Judge not

“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand” (Romans 14:4).

“By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

“It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.”
― Billy Graham

“We shall, as we ripen in grace, have greater sweetness towards our fellow Christians. Bitter-spirited Christians may know a great deal, but they are immature. Those who are quick to censure may be very acute in judgment, but they are as yet very immature in heart. He who grows in grace remembers that he is but dust, and he therefore does not expect his fellow Christians to be anything more; he overlooks ten thousand of their faults, because he knows his God overlooks twenty thousand in his own case. He does not expect perfection in the creature, and, therefore, he is not disappointed when he does not find it. … I know we who are young beginners in grace think ourselves qualified to reform the whole Christian church. We drag her before us, and condemn her straightway; but when our virtues become more mature, I trust we shall not be more tolerant of evil, but we shall be more tolerant of infirmity, more hopeful for the people of God, and certainly less arrogant in our criticisms.”
― Charles H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Sermons Vol. 1-10

As I reflected in a previous post, the problem we face is that the desire to see evil judged is made more complicated by they fact that we are often the ones in the wrong…. I need to humbly reconise that the bad things we see in the world and wish God would prevent or punish in others is right there inside of me.1

I want both God’s justice (exposing the truth about our wrong) and mercy (forgoing the negative consequences we deserve). Sometimes God saves by judging2 – but I’m with Billy Graham and the Bible. Our job is to do the loving.

  1. A bit of an adaptation of: “The evil we so much wish God would prevent or punish in others is right there inside ourselves” (Christopher Wright, God I don’t understand p. 34). ↩
  2. By judging our evil, by naming it for what it is, by penetrating our denial and self-delusion, God begins saving us. (McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy, p 95) ↩

The Builder’s High

Michael Lopp on using our time and attention to build things of meaning and value:

Look around. If you’re in a group of people, count how many are lost in their digital devices as they sit there with a friend. If you’re in your office, count how many well-intentioned distractions are within arm’s reach and asking for your attention. I wonder how many of you will read this piece in one sitting – it’s only 844 words long…

This is not a reminder to over-analyze each moment and make them count. This is a reminder not to let a digital world full of others’ moments deceive you into devaluing your own. Their moments are infinite – yours are finite, too,  and precious – and this New Year I’m wondering how much we want to create versus consume.

Changed lives change cities

A great post by Alan Scott that looks at the temptation to break discipleship down into something that is manageable rather than missional. He urges the reader to move away from thinking of discipleship being primarily about personal piety and personal spiritual discipline to something that is expressed and learned through living an outward life of faith that changes the city in which you live. Individual discipleship through 1:1 discussions in coffee shops is “too low a goal”, with real discipleship taking place through the sharing of life and mission.

This is a really helpful distinction that highlights the continual need to orientate church communities around the task of reproducing the life of Jesus. Our vision for seeing our communities changed by the love of Jesus should be expansive and not reductionist. Time and time again we see the Apostle Paul involving people in mission.

[He] didn’t disciple people by staying with them, but rather by taking them with him. Together they engaged with the improbable possibility that whole communities and cities might respond openly and wholeheartedly to the message of the kingdom.

Alan issues a challenge here for leaders to

measure the level of discipleship in the church by the level of transformation in the city.

If discipleship is the process of becoming who Jesus would be if he were you, I’m pretty sure that he would be changing cities. As we see our own lives becoming more and more like Jesus, we will also see our cities changed.