We hear it all the time. It’s become the mantra of postmodern society: Do not judge. Much of this is reinforced by references to a plank in one’s eye and, more famously, casting the first stone. Perpetuated by a mentality of conformity and a natural propensity not to offend, however, these three words have become the excuse letter we bring to PE class to avoid getting hit by a volleyball.
What’s become of us
Society today is extremely permissive. Anything goes because people do not judge. The inevitable train of thought goes from not judging others to not judging ourselves to not judging anything. And everything that is seemingly out of the norm becomes labeled as being “true to oneself,” which then is considered the highest virtue. Although there’s nothing inherently wrong about individuality, we cannot deny that this particular train of thought has already blurred all the lines of what we used to consider normal, rational and moral.
There is a story – a true story – in one of Paul’s letters to the Corinthians where people are told, even commanded, to judge. It’s in 1 Corinthians 5:5-12. If we see what the passage is actually saying, God does not say not to judge, but rather who to judge (that much is clear in verse 12).
The main point of Biblical interpretation is not to take one verse and use it to our convenience, but to take the entire Word of God in its context. Consider, for example, running a company and then saying that your number one rule is 2 Thessalonians 3:10, “Whoever refuses to work is not allowed to eat.” Good luck with that.*
The subtle scheme
Contrary to what we might imagine, the enemy isn’t a scary monster coming to devour us in the night. In fact, the Bible says that he was the “seal of perfection, full of wisdom, perfect in beauty.” He is enticing and tempting and sly, able to disguise anything – anything – as perfectly sound, wholesome, benevolent wisdom.
How can we tell if the silver is real? Dip it in acid. Be a Berean.**
*Not that I believe in luck, which is exactly why I say it.
**Acts 17:11 “Now the Bereans were more noble-minded than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if these teachings were true.”
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