“But You’re Not Supposed To Judge”
By Benjamin Raven Pressley
“Judge not, that ye be not judged.” (Mathew 7:1) IS ONE OF THE MOST MISUNDERSTOOD AND ABUSED SCRIPTURES IN BIBLE. Read the whole verse in context. Go ahead read it Matthew 7:1-5. It says “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
People love to throw these verses in the face of anyone who brings something to their attention that they see may be harmful to their life, the life of someone else or their spiritual condition. This scripture is NOT SAYING DON’T JUDGE AT ALL, it is just Jesus’ warning that if we do judge a situation that we better measure up and be living it before we point it out to someone else and it better be according to what Bible says. The Bible is our measuring stick. We are supposed to help one another. How in the world are we going to help one another if we don’t pray and judge righteously with love and the intent to improve something in a person’s life that we are seeing that they may not be seeing. God is our ultimate judge. He will, in the end, decide who goes to heaven or hell. But if we don’t judge ourselves and help others by pointing out sin to them in a loving way meant to restore and not hate or tear down how will they know? The Bible also says “For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that THEY MAY BE JUDGED ACCORDING TO MEN IN THE FLESH, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter4:6). Further more it says in same chapter: “For the time is come that JUDGMENT MUST BEGIN at the house of God.” (1 Peter 4:17). Matthew 7:15-20 says You Will Know Them by Their Fruits—
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”
DOESN’T THAT REQUIRE SOME JUDGING TO DETERMINE THAT? We absolutely SHOULD judge what is good and what is evil in this world! Isaiah 5:20 makes it clear that we BETTER JUDGE: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
So, STOP USING THIS VERSE AS A COVERALL LIKE IT IS ONLY VERSE IN THE BIBLE! “Choose you this day whom ye will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
DIFFERENCES, DIVISIONS AND THE CURE
By Benjamin ‘RAVEN’ Pressley
You know what I wish? I wish people would just stop labeling groups and judge all people as individuals and get to know them on their own merit and consider all human beings a community with much diversity but human nonetheless. These days people not only want you to accept their lifestyle, political orientation, religious affiliation, etc…. but to also praise it. I want to love all people like Jesus did. And I will not be a part of celebrating someone’s gayness, religiousness, color, gender, etc. Racism, as an example, will never go away as long as we acknowledge someone as another race. We give power to things in this world that we should not. Our power should be consumed in treating one another as we would want to be treated. So, I guess what I am saying is I’m not pro-gay, pro-race, pro-gender, pro-religion…I AM PRO-HUMAN. Anything less only divides us and does not unite us.
God created an amazingly diverse world with many kinds of life upon it. Everything is made to reproduce of its own kind. Humans produce humans. Period. There may be different genders, different skin colors, different body types…but human nonetheless. But somewhere along the line rather than accepting that we are all human beings someone decided we were different and then went a step beyond that and decided one person was better and superior to one another simply because they were different. And then someone went a step beyond that and decided to oppress the one they deemed inferior.
So here we are in the world we have today. People generalizing and stigmatizing and ostracizing one another. An entire population of people are often rejected due to someone’s perceived difference. And it can go either way as far as the rejection. Very often a group makes it known they are different which causes another group to question their difference and the group who claims to be different rejects the group questioning who they are and they then ultimately reject one another, very often not knowing why, very often it is a reaction rather than a well thought out justification and then the division and hate grows from there.
I hate it when people generalize and reject a whole group of people and not get to know one another and respect one another on an individual basis. That includes CHRISTIANS. We aren’t all homophobes and crusaders. I say to whomever is judging me or other Christians: ‘Think of how you feel when people generalize and put down whatever you classify yourself as.’
We are supposed to be rational beings. We have the biggest brain among all creatures that have brains. We are human. We are not higher developed animals. There is a difference. We DO have the capacity to live among our fellow creatures and not only just live and survive but also to thrive and make a difference in creation in a capacity that no other living creature can. Humans only have been given the responsibility and privilege to be keepers of creation, stewards of the earth. Animals naturally do what they do. They don’t fight who they are. It isn’t cruel when a cheetah tracks down and kills and eats a baby kudu or one who is weak or slow. It just is. They are doing what they do which is pretty much eat and reproduce. They have a place in the food chain and they live it naturally. By taking their natural place they often indirectly serve a higher purpose. For example, the buzzard eats carrion which aids in the higher purpose of a dead animal decaying and eventually becoming soil that ultimately feeds plants that feed the grazing prey of the cheetah. It isn’t like they get up everyday and get together for a committee and discuss their purpose in life. The buzzard doesn’t need to congregate or seek guidance. They instinctively know their purpose and they do it. I know some of you scholars out there reading this are just chomping at the bit to complicate this but oddly enough that is one of the things that humans do wrong.
