By Andy Waits, the associate pastor at FBC Springville
If you want to be discouraged, spend a lot of time on social media. If you want to lose all hope in the future of our nation, read the comments on any article on any website. The internet has allowed people to anonymously sit behind a keyboard and spew false and sometimes hateful rhetoric without any regard for the truth or the people’s lives and families they affect. Their opinion is rooted in nothing more than that, an uninformed and unprayed over opinion, built off shock value.
Yet, I have learned one thing from reading people’s comments. They are very familiar with the Bible; well at-least one verse, that is. Jesus taught us not to judge others. You’ve heard it before: “When you point one finger at someone, there are three fingers pointing back at you.” While society has made it their full-blown agenda to destroy the authority and credibility of the Scriptures, they have left one verse protected and have it ready in their arsenal to pull out whenever necessary. Matthew 7:1a is the favorite memory verse of commenters on anything controversial. Whether it’s the latest grade-school teacher who took advantage of his or her position to sexually abuse a student, a politician indicted in another corruption scandal, or the ice cream machine at McDonalds is broken again, Matthew 7:1a is always lurking right around the corner ready to be drawn from the holster at any time.
How many people have really taken the time to study the context of Matthew 7:1a? Is Jesus really saying we’re not allowed to have an opinion on anything or take a position on any matter? If this is true, we need to empty out our prison system. We need to remove the label off of every sex offender. To top it all off, it one truly believes this is the thrust of Jesus’s message, we have no need for law enforcement, judges, juries, or anyone else who is sworn to protect the citizens of our country. No, everyone is permitted to do whatever seems or feels right in their own eyes, and we have no grounds to tell them they are wrong. It’s their truth. It’s right for them, even if it isn’t right for you or me. We can’t get upset if our house gets broken into, our car gets keyed, or we are treated unjustly. We’re not to judge, remember?
Hopefully, you see this is preposterous. If you continue reading, Matthew 7:6 Jesus clearly was not saying, “Do not ever judge.” Jesus was saying to be careful in your judgments. Make sure you are not a hypocrite when rendering an opinion. He was teaching us to not be condescending or judgmental when we look at others. As John Bradford said, “Thus but for the grace of God go I.” We must judge at times! Molesting a child is always wrong. Abusing someone is never okay. Using your vested authority to manipulate or put money in your pocket is betrayal. Our actions have consequences, earthly and eternal. If you are going to quote Matthew 7:1a, quote it in context. However, it may be wiser to stop casting the precious pearl before swine.