Let Me Be Sole Judge of My People's Hearts
by Patricia Backora
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There is something extremely inconsistent about how many of My people operate. I see flagrant sin overlooked or tolerated in the midst of My assemblies, while “secret sin” which may not even exist is soundly condemned. A pastor or other church leader lives in open adultery and the saints are told not to judge his brazen lifestyle, contrary to Paul’s instructions to the Corinthians on how to deal with a man who slept with his own mother-in-law (I Cor. Chapter 5). Christians are told to zip their lip about it and “just let it go” because they’re not to judge anybody, not ever. But Paul devoted an entire chapter to giving detailed instructions on how the body of Christ is to deal with people who commit sexual immorality or other serious sins which can infect the body of Christ like yeast puffs up a wad of bread dough. Paul did judge this man, even from afar. He even passed a just sentence on this offender!
Paul told the Corinthians that until this man repented, they were to SHUN him and exclude him from their company. In this case, the sin was extremely serious and beyond any shadow of a doubt he was guilty of it. Only when he repented were they to take him back in love. Yet today, as soon as some Christian in the congregation lapses into terrible, shameful sin and acts proud of it, other believers RUSH to reassure that erring believer that he/she is loved no matter what and love is all that matters.
Hogwash! “Love” doesn’t wash away sin, only My blood does that, and only where there is genuine repentance. No wonder marriages are falling apart left and right, and in many cases, the divorce rate is skyrocketing far above the rate of those outside of Christ. Even some unbelieving celebrities and rock stars have stayed in their marriages for decades and managed to keep their families together. Divorce is a disgrace, not something you should take in your stride! This problem is gaining ground in My church because many believe in cheap grace which demands no longsuffering toward one another, no sacrifice, no commitment to vows made before Me at the start of the marriage. I count such a flippant attitude toward marriage a terrible sin, one that ought to be addressed more often in the church.
Oddly enough, while SERIOUS sin which is openly committed is largely ignored among believers, Christian “friends” will make a game out of examining each other’s hearts for POSSIBLE sin which hasn’t even been outwardly expressed in word or deed. Judgmental believers are turning into religious thought police who nitpick at one another. If a grief-stricken or emotionally wounded woman makes a sad face instead of rejoicing in the hurt, she’s accused of being “carnal” or failure to love Jesus enough. If a woman changes her hairstyle, gains two or three pounds, or laughs too much she’s accused of “lack of discipline” in her life. If a man watches a football game instead of going to the church picnic, he’s accused of harboring gross selfishness in his heart and backsliding away from the body of Christ.
If a troubled friend asks for prayer for some hurt or other problem instead of keeping it to themselves and toughing it out, they’re accused of spiritual immaturity. The judgmental believer puts two and two together and gets five. They think the troubled individual must be neglecting their Bible reading or failing to spend enough time praying for themselves. Or maybe I’m whipping that believer because they’ve done something really awful, so it’s the duty of the other Christian to pick the brain of the other believer to “get at the root of the problem.”
That’s where it gets interesting. While some Christians scold one another in a high-handed, self-righteous way, others are far more subtle in their approach. Through feigned kindness, they lower the defenses of the other Christian. They might invite them over for coffee and treat them like a king or queen, going out of their way to be hospitable. The Christian who takes on the role of “counselor” speaks DOWN to the other individual in an oily, smooth, rather spooky voice which he thinks sounds very spiritual indeed. While they’re together, the self-righteous interrogator walks on eggs trying to be “nice”, hoping to get the other person to “open up” and “confess hidden sin in their life” because in order to pray for that one (supposedly) the believer has to know the deepest, hidden secrets of the other person’s soul.
“He hurt me!” the poor besieged believer whimpers.
“Well, have you forgiven him?” the self-righteous, judgmental Christian replies.
“It’ll take time,” the other Christian says. “He hasn’t apologized yet and he’s still mad at me for the ugly things he said.”
“Well, maybe you should humble yourself before HIM first and ask HIS forgiveness for making him want to hit you and yell at you.”
The troubled believer rubs her black eye. “I swear, I didn’t do anything or say anything to make him mad. He stumbled in drunk.”
“Sweetie pie,” the judgmental believer says, “there is no effect without a cause. You must have done or said something to rile him up.”
“But I was in bed sound asleep when he came in and started abusing me.”
“Well, that doesn’t matter. The principle still applies. You must ask HIS forgiveness first and even if he doesn’t apologize you must forgive him unconditionally.”
“Even if he hits me again?”
“Yes. You’re the Christian so you must set the example for forgiveness.”
“But I’ve done nothing wrong.”
“Think back. Wasn’t there ever a time when you might have burnt his toast or kept him waiting too long? Nobody’s perfect.”
“What about my black eye?” her victim replies. “Why should I move out of the women’s shelter and go back to this brute so he can blacken the other eye? What about our two little children? Why should they be around such violence and risk getting hurt themselves?”
“Aha!” the judgmental believer cries. “I found the root of your problem! UNFORGIVENESS! The worst sin there is. You know, you can go to hell for that! You don’t REALLY love Jesus! How terrible you are! You just wait till I tell the prayer chain about you.”
Only I the Lord am qualified to look deep inside each of your hearts and convict you of “hidden sin”. Outward words or actions which can hurt the Body of Christ are one thing, but wrong attitudes or storms brewing deep down in your own soul, only I am able to diagnose and remedy such things. That’s MY bailiwick, not yours. I have not called you to sit around like a bunch of gossipy monkeys nitpicking and checking each other’s spiritual scalps for spiritual lice.
Do not tolerate gross sin in My camp. But remember, only I the Lord am qualified to try the hearts and the inner parts (Psalms 7:9).
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