16; Acts 17:31; 2 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Timothy 4:8; Revelation 16:5, 7; Revelation 19:1-2). This is because Jesus doesn't judge arbitrarily; it is His Word which does the judging (John 12:47-48; Hebrews 4:12). God's Word further teaches that God doesn't judge by external appearance (Galatians 2:6) but that He judges each man's work impartially (1 Peter 1:17). And finally, we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10; Hebrews 9:27; Hebrews 10:30; Jude 1:14-15). In summary, Jesus does the judging justly, impartially, and by His Word. And everyone, everyone will be judged by Jesus and the standard of His Word.

Now, let's return to the passage in Matthew 7:1-2. Since we know that we will be judged in the same way that we judge and with the same measure we use, and we also know that we will be judged and measured by God's Word, this passage means that we are permitted to judge by that which we find in God's Word. It is when we judge by other measures (opinions, wrong motives, erroneous information) that we end up in a lot of trouble. If we judge others with our opinions, with wrong motives, or by using erroneous information, then we can expect the same treatment from God. Boy, that should stop us in our tracks before judging, shouldn't it!?

However, we shouldn't be so fearful of judging wrongly that we fail to use common sense, decency, and a knowledge of God's Word to pass right judgment. This is what has happened to our country; we have been turning blind eyes to all of the sin around us for the sake of not judging so much that more and more souls are bound for hell everyday. Instead, we need to realize that God's Word does, indeed, give us guidelines for judging rightly against sin. Let's see what limits and qualifications God places on making a right judgment:

Use God's Word as the standard for judgment (John 12:47-48 and Hebrews 4:12 with Matthew 7:1-2).
Be sure you are not currently guilty of doing the same thing when you make the judgment (Romans 2:3; also see specific examples in Matthew 12:27; Luke 11:19; and Acts 23:3)
Do not judge by mere appearances (John 7:24)
Do not judge with discrimination (James 2:4)
Do not slander (James 4:11)
Do not pass judgment on disputable matters or those things on which the scriptures are not clear (Romans 14:1-4)
Judge with mercy (James 2:13)
Be willing to forgive (Luke 6:37)
In addition to the above guidelines, one of the most important things to remember is that we are only capable of judging the act. We are never to judge the intentions or motives of another person–to do so would be assuming the role that only Jesus can fill. In John 8:15, Jesus taught that we can only judge by human standards, and we could be wrong. Only Jesus can judge men's secrets (Romans 2:16). It is the Word of God which judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). When the Lord returns, "He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts" (1 Corinthians 4:5). Therefore, we can see from these scriptures that only Jesus and His Word are qualified to judge intentions, motives, and attitudes. We are limited to judging the act itself.
We must realize that there are some things which can be judged now and some things which cannot be judged until later, for sometimes it takes time for certain sins to be revealed (1 Timothy 5:24).

Christians are specifically instructed to judge the actions of those within Christ's church (1 Corinthians 5:12-6:4). Not to do so results in much sin within the body of Christ. In fact, God's Word teaches, "The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment" (1 Corinthians 2:15).

The Bible gives some specific examples of things we can judge, so long as we follow the guidelines and limitations previously discussed. They include murder (Matthew 5:21), careless words spoken (Matthew 12:36), rebellion against authority (Romans 13:2), sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 5:3; Hebrews 13:4), and grumbling against each other (James 5:9).

Thoughts about this post and what the Bible has to say about all of this? Please elaborate.


Michawn said...

thanks, amber. ;) i just got your comment on the last post, after this was already written. just wanted you to know i did get it. ;)

Steph said...

hey michawn...your language is offensive..hahahahahahaaha! whoever "anonymous" is thought so anyway...guess they weren't confident in their opinion to leave their name. the words "michawn" and "offensive language" don't even go together.

hey u trying to tell me something...cuz if i need rebuking just come out and say it...i got my big girl undies on...hahahaa

i agree w/ you:)

1 week from today and Audrie Rain will be here!!!

truthisfreedom said...

It is rather ironic that I read your post on Friday and Friday night I was tested. I did not hesitate to love someone to Christ in truth. It was a choice I had to make, love them enough to sacrifice everything or sacrifice them for how I felt. It wasn't pretty, but God in His truth revealed so much and as of yesterday I was thanked for my honesty. This person knew I loved them and would fight for them even if it meant a confrontation with them.

This is not a "JUDGE" act but a "LOVE" act. To say you are judging is to walk in the fear the world has put on Christians to shut up!

I love your post and know exactly what you are saying. I love my Christian family enough to put my feelings, fears and anxieties aside and error on the side of truth in love. I am a product of that love and I thank all who where bold enough to speak to me in truth and not hide in fear!

Keep them coming Michawn!!!


on an adventure said...

Well, I know I'm guilty of being silent when I should not have. Glad God's grace is enough.

For me, it's frustrating to see churches actually moving away from the Bible. That really is what's happening. It's frustrating to meet Christians who don't even know that homosexuality is a sin, or that God wants them to marry a Christian. They don't know that when someone hurts them, they should not get revenge or retaliate...that God is in charge of that. I believe the heart of the issue with churches is that most believers do not even know what the Bible says about these things. And the leadership can make anything of it that they want because they can get away with it. The rebuked do not know they should be humbled instead of prideful. The silent do not know they should speak up. And it seems like no matter how much I harp on our young peeps to know their Bible, they don't. Sometimes they will tell me some crazy thing they think the Bible says, and I'm like, "WHAT??? It does not say that!" It's quite the war that we will keep fighting.

Wendy said...

Right now I just have to say

Not about the post but about the anonymous people in blogger world!!
I read those comments and was completely dumbfounded!!!

Bottom Line: We should know what the Bible says. PERIOD! If we are walking daily with Him, these things are revealed to us from His Word. Sometimes it does take a nudge from a fellow Christian (iron sharpening iron) to get us to do as we are convicted. So many people are religious instead of God-led. Religion teaches about the rules and God teaches us about being more like Him.

Don't stop posting about these things. We all need to be honest and get things right between us and HIM!

Michawn said...

Steph: Yes, I'm talking about you. We need to talk. Bwahahahaha. Puh-leeze. Can't wait to meet Audrie!

Laura: That is actually the best way to sum it up. It is not a 'judge' act, it is a 'LOVE' act. Great way to bottom line it.

Amanda: Yes, His grace is sufficient. And so very true...BIBLE!!

And Wendy: Exactly...too much religion and not enough relationship and living being led by God. His sheep hear His voice. I pray we all hear it clearly and follow completely.

Us said...

Michawn I can honestly say it is SOOOOO refreshing to hear from someone who is honest and Biblical. Even though we were never really close (and I wish we had been) I can truly sense how much you love people and how much you love Jesus and seek to follow him and seek truth and grace and want to give grace and love to others. I would love to surround myself with people who are truthful in love and grace so that we might learn the same. Very refreshing.