I confess. I am a Facebook addict. I love keeping up with friends from the past and present, seeing pictures of their children and activities, and following links to see where their interests lie. Today two of these links provided me with much food for thought regarding judging.
***For those of you just here for the card, it's way at the bottom...waaaay down there.***
One of the links took me to an article written by a man who downloaded a new iPhone app. called "Offender Locator." It allows you to check registered sexual offenders in the neighborhood complete with the offender's picture. Curious, he checked his area and saw one of his neighbors was a registered offender. A few days later, he saw the guy. In his very thoughtful article, the man wonders how we would feel if our sins were broadcast over an iPhone app. and our pictures were posted with labels like gossip, glutton, adulterer, thief, liar and dead beat. What if we were trying to make a new life, repentant for past sins, but could never get away from them? Acknowledging that sexual predators rarely overcome their instincts, he admitted there was some benefit for parents to keep children safe; however, this app did not distinguish if the crime was a 20 yr. old with a 17 yr. old or a 49 yr. old with a 12 yr. old. In the end, he deleted the app from his phone and, the next time he saw his registered offender neighbor out playing with his dog, he made a point of saying hello. Comments left at the end of his posting varied widely. One which stuck with me was a woman who intended to download the app. herself immediately. As a "survivor" she landed on the side of keeping kids safe and chastised the author for "comparing the nearly irreparable damage of sexual abuse with having a parent who lies or gossips." If she had been verbally over the top, I could have dismissed her, but she was also thoughtful and well-spoken. And all I could think about after reading her comment was, "But that's the whole point of forgiveness." We understand that there are no big sins and little sins, no gray sins vs. black sins, no special categories for Hitler, Stalin, terrorists and sexual offenders. We all have sinned and done irreparable damage to ourselves and those around us. Without understanding that, we stand in grave danger of judging and being judged which the Bible warns against in James 5:9. I have witnessed the devastation of childhood sexual abuse; I am all for protecting children. But, wow! Someone needs to rewrite George Orwell's "1984" using iPhones.
The next link I followed was posted by a fellow military chaplain's spouse. It concerned a letter written by retired military chaplains and the detrimental effect of repealing the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy for gays in the military. Addressed to the President and congress, it says, “We are deeply concerned that these changes would threaten the religious liberty of chaplains and Service members. Put simply, if the government normalizes homosexual behavior in the armed forces, many (if not most) chaplains will confront a profoundly difficult moral choice: whether they are to obey God or to obey men.” The moral dilema is, of course, that the Bible clearly lables homosexuality as sin and, as such, should be fought against the same way we struggle to put away bitterness, anger, clamour, evil speaking and malice (Eph. 4:31). Sin is sin, and we should fight with all we have to rid ourselves of it. Instead, those pushing the homosexual agenda equate themselves with those who needed to overcome racial discrimination. "We are born this way," they say. Well, I was born a glutton, but I still have a choice about what I put in my mouth the same way they have a choice who shares their bed. I have a choice about sinning or not. By using only parts of Biblical text they agree with, the verse homosexuals often use to keep opponents defensive is "Judge not lest you be judged (James 5:9)."
But "judge not" doesn't mean put your brain on hold, keep your mouth shut about sin you witness, and never make any decision about the morality of someone else's behavior. Stealing, murder, adultery, and abuse of every form are all sins, and if someone does them, my judgement kicks right in and I will speak up to say they are wrong. So will you. Why else are we downloading "Offender Locator" apps to our iPhones? Homosexuals, sexual offenders, liars, cheaters, gossips and gluttons are all sinners. As followers of God, we acknowlege no sin as "worse" than any other, and we work against it both in our own lives and by coming to the aid of those who need help overcoming their sin. No sin is more "hateful" than another; no person stands on higher moral ground than anyone else because we are all mired deep in the muck together.
James 5:9 does not mean turning a blind eye and deaf ear to sin. It means I examine my own life and see what a wreck I've made of it and, when I look at others, judge them with the same compassion I would wish for myself.
The 365 Card "It's So You" challenge today is to make a card which is a reflection of me. The outside is very pretty with flowers and lovely words. The inside is black.
Until next time,