Evangelism: On Humility and Judgement

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I think David Bosch got it right in his world changing book “Transforming Mission.”

“The one who evangelizes is a witness, not a judge.”

I will own up to it.  My post last week about ‘the idiot’ was judgmental.  I was being judgmental about a guy who was being judgmental about the LGBTQ community.

But a gracious person left a comment which got me thinking. They said “The Bible says we’re not supposed to pass judgment on others.”

It’s true. The Bible even says so.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you will use, it will be measured to you.”

Matthew 7:1-2.

The meaning is crystal clear. Don’t judge.  That’s God’s job.

But the implications run deeper. Things become messy when we take on a job that God is supposed to do.  It always gets messy when we do that. The assumption is, that we operate from a place of superiority, which gives us full right to judge ‘the other.’ Jesus says though, we will be judged by the same measure we judge others.

Think of the guy standing on a soapbox letting everybody know they are going to hell. It’s not an invitation, it’s a judgement and a threat.

For those Christians who judge first, you are claiming a faith that is more about what it is against rather than what it is for.  It is no longer an invitation, but an accusation on what is being done wrong.

Leave the judgments to God. Just concentrate on the ‘saturated in humility’ invitation.

Humility means we stand united with others by our brokenness. It means we are all lined up by the same measure that only God can judge. We forget that sometimes.  Sharing our faith takes our humility, begotten by our brokenness, seriously. A stunning reminder that brokenness doesn’t facilitate judgement, rather it requires relationship with God and with one another.

What do you think?  Is there a place for judgment while we share our faith?  How do judgement and humility function within your life?

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2 comments

  1. Jamie Arpin-Ricci · May 31, 2012

    It is some time hard to differentiate between judgment and speaking prophetic truth. The man in the video was speaking quite publicly in the name of Christ & Christianity. It needs a public and clear refutation. That said, as you caution, that can easily become judgment. Interestingly, in the same text in which Jesus tells us not to judge others (the Sermon on the Mount) He also tells us we will be able to know people by their fruit and must respond accordingly. Fine line, at times.

    • chris lenshyn · May 31, 2012

      A fine line indeed. I feel as though calling him an idiot was a bit too far. I also wonder if we need to pay attention to how we refute. It was very public, but also requires a faithful response. That can get away from people sometimes.

      Though I think in evangelistic settings sharing from a place of judgement is problematic. Thanks for your comments Jamie… seems that this was a bit of a missed opp. to talk about public responses to outlandish remarks.

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