If you’ve been exposed to the Bible, you’ve probably heard this verse many times:
“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.”
I’m sure that I’ve written on this topic before, including the apparent contradictions between this verse and the instructions that Paul gives concerning the church. I do not want to address this much at the moment. Perhaps I will when I gain (or rather, am granted, more wisdom), but I will conclude with the hackneyed expression, “Judge actions, not people.” That’s a thing people say, right? More or less?
What I do want to talk about is the trap. You know the trap. We start worrying about our friends, our family members, celebrities, random people. If they are Christians, we worry that they are not taking their faith seriously. We worry that they are not quite on the “narrow path” like we are. We stress over their sins, cringe when the cuss, recoil at their selfishness… which is better then the other way around, I suppose. But the problem is that we can become so engrossed in other people’s sin, that we completely forget our own, which could be just as bad or worse. I have many examples of this, but they are rather personal in nature. But what I can say is that I do try to preach to this one person I know. I read him certain Bible verses, and I worry about him. I may even find myself taking some of the credit for what I see as his improvement, which is kind of stupid, but very consistent with human nature.
While at the same time, I am guilty of the very same things, and worse. Much worse, I think.
Why do we focus so much on other people’s sin when it’s beyond our control? Why don’t we put things into God’s hands instead of trying to deal with it on our own? Maybe we can use some of the time that we spend worrying about other people, resisting gay marriage, and making fun of celebrities to really examine ourselves. Righteous indignation is, by definition, a good thing. But it turns sour when it is only directed outward and not inward, or when it becomes personal and malicious.