Why So Judgmental?

Why are Christians so judgmental, when it’s obvious that God is all about love? This is a hard question to answer. It’s normal to judge. We all do it. We depend on judgment. We depend on a shared moral code. Distinguishing good from bad preserves the peace. It guides us in our common life, as a community and a nation.

But God tells us not to judge. God tells us to replace judgment with forgiveness. He tells us to love each other as He has loved us. How do we make sense of this?

Suppose you’re sitting in a park on a sunny day. Maybe you’re even reading your Bible. You happen to see a guy drinking a couple of six packs, and he’s getting pretty drunk. You know what the Bible says about drunkenness, so what do you do? It’s really hard not to say, “Man, that guy is a bad person. He needs to change. He needs to find Jesus.”

Well, maybe he does need to find Jesus! Maybe you are right. But before you judge him to be a bad person, think about Jesus. What would Jesus do? I think He would look at the guy and say, “I see his heart. He was born into sin. Who wasn’t? Now he’s sinning. Who isn’t? I think I’ll go talk to him. I’ll go love on him.”

That’s what Jesus does. He doesn’t look at the guy and say, “What a bad person.” Jesus looks at the guy with love and understanding.

If that’s what Jesus does, then why should a Christian, a follower of Jesus, look down on the guy? Some Christians even judge a guy and then expect his admiration. I’ll let you in on something. It doesn’t work.

Some people treat their kids the same way. They drag them to church. They tell them, “You’re bad! You need to do better!” Kids hear that, and guess what? They feel bad!

This is terrible. It’s terrible that kids live in fear of their parents. It turns into fear of God, and I’m not talking about reverential fear. I’m talking about actual, scared fear. They will look at God and literally be scared of His judgment. “Mom and Dad think I’m bad. God must think I’m bad too.”

Teaching children to fear just wounds them. It drives them away from God. That’s not what we want! We want our children’s hearts to fill with love! We want them to love themselves and love their neighbors! But love only happens when children experience God’s love. Not their parents’ judgment.

Let’s go back to the guy in the park, the one you were tempted to judge. Judging him does not help him. It hurts him. It pushes him further away from God. It doesn’t help you either. Judging others hurts you because it draws you away from grace and into a judgment mentality.

Here’s what I try to do. I see that guy in the park, and I think, “Well, in my view, what he’s doing is wrong. I’m not going to go and get drunk with him. Does he need Jesus? Yes. But I’m not going to bring him to Jesus by smacking him in the back of the head with a Bible. He’s not going to love Jesus because I’m standing there, telling him he’s wrong.”

How about just loving on the guy?

Replacing Judgment with Love

Nietzsche said the last Christian died on the cross.

That is such a bold, yet powerful and piercing statement. Is it true? In some ways I feel that it is. And that’s painful!

It’s not just how one man saw it, either. I think a lot of people see it that way. Jesus would not want it to be true, so we need to do something to change it.

It’s a joke how much we judge in the church. Continue reading

Sharing Abundance

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10

Abundant life! What does that mean? Well, abundant life is a life that is not in need. You don’t need to find food, you have it. You don’t need to find water, you have it. You don’t need to find a place to live, you live somewhere. You don’t need to find a job, you have a job.

It doesn’t mean you have millions of dollars. I think abundance is having enough, plus some for somebody else. And if you have enough, and you have extra, then you live in abundance. Continue reading

Know Your Neighbor’s Needs

The first great commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself. The day I realized that these are not two commandments, but one single commandment, was a day of revelation for me. It took me a few years of searching to see it, but when this realization came home, then BAM! I thought I knew all I needed to know. I was so excited to get started. So I founded an organization called Generation Alive.

Initially, it was about training young people to lead, and to dream really big. That’s why I started Generation Alive. I said, “Okay, you know, I have to figure out some way to love my neighbor as myself. I want to love on young people. I want to tell them to dream really big.” So I got this huge idea to start a non-profit. I hired a guy to serve as Generation Alive’s director. We got into a couple of schools, and we talked about dreaming big. It seemed like it was going well, but nothing ever really caught on. Generation Alive was failing. Continue reading

The Secret Is Love

Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. John 20:29

Jesus knew how hard it would be for us to believe without seeing. It’s as if he told us, “I know it’s going to be hard to do. I know it is. I know this is going to be really, really difficult. But when your soul feels real love, the love I’ve showed you, you’re going to be okay. You won’t miss it that you didn’t see Me, or walk around Palestine with me. It won’t matter that you didn’t see the miracles with your own eyes. You won’t miss it at all, because your soul will crave My love. And when you accomplish just a little part of loving others the way I love you, it’ll feel so good to your soul that faith will seem easy. You’re going to believe in Me.”

And I think that that’s what happens when you get together with other people and help build His kingdom. Continue reading

Love, Not Judgment

Nietzsche said the last Christian died on the cross.

That is such a bold, yet powerful and piercing statement. Is it true? In some ways I feel that it is. And that’s painful! It’s not just how one man saw it, either. I think a lot of people see it that way.

In her comments on my last post, Lisa wrote, “So many people laugh at the ‘Bible thumpers’ and think they are complete lunatics. They lump all Christians together and view us with such a negative light. How can we change that?

I think we change that by changing how we do things. It’s so simple. We have to love, not judge. Continue reading

Living Like Jesus (Part 1)

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10

Abundant life! What does that mean? Well, abundant life is a life that is not in need. You don’t need to find food, you have it. You don’t need to find water, you have it. You don’t need to find a place to live, you live somewhere. You don’t need to find a job, you have a job.

It doesn’t mean you have millions of dollars. I think abundance is having enough, plus some for somebody else. And if you have enough, and you have extra, then you live in abundance.

Consumerism can actually kill people. Continue reading