See here is where it really gets strange. Humans were created with this thing called power of choice. With that gift also came a responsibility. That responsibility was an awareness that every human thought and action would have an effect upon all creation like no other created being. So, what did people do with this tremendous power to wield over their world? They chose to throw away the manual of the Creator and gratify themselves not caring what effect it had upon the world. Think about it. Broaden the story of creation and Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden beyond a Sunday School story. God put everything on this planet in a human couple’s hands. He taught them how to be caretakers of the earth. He taught them what worked and what did not work. He taught them what gave life and what killed on every level spirit, soul and body. He taught them that all things were connected and were part of a great oneness like a body. The body has hands, feet, eyes, etc. You remove an eye, a hand, a foot it affects the whole body. He gave them all the information they needed to make the right choice and they chose to make the wrong choice. Why was it the wrong choice? It seemed OK to them. They would have instant gratification. Ah, there was the problem. There is why it was the wrong choice. They made a choice that did not consider the consequences of how it would affect the rest of creation or for that matter how it would affect them in the long run. It wasn’t just fruit on a tree that they ate. They chose moral relativism. They decided they would decide what was evil and what was good. They decided they were equal with the Creator in this capacity and could do a better job at it than him. People decided they were smarter and more capable than the designer and creator of everything who knew every circuit, if you will, every system and what it needed to function to its maximum capacity benefiting all creation not just one creature. Though people did not design creation and did not have the creator’s knowledge of creation decided to do it their way.
So what happened? The Bible account says they were run out of the Garden of Eden, man would have to plow and coax the earth to produce what was freely given him in Eden and they would have pain and sickness. Now most ‘scholars’ interpret this as if it was God’s direct curse for disobedience and he was punishing them and the lesson we should take away from this was always obey God which usually means the man in the pulpit that runs the local ‘church’ denomination. Fact is God honored their choice and allowed the consequences that he had already warned them of in advance to come upon them. I think the whole obedience vs. disobedience oversimplifies the matter. Fact is God created this universe and put every cause and effect in place. The capacity was there to make right choices that would empower every living thing including human beings, especially human beings. He gave people the information they needed to make the right choice but they didn’t. And as a result it affected every living thing upon this planet.
So, hey human, how’s that going for you? Did you learn anything? Well, obviously not because people are still making wrong choices to this day and we are getting more and more worse off day by day and it appears there really is no stopping it. Sure there are small awakenings here and there and minute cultures that pop up that decide to go from here and make right choices for their small tribe. But guess what? That big old ruling, powerful Mother Culture is standing ready to squash any effort to do what is right because it points out that Mother Culture just might be wrong and we can’t have that can we?
So, God goes above and beyond what he is obligated to do and he says, “Woman, all that pain you have in childbirth, I’m going to take that pain and I am going to produce in your womb, yes, ‘your’ womb, the one who originally made the wrong choice and passed it on to your husband, who also was able to make the right choice but didn’t, and produce in your womb the salvation of all creation. I’m going to take on the flesh of humanity in the form of my son, Jesus. He is not going to show you the way. He is going to BE the way. He is not going to teach you truth, he is going to BE the truth. He is not going to give you life, he is going to BE the life. So, let me make sure you understand. He is the way, the truth and the life. He is the fulfillment and satisfaction of what you call the way, the truth and the life. He always has been. My son and I are one. Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we are one. Hear my son’s words, lay aside all YOUR perceptions of the meaning of life and live. It is within my power only to do this. There is nothing humanity can do in their own power to do this. You have another chance.”
So, all humanity rejoices and we live happily ever after, right? Not! Well, some rejoice and get it but not enough to change the world and big old powerful Mother Culture sure didn’t learn and was there to squash any individual or group’s efforts to change and make right choices. The culture we live in is like a disease. A disease only cares about itself. It eats away and destroys healthy tissue until it is all sick. It is mindless and has no conscience and it grows and propagates itself until its host is dead and then it reaches out for more, an insatiable hunger.
