When Christians disagree

It is difficult at times to distinguish what we believe and accept from what scripture actually says. Because we believe them both we often assume that all we believe is part of scripture. That can apply to our view of politics as well as other areas of life.

This is not a new problem, but one which Christians struggled with in the days of the apostles. Often the background to this was Christians who were of a Jewish background and Christians who from a Gentile background. Because they were brought up Jews, many would restrict what they ate or would do certain things on certain days. The discussion as Paul presented it in Romans 14 centered around what people ate as well as what days they considered to be special. Continue reading “When Christians disagree”

Passing judgment

One of the problems Paul addressed in his letter to the Christians in Rome was the relationship between Jewish and Gentile Christians. Some scholars have suggested that this could have been a problem amongst the Christians at Rome. In the first three chapter Paul shows that not only were Gentiles guilty of sin, but the Jews were as well. In fact, all sin and fall short of God’s standard. Although the second chapter deals with the Jews also being guilty of sin, there are practical lessons for Christians as we seek to live for Jesus.

“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realising that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:1-4 NIV)

Continue reading “Passing judgment”

Judging: the forgotten 50%

How helpful is half of a car?  Would any of us be content to use half of a mathematical answer as though we possessed the whole solution? Yet, probably because of texts like Matthew 7:1 and Luke 6:37, we might assume that judging is equivalent to condemning. And we know that we are not supposed to judge!

However, such an understanding falls short of what it means to judge. Furthermore, we will remain oblivious to some very significant and practical applications of the command, “Do not judge.” The first four chapters of 1 Corinthians offer a healthy antidote. Continue reading “Judging: the forgotten 50%”

Why can’t I judge?

The problem with criticism is that the victim simply cannot win. A critic does not feel the need to be consistent, or fair, simply critical. He is condemned if he does, and condemned if he does not.

But note that the standard that will be used to judge me will be the standard with which I judge others (Matthew 7:12). Is that a comforting thought? When you think of God using this criteria to judge you, do you sigh with relief or shake in fear? Continue reading “Why can’t I judge?”

Compete to win!

The early daffodils were spent and gone, and the late daffodils were…well…later than usual. But a friend called Thursday to say that she was about to bring some of her best blooms to the National Convention of the American Daffodil Society.

We were both volunteering at this convention, as members of the host city’s chapter. The reasoning behind amateurs bringing their daffodils was sound. “There will be more entries on the tables, and the winners will feel better,” Evelyn said.

Well, that made sense. As a team member and a fledgling Daffodil Society member, I wanted to be as helpful as I could be. Continue reading “Compete to win!”

Calling evil good, and good evil

Shakespeare put the question, “What’s in a name?”

I choose my flower varieties on their own merits — appearance, ease of culture, hardiness, taste, etcetera. However, while putting together a design for a renovated flower bed, it became apparent that some of the gorgeous members of the new color collection had some very questionable names. Continue reading “Calling evil good, and good evil”

Don’t judge me because you sin differently than I do

Social media popularizes catchy sayings at record speeds. When something appears to work, it takes flight. Yet, phrases must actually contain truth and substance to win debates.

To those who don’t understand sin this saying appears logical. However, it’s spiritually naive upon closer examination. Continue reading “Don’t judge me because you sin differently than I do”

Judge Not!

Do you know what I like about gardens? Wait; that question is WAY too open-ended! It could be answered a thousand ways!

One thing I like about gardens is that nobody can say, “You did that wrong,” when it comes to garden design.

This doesn’t mean you can’t do anything wrong in a garden. I might plant an iris too deeply, or in a spot that’s too wet; but this is about the arrangement of the garden, not the techniques. Continue reading “Judge Not!”

What precedes Christian unity

People have proposed many different paths toward acquiring unity among believers. If we will pay close attention to Jesus’ teachings as well as to his apostles’ instructions, we will discover an oft overlooked powerful contributor.

Before people spill a drop of ink or type a single letter revealing our strategies for uniting Christians, we would do well to listen to the Messiah. Jesus prepared people to follow him by describing an essential attitude preceding kingdom service. Continue reading “What precedes Christian unity”