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:

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God is the only licensed fruit inspector

Fruit brings beauty, joy and good health to all. Yet, it’s also used in Scripture as an example of righteousness and authenticity.

“For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush” (Luke 6:43-44, NKJV).

From the text we see the responsibility to live properly through the transformation of the gospel (Romans 12:1-2). Continue reading “God is the only licensed fruit inspector”

Jesus, and rebellion against the British

“…then shalt thou see clearly” (Luke 6:42)

“The Bible [or Jesus] says you shouldn’t judge.” This is a favorite phrase of many. But what does it really mean? By way of illustration, permit me a couple paragraphs as a lead-in.

The founding fathers of America faced a great challenge with respect to law. The Declaration of Independence wasn’t hard to write. Grievances were amassed, organized, written, and delivered. It took very little time and effort, and signers were easy to find who would put their honor, blood and fortune on the dotted line when they signed their John Hancock’s on the bottom of that page. The actual independence part was very costly, yes, but the rebellion? That was the easy part. Continue reading “Jesus, and rebellion against the British”

Guilty until proven innocent

Someone is accused of a crime or a serious offense and a supposedly civilized society morphs into barbarians. An accusation is all the court of public opinion needs to convict. Reason is extinguished and the noose is prepared.

Shaking our heads at the hysterical execution of several women in Salem, Massachusetts during the witch trials in 1692-1693, we do the exact same thing when a scandal arises. Continue reading “Guilty until proven innocent”