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”

Judging: misunderstanding Jesus & Paul

The question was short and clear.  What is judging?  Almost immediately, a senior citizen from our weekly Bible study group offered the standard answer, “condemning.”

She is only partially right. A common thought seems to be, as long as I am not denouncing someone or something I am not judging. To avoid judging involves far more than just abstaining from condemning something or someone.

Continue reading “Judging: misunderstanding Jesus & Paul”

Paul’s prescription for unity

Jesus prayed for unity among his followers.  In Ephesians, Paul described God’s plan to create unity through Christ.  Is there hope today for unity among believers?

When faced with the problem of religious division, Paul simultaneously undermined false values that foster divisiveness while cultivating principles promoting the unity God desires. His prescription boils down to three guidelines:

Continue reading “Paul’s prescription for unity”