I find incredible sadness that congregations and Christians refuse to find ways to accept one another in our combinations of many strengths and various weaknesses and join together to impact a most miserable world. Society is but a reflection of the church’s fulfillment, or lack thereof, of Jesus’ prayer for unity. The encouragement is that we certainly can do better. There is a key biblical solution to help us gain ground on this simple truth which is clearly God’s great desire for us.
Jesus