Luke 12:57 (Jesus said) “Why don't you judge for yourselves what is right?”
There’s a lot of talk these days about Christians being too judgmental. We’re criticized for trying to live according to Christ’s words and sometimes those accusations sting us personally. Consequentially, some people of our faith are afraid of appearing to be judgmental in the eyes of others, so they’ve stopped making judgments altogether. Instead of being the leaven in society in order to change the world for the better in God’s eyes, we’ve become stale. We would rather be respected by others in society, instead of respecting Christ’s own words. We want to be considered broad minded and open rather than following Christ’s sacred and singular way. And even when our church pastors or Christian teachers mention this, we close off our ears, hearts, and minds to any questioning of our choices or to those suggestions that we are walking on the wrong path.
Jesus also had to deal with this in His own day. He was frustrated by the lack of judgment His people were making with regard to their faith and everyday choices. They could work out what kind of day it was going to be by looking at the color of the sky in the morning, but they couldn’t discern that Christ was among them, challenging their ways, and confronting their choices. Even though the signs of the Messiah were all there before them, they didn’t accept Jesus as the Anointed One. They wanted Him to be shaped according to their plans, their needs, and their beliefs.
“Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?” Jesus frustratingly exclaims. In other words, you know what is right, so what is stopping you from choosing it?
Being a 21st century Christian and living a cosmopolitan world is difficult, but who ever said it was going to be easy? When faithful people judge what is right, the world is always going to complain that we are narrow-minded and spiritually closed: yet isn’t that why Christ was crucified? He was totally misunderstood, became unpopular, and was finally executed for daring to judge what was right – perhaps this is why we find it so hard to do the same.
Questions for personal reflection
What makes me a Christian? How different is my lifestyle from my non-Christian peers?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You have called me to be a Christian and to judge what is right. Help me not to be fearful of my peers when they attack my faith or ridicule my religion. In Your Holy Name, I pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to email@example.com.
Today’s image is a Good Friday crayon drawing of John’s called “Passover.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link: http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5259/5394517049_ef741c1bdf_b.jpg