Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? (1 Corinthians 6:2)
Christians have been labeled as judgmental by the world and in an attempt to rid themselves of this disgraceful characteristic many have refused to judge anything. As Bill Johnson from Bethel Church says,
Reaction to error usually produces error. Response to truth always wins out over those who react to error. Some people would have no belief system were it not for the error of others. Their thoughts and teachings are the antithesis of what others believe and practice. As a result those who strive for balance become anemic. The word balance has come to mean middle of the road—of no threat to people or the devil, with little risk, and above all…the best way to keep our nice image intact.
As the church has reacted to the error of the critical spirit (aka being judgmental) we have consequently created another error – Passive Christianity.
Culture is important because it is the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes a people group. The enemy knows this therefore church culture is under constant attack. One of the strategies I believe the enemy uses is to attack holy boldness and our confidence in the truth. And one method of doing this is by offering a so called solution to being judgmental. This “solution” has spread like wildfire and now instead of being know as judgmental we are starting to be known as passive and weak.
In Passive Christianity the fear of man freely masquerades under the cloak of acceptance. This type of culture embraces the “to each his own” philosophy and will go to any length not to offend. The condition of a person’s soul is not as important as the gift of acceptance. Instead of confronting a sinning brother we choose to avoid them. We successfully withhold judgment but lives are not changed.
As disciples we should look inward before we assess other people’s problems but this does not mean we remain silent about matters of right and wrong, of good and evil. Part of making a judgment is using discernment.
discernment, n. The act of discerning; also, the power or faculty of the mind, by which it distinguishes one thing from another, as truth from falsehood, virtue from vice; acuteness of judgment; power of perceiving differences of things or ideas, and their relations and tendencies. The errors of youth often proceed from the want of discernment.
When a person lacks discernemt confusion comes in it’s place. I remember a time when there was a relational conflict in my Church. The disagreement was between two people who I greatly admired and respected. I knew them both to be godly people who truly loved the Lord. So when a major issue arose bewteen them I found myself in a place of deep confusion. I decided I would not take sides nor allow myself to make a judgement. It was too hard.
During this time I had breakfast with a mature man of God who I sought counsel from. He gave me an assignment on the spot as we were eating. It was called, “The spiritual man judges everything” from 1 Corinthians 2:15. He said because of my personality I don’t like to do this and instead I want everyone to like me. He said this is unacceptable for a leader. My homework was to judge five difficult events in my life, including the one that was causing me so much confusion.
It was difficult for me to go through this process but I am so glad that I did. God taught me a valuable lesson about making judgments and as I obeyed I was set free from the torment that the confusion was causing me.
We do not want to allow the critical spirit to rule our lives but we do want to use discernment. We will all face difficult situations in our lives and while it is tempting to remain passive during these times we must remember to use the discernment God has given us.
What are your thoughts about this? Feel free to leave a comment below.