We Don't Like Jesus, Part 2 - Condemnation

Matthew 7:1-6

Rev. Christopher Harbin

29 November 2015

We like to love Jesus, until it comes down to doing what he taught us. In the first portion of this series, we looked at issues of justice. Today we turn to issues of condemnation. It is in our nature to condemn others, as we can find many appropriate reasons to condemn people. In the United States, this "land of the free," we have the highest percentage of population incarcerated in the world. We are pros at this idea of condemnation and judgment. We are both good at finding people to condemn and then going about the process of isolating them from the rest of society in our haste to vilify those who break our laws and run roughshod over us. Since 9/11, we have even begun marching toward standardizing policies of holding people accountable before they have committed any crime. We call it taking measures of prevention or pre-empting attacks. The concern we ought to have as believers, however, is how closely the attitudes and actions that support all this condemnation follow the teachings of Jesus.

Jesus addressed the issue of judgmental-ism clearly in Matthew 7. He told us not to condemn others, as we are all worthy of condemnation and often simply blind to our own faults. Not only does he tell us not to judge or condemn others, but that the manner of our judgment will reflect the manner by which we ourselves will be judged.

That should be a sobering thought. If I want to condemn someone for clearly acting against God's teachings, I need to first be honest with myself that I also act against God's teachings. I can talk about the clear teaching of Scripture all day long, but I have to keep in mind passages like Romans 3, where Paul reminds us that we are every one of us sinners. I have to bear in mind that 1st John tells us that if we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and the truth is not in us. On the other hand, if all we intend to do is point out that one or another issue is sinful, we must recognize that somewhere along the line there are other issues of our own failings to which we are either blind or refuse to place in God's hands.

It is easy to condemn others. It is especially easy to condemn people who make us uncomfortable by their words, actions, and lifestyle. All too often, the issues we focus on tend to be more issues of culture than issues of righteousness, however. We want to condemn head scarves, forgetting that a short few decades ago what passes for modesty in our culture today would have been an affront to civil society. We want to bash people for using drugs, forgetting that children playing church a few decades ago might include going outside on the steps for a smoke. We want to bash rap music artists for the violence of their lyrics, while we avidly watch violence in our living rooms or promote violence in refusing to address issues of unfair trade practices.

All too often, we condemn people for disagreeing...

...for the full text of this sermon, see We Don't Like Jesus, Part 2 - Condemnation, at SermonSearch.com

—©2015 Chri­stopher B. Harbin

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