So, what is the name of the sickness that eats away at every effort to make the right choices and live in such a way that brings back the balance? The Bible calls it sin. In this day and time that is one of those words that just won’t be tolerated, won’t be considered, that word will get you crucified, beheaded, jailed, hated and more. Yet it is the nature of the disease. Like cancer it has to be removed, cut out and sometimes at a cost of some of the healthy tissue otherwise the host becomes the disease because the disease won’t be satisfied with anything less than complete control and domination.
Now enter the surgeons of this world. The evangelists in the second century were the surgeons the Holy Spirit sent into the world. Their treatment? Repent. Totally let go, admit you are wrong, admit you cannot cure that which eats away at you like a cancer and the Great Physician, Jesus will heal you and empower you to make the right choices because only he can change your nature even at the level of your innermost desire. But what was most of the world’s response? “I want a second opinion.” Well, guess what? A second opinion is just that, an opinion! It isn’t the cure. It isn’t an alternate treatment that works just as well, it’s an opinion. It has no power, it gives no guarantees. It often treats symptoms but that just dulls the pain so you can ignore the fact that the disease is still spreading and eventually the disease wins and it kills you.
So, who are some of the surgeons and physicians of the world? Self help, self medicate, religion, humanistic atheistic thinking, philosophy and fantasy. They all have the answer, don’t they? There is an old country saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Well that was exactly what the devil in the form of a serpent in the Garden of Eden was. He offered a fix to something that was perfect already, something that didn’t need fixing. That’s what these surgeons, physicians, mystics, gurus and religions of this world offer, a fix to that which is already perfect and unbroken.
“Yeah,but this sin word, why do you have to go there? It depends on what you mean by sin doesn’t it?” Or in the words of one of our presidents caught in the act of adultery said, “Depends what you mean by sex.” Really? Seriously? Yep, the symptoms were numbed down so the disease could be ignored. But just like pain’s job is to tell us something is wrong our conscience was given to tell us something is wrong! But what is this culture’s reaction? “Let’s pass a law saying it is OK. Yeah, that will fix it, yeah I can feel the pain going away now so it must be cured.” Guess what? The disease is still there. Wake up Adam. Wake up Eve. Just because you chose to decide what was good and what was evil doesn’t do anything but bring more consequences down on your head. You didn’t design or create this world. You don’t get to write the user’s manual. But that is exactly what people keep doing don’t they? They keep rewriting the manual. It constantly has to be rewritten though doesn’t it? Because given time, though the machine will run a while, it will eventually break down. It’s like putting water in a gasoline engine when we come up with our own quick fixes and medicate ourselves and ignore that still small voice of our conscience. Sooner or later our methods fail and very often leave us progressively worse off.
So, who is reading this that really wants to fix things and do things the way you were designed? Who is ready to stop running on water and put the gasoline of truth in their tanks? Who is willing to kick the drugs of lying to ourselves and apathy and go to the only one who has the cure? Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, you know what? It isn’t. It should be. It would be if we didn’t live in a world already messed up with thousands of years of bad choices. It would be if everyone simultaneously decided God was right and they were wrong. But the good news is it can be. Yeah, it will take some effort. For some it will be easier than others because some of our life choices have had greater and more binding consequences than others. But the good news is it will make a difference where it really counts and that is in YOU. His power and cure cuts across all the barriers this world sets. He is not subject to our control. There is no pack of wolves that can stop him from getting to the sheep that cries out for him. Only he can make it possible for the person behind prison bars to be freer than the one outside the prison who still insists on living under their delusion that they are the ones that are free. It is only in Christ that we can live in this world and not be of it. And the light he places within you chases away darkness wherever it goes. Sure, Mother Culture will try to hide your light under a bushel but first she has to climb the hill where your light shines like a beacon on a hill. And it will have its effect. It may seem it is only having a small effect but there are no small effects in his kingdom for his kingdom is not of this world and though his people are in this world they are not of this world. Even when Mother Culture crucified Jesus they could not stop him besides they did not have the power to take his life he laid it down willingly and he took it back up. All through history Mother Culture has tried to wash his message off the face of the earth with the very blood of those who claimed it but it still stands and it still speaks loud and clear that only HE is the way, the truth and the life. Call upon his name. Allow him to come in and teach you from the inside out, not some pulpit, not some man’s voice, not the screams of Mother Culture, no, he personally invites you into relationship with him and that makes all the difference.