We know better, so let's do better
We know better, so let's do better
I would be making an unrighteous judgment if I said that all Christians are habitually judgmental. However, based on hundreds of social media comments I have read lately, there are way too many hateful things being said by Christians without any thought for how they will hurt others' self-esteem and their views of Christianity.
The judgments go towards nonbelievers and their "worldly" views and practices, but also overwhelmingly extend to fellow Christians with differing views.
As Christians, we need to make sure we practice what we preach and be like the man we cherish as our Savior and Redeemer. To do this, we must recognize the views that lead to unrighteous judgments:
We strongly believe we are right, so thus, everyone else must be wrong.
We think we know what a good Christian is and define others by our own definitions.
We believe what our spiritual leaders tell us about other faiths and see no reason to find out for ourselves.
We judge people, organizations, and religions based on tidbits of information rather than on the whole picture.
We think that Jesus loves us more than others because we follow Him.
We are afraid of the "world," and are quick to condemn anything we believe is worldly.
Pride, ignorance, and fear will continue to drive us to division with our fellow Christians, and the rest of the world, unless we strive to do these things:
Recognize and respect that there are wide ranges of moral beliefs in this world. Christians don't all hold the same beliefs because of different translations of the Bible, leading to varying doctrines and practices. There are also people of many different faiths, and people who hold no faith. They all have their own moral compasses and are doing the best they can based on what they know.
Cease making our own definitions of what a good Christian is, and leave that to Christ. None of us lives our religion perfectly.
Question demeaning things spiritual leaders, parents or friends say about other religions, denominations and groups of people. Find out if it is true. When I was a high school freshman, we studied different Christian religions. A boy in my history class raised his hand when the discussion came to a particular denomination. He said that those people weren't Christians, providing a reason he believed to be true. I knew it was false, though, because he was talking about my denomination. He didn't know I was of that faith, but his comment really hurt me. It is sad that he was so misinformed about my religion to judge it in such a harsh way.
Do the research at the source to come to our own unbiased conclusions when we want to learn more about a religion or group. Several years ago, I dated a man who was as religious as I was but worshiped in a different church. We had many conversations about faith. I realized after a while, he was starting to make accusations against my faith – things that were sometimes very random, but always very cynical in nature. I later realized that he had been researching my religion by studying websites specifically created to denounce it. Though, after study and prayerful consideration, I was able to confirm the untruths, it affected me very deeply. Had he studied my faith from the source, much hurt could have been avoided and understanding increased.
Realize that we only see the tip of the iceberg. Even if we are aware of behaviors of others that aren't good, we don't know the struggles they go through or the goodness that they have within them. We can't judge on one thing that we see. Only God knows a person completely.
Remember that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). This means that He loves each of His children equally and wishes for all of us to partake of His goodness, peace, and salvation.
Focus on our own faults, and how we can improve, rather than focusing on the faults of others. The Lord taught that we must take the beam out of our own eyes before telling our brother to take the mote out of his, else we be hypocrites (Matthew 7:2-5).
Refuse to judge according to appearance, but instead judge a righteous, or true judgment (John 7:24), based on mercy and compassion (Zechariah 7:9). After carefully analyzing facts and situations, we can come to a righteous judgment. Sometimes, we may conclude that for our well-being, we need to distance ourselves from certain people or groups. However, we should always allow for second chances. Once, when I was a teenager riding the bus after school, my friend and I started talking about religion. I told him mine, and he told me his. He told me that in his parents didn't allow him to speak to anyone in my religion, but that he would continue to be my friend anyway because I was so nice. As an adult, I can now see just what a wonderful example he was of righteous judgment. I am grateful that he came to his conclusions based on my character and saw past a rule he didn't feel good about.
Befriend those around us who are hard to love. By doing so, we will gain better understanding, and also find things we love about them.
Try to see the good in all people. We are all trying to do our best with the knowledge and experience we have. We should encourage, not bully, and love, rather than judge.
Fellow Christians, let's think more carefully before we post on social media. The best form of persuasion comes from true knowledge and compassion, not bashing or accusing.
I know that Jesus Christ would want us to be united in His army, and to remember that we are allies and not enemies. We have Him in common, and that should be enough.
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