Why is it that people who don't believe the Bible to be the final authority on morality – some of those in Hollywood, for example – feel the need to point out to people who do believe it how their theology is wrong?
There sure is a lot of judging going on in New York and Hollywood right now. Places that pride themselves on non-judgmentalism. Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has been accused of – and admitted to – sexually harassing and physically assaulting actresses and other women for decades. Many are saying it was an open secret in the movie business.
Weinstein may not be a household name, but he is considered one of the most powerful people in Hollywood. It took a few days, but Hollywood liberals have now taken to social media to openly judge Weinstein's actions as wrong. A lot of people are calling him a pig, a monster, and worse. That's right, these secular progressives who don't believe in judging are on their moral high horse.
I have often said that the favorite Bible verse of those who don't believe the Bible is Matthew 7:1 where Jesus says: "Judge not, that you be not judged." As with most verses in the Scripture, it's helpful to read the "before and after" so that the meaning is in proper context.
Read in context, it is clear in this verse that Jesus is warning against self-righteousness and hypocrisy. He is not preaching sexual freedom. But in popular culture, what happens to this idea of not judging is that whenever a Christian points out that a certain behavior is immoral or sinful according to the Bible, then that person or group of people is immediately attacked by those who don't believe the Bible and called "self-righteous" or "religious fanatics."
And who isn't against self-righteousness? It's one of the most off-putting personality traits someone can have. People who practice self-righteousness or display a "holier than thou" attitude usually don't have many friends. But it is ironic that people who do not believe the Bible to be the final authority on morality feel the need to point out to people who do how their theology is wrong.
In fact, some of those folks are reading this now and are about to post a message against Tim Wildmon for being a self-righteous man who tries to tell other people how to live. These folks, of course, will be passing judgment on me declaring that I should not be passing judgment when really I haven't passed any judgment at all in this particular column. I have only written about the issue of passing judgment. So if you are going to post a message about Tim Wildmon passing judgment, please wait until the next column when I really will be passing judgment on someone, I'm sure. Probably Democrats. But I digress…
If you think about it, it's really not judging that people have a problem with – it's judging negatively. For example, no one gets upset when someone says something complimentary about another's behavior, even though by doing so they have passed judgment. But it's a judgment of affirmation. No, it's only when they say something of disapproval that the offended party then comes back with "Quit judging me!"
The truth is that the Bible, including the teachings of Jesus, is full of judgment. It tells us what is good and what is evil. It tells us what is right and what is wrong. It tells us what is moral and what is immoral. It tells us what to practice and what to shun. If you don't want to be accountable for your life and your behavior, it's best to avoid the Bible – and many do so for that very reason.
Every day the goal of Christians should be to obey and live out what the Bible teaches, both inwardly and outwardly. Sometimes we will fail because, as long as we are here on earth, we have to contend with the war between the spirit and the flesh. It is unnatural to deny the flesh, so by the grace of God we have to discipline ourselves to submit to God's will. It's also called self-control. This is a day-to-day process. This is also why humility is so important. Humility is the opposite of arrogance or self-righteousness, which brings us back to judging. We are all capable of doing bad things, sometimes very bad things. For that reason, we should be careful not to think too highly of ourselves and pray – lest we also fall into sin ourselves.
Micah 6:8 says: "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
I judge that as a good verse on which to end this column.
Tim Wildmon (firstname.lastname@example.org) is president of the American Family Association in Tupelo, MS.
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