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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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William

Who Are You to Judge Others?

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by Paul Copan

 

Hands down, Matthew 7:1 is the most frequently quoted Bible verse today: “Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged.” It’s been twisted to mean we can’t say someone’s action or lifestyle is wrong. However, when someone says, “Don’t judge,” he’s judging you for judging someone else. You’ve done wrong by saying someone else has done wrong! Clearly, we can’t escape making moral judgments. Furthermore, in the same context of the oft-quoted verse, Jesus made a moral judgment about certain persons, using metaphors about “dogs” and “pigs” (Mt 7:6), stressing that we shouldn’t continue to present God’s grace to those who persistently scoff and ridicule. At some point we must shake the dust off our feet and move on to the more receptive (Mt 10:14; Ac 13:51). On the other hand, Jesus commanded, “Stop judging according to outward appearances; rather judge according to righteous judgment: (Jn 7:24, emphasis added).

 

How do we resolve the apparent tension? By taking note of the spirit in which we make judgments. Do we think we’re superior (the attitude Jesus condemned), or are we assessing actions or attitudes with a spirit of humility and concern, recognizing our own weaknesses (1 Co 10:13; Gl 6:1)? In Matthew 7:5, Jesus told us first to examine ourselves (removing the log from our own eye), then we can help our brother or sister (taking the speck out of his or her eye). So there is a problem to be dealt with-- but only after self-examination. The wrong kind of judging is condemning. The right kind of judging is properly evaluating moral (or doctrinal) matters with a humble, helpful attitude. (In 1 Co 5:5, “judging”-- even excommunicating-- is required in light of a church member’s shameless sexual misconduct.) We should treat others the way we would want to be treated (cp Mt 7:12, thinking, There-- but for the grace of God-- go I.

 

So when discussing judging with others, first clarify what you mean by the word “judge.” This can serve as the context for clarifying right and wrong kind of judgment. Further, we must take care to avoid the “Who am I to say So-and-So is wrong?” mentality. We can’t shrink from making moral judgments, nor can we escape them-- lest we declare it wrong to say to another is wrong.

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