Tag Archives: judging

Being Supportive Doesn’t Always Mean Agreeing

Let me paint you a picture, to illustrate today’s topic. You have a good friend who is completely tone deaf, they can’t hold a tune, but they really love to sing. Yes, we all know such a person, and if you don’t, then you may actually be that person. Let’s say that person comes to you and tells you that they’re going to go on X-Factor, or American Idol, or whatever other show you know of. What do you say? You see we are taught that if you agree with someone, you are being supportive. If you disagree, then you ‘don’t believe in the person’. This is complete nonsense, but we have somewhat come to believe this. How many times do we see people with massive dreams of becoming a singer, who have complete ‘support’ from their friends and family, get humiliated by some ruthless judge in front of the entire nation on TV? My question is simple, “Why hasn’t anyone stopped them before this?”.

Now let me be clear here, I am not talking about speaking negatively into someone’s life. I know that the Bible says that we are more than conquerors in Jesus, and we should have faith. I am not talking about people who try and scare you into not taking a chance. I am merely saying that just because someone disagrees with you, doesn’t mean that they don’t support you. So what am I talking about? I am talking about the times when we live our lives in a way that goes against scripture. Let me use an extreme example. If I were cheating on my wife, and one of my friends found out, what would they do? I would hope that they would call me out in no uncertain terms and tell me to stop. In fact, if one of them actually punched me in the face, I wouldn’t see it as an over-reaction. Now I am not condoning violence, but my point is simple, in supporting people sometimes we may have to disagree with them. People are sometimes going to do the wrong things, and a true friend will stop them. If you really love someone, sometimes you need to stand against their actions. Sometimes, supporting someone means stopping them from doing something stupid. As per the singing example, you stop them from the humiliation of being told the truth on live TV. With other more serious actions, sometimes the consequences could be 100 times worse, so we need to step in and tell people when they are making a bad choice.

I grew up in South Africa, but live in the UK, and I think that it is safe to say that English people often disagree with someone but very seldom tell them. The general ‘socially acceptable’ way here is to have a good moan about the fact that someone is doing something wrong, but don’t actually tell them because you don’t want to upset them. Now before you get upset, this is a gross generalisation, but the generalisation for South Africans is different. We are very quick to go and tell the person that they are wrong and that they should sort themselves out. This is also not the best way, as it is often not done in love, but more from a point of condemnation. I don’t know what the general trend is in the US, as I have never been there, but the bulk of people that read this blog are from the US so maybe you can comment and let me know.

Here is the bottom line. If we truly love and support our friends, we will tell them when they are doing something wrong and encourage them to do it right. We will not condemn, but we will not ignore their actions (or worse, encourage the wrong actions). We are called to hold each other accountable, that is not condemning. We hold each other accountable in order to build them up, the devil condemns in order to tear us down, there is a massive difference between the two. Encouraging people to stop doing what is wrong, is part of encouraging people to do what is right. We are called to do both of those things. So next time your friend opposes you in love, next time they challenge you on something that you are doing, don’t jump down their throat. Ask yourself, is there something that you need to change? Are they right? If they are, then maybe you need to listen to them. If they are not, they are still only trying to help, so go easy on them. Don’t accept negativity over your life, but don’t just disregard anyone who disagrees with you, there may be an important lesson lost.

Until next week.

Richard

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Degrees of Sin

I have seen various blog post commenting on sin, which is fair enough, yet I have not found one where I can say, yes, I agree with that! They all have angles and certain sins that they pick on, or more disturbingly, try and justify. I know that it is a contentious issue, and that it is very difficult (dare I say impossible) to get it spot on, but I will try to get my view across here.

There are a few contentious issues around whether certain actions are in fact sins, is it a sin to be gay, rich, a woman in ministry or judgemental? You’ll probably get all sorts of people picking certain ones out of here as a sin and others not. You may even get people saying that they all are or none are. What we believe is not really the issue here, the issue is why, and what are we doing about it. Let me explain.

If you read my blog post ‘Judgement Day of Golf‘, you’ll see that ‘judging’ people is not meant to be a condemning act, but rather to help us all improve our relationship with God. I’m not going to re-write the other blog post, so if you have an issue with this comment or don’t understand what I mean, read the other post. Now you have various people picking on various sins. Then you have other people using the fact that those people pick on various sins and not others, in order to try and justify the ‘picked on’ sin. It is becoming a bit of a joke, and a really efficient distraction for us when we really should be looking at it from another perspective. Jesus taught using the cunning use of parables, so I have too. Here is another one.

Picture a football (soccer) team. Now for all of my friends around the world, feel free to substitute your favourite sport instead, just understand what I am getting at. The defenders practise heading the ball, clearances, marking, tackling etc. While the strikers practise shooting, penalties, free kicks etc. Which training exercise is most important? There may well be exercises that are deemed more important than others by certain players or even the coach. However the left back, who may never take a penalty in his life, may be called up to take one in the Champions League final. Trust me, you will want him to get it right. You’ll wish that when he was asked to practise it a week before, he didn’t say, “No thanks, I don’t need to worry about that”.

So what do I mean by this? Simple. We Christians can’t afford to disregard any sin. There is a reason why the Bible says that all sins are equal, it is because God knew that we would pick and choose. Unfortunately people see others pointing sin out as judgemental, and our first response is, “Yes, but what about your sin?” Now first of all we shouldn’t be picking on certain sins over others, but when your ‘pet sin’ comes up, deal with it, don’t try and shift the attention. I think that we see it as someone trying to show how sinful we are. If we honestly saw it as someone trying to help us, we wouldn’t get so defensive. Unfortunately, people don’t often point it out in love, and if they do, others don’t receive it as such. This means that we all run around pointing other people’s sins out, while trying to avoid ours coming to light. How sad. Imagine if we all dealt with ours, how much better off we’d all be!

If we truly want to walk with God and be productive Christians, we need to root ALL sin out of our lives. Now I know that this is impossible, however, we need to strive for it. Not because we will be condemned if we don’t, because we won’t. Because it is not pleasing to God, so I for one don’t want it in my life. So if I may be so bold as to ask everyone to stop picking on certain sins, but get rid of ALL of them. And when someone ‘picks’ on a sin that you may struggle with (or justify), try and ask God if He wants to talk to you about it before just retaliating. Even if someone is rude or has a go at us, even if they are wrong. If we still use that to improve our relationship with God, we will be the winners! As for those ‘sins’ that we don’t think are sins, again, ask God what He thinks and what He would like to tell you. You may be surprised.

I hope that this helps you.

Always improving.

Richard

Judgement Day of Golf

Here is a story for all people out there who consider themselves to be Christians.

Seeing as I’m trying my hand at parables, how about this one. Lets say that you’re a golfer, not a pro but keen, always looking to improve. It’s a lovely Saturday morning and your spouse suggests that you go and play some golf with your friend (not because they are trying to get rid of you but because they are a loving ‘other half’.. honestly). On about the third hole, you realise that your friend is beating you, even though you have putting down to a fine art and they don’t, their driving is so much better than yours because they have a better swing. You shrug it off. Next hole they realise that your swing could improve, so he/she says to you, “Would you like me to show you how to improve your swing?” You fly off the handle, “Who do you think you are judging me? How dare you, walk a mile in my shoes then you can tell me what do do, besides my putting is better than yours and you don’t see me rubbing it in your face!” Let’s stop there. Would you do that? Your friend is trying to help you be a better golfer, which is what you want. Would you tell them off like that or would you listen to what they have to say? If you would tell them off, then you seriously have to ask yourself whether or not you actually take your golf game seriously.

Now, for anyone who says that they would accept the help, why is it different when people come to you in love, and try and help you with your walk with God? Why do people jump down your throat when you try and help them? None of us are perfect. There is room for improvement in all of us, so we really should accept help from people who are not struggling in that area, and then help them in an area that we are strong in and they are not. This way we can all learn, improve and serve God better. Not even to mention how it will help us in our day to day lives. Why do we get so upset about ‘judgement’?

Just in case you think I’m making this up, 1 Corinthians 5:12 is pretty clear, amongst others. 2 Timothy 4:1-5 also makes it difficult to ignore, and then if you combine that with James 4:17, it starts to put you in the wrong for not confronting people. In fact, these scriptures talk about throwing people out of the church! I am merely talking about a little correction.

Let me make a few things clear. This needs to be done in love. We are trying to help people, not humiliate them. It is only for Christians, we are not here to judge non-Christians, we are here to lead them to Christ.

So to wrap it up, when you do ‘judge’ someone in order to help them improve, please do it in love and with respect. In the same regard, when someone approaches you in love and with respect, to help you, please take it as such and learn from it. This will make us all better people, and help us all to grow closer to God.

Keep running the race!

Richard