However, in this same spirit, I think we, as Christians, should learn to hear the difference between a body judging us and holding us accountable for the promises we've made to God.
Right now, my home is engaged in spiritual warfare and while the Lord has armed me with a shield of accountability to protect my home, the world has twisted the Word to resist that shield under an accusation of unjust judgment.
I do think God has given us the authority to judge gently for the purposes of accountability, so that our brethren can avoid the true judgment by the Father.
Now I'm no preacher, and (ask my child) I'm no teacher either, but in my true know-it-all fashion, I have compiled a list of scriptures that touch on the subject.
- Galatians 6:1-2 : "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."
This one is pretty clear, we have been called by God to watch out for one another. This is why we go to church, live in communities and have peers — to hold each other accountable for our actions and promises to God.
- Matthew 7:1-3: 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?
OK, at first glance, this one seems to be against my point, but if you read carefully it's clear that this passage less an admonishment against judgment and more a warning against hypocrisy and a call to be prepared to be judged by the same standards by which you're judging.
- Hebrews 10:24: "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." 1 Thessalonians 5:11: "…encourage one another and build each other up…"
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure, so encouraging each other to do the right things have more impact than waiting for them to fail after doing the wrong thing.
- Proverbs 27:17:
"As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
This is pretty self-explanatory, but I like to think of it in terms of a debate. Sometimes just posing a question, can make your argument stronger. By pointing out a weakness, you may actually be helping a loved-one grow into a sharper Christian.
- Ezekiel 33:8-9:
"When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.
This one really spoke to me, because I said it before I read it. As many of you know, I am just now beginning my study of the Bible, so I can't quote the scripture like a pro, but just the other night, engaged in my aforementioned spiritual warfare when I turned to my loved one and stated, that I couldn't live with myself if something happened to them and I hadn't taken every opportunity to convince them to seek shelter in God's Love. Then today, fired up and ready to blog, I came across this passage charging me as a Christian to do just that.
But if I call myself a Christian and I see an issue that you aren't acting on, I feel compelled to speak to you about it.
While looking up scriptures to
Two men were fishing in a stream when they noticed that a nearby bridge was falling apart. Every time a vehicle would drive across it, another piece would fall and the entire bridge would shake dangerously. Finally, after a large truck passed over, the bridge completely fell apart in the middle. The two fishermen knew that if a car came around the bend, the driver would never know that the middle of the bridge was gone; the whole thing could come crashing down, damaging the vehicle and injuring the driver.One of the men looked at his friend and said, “We’ve got to do something. What would be the ‘Christian’ thing to do?”His friend thought for a moment and replied, “Build a hospital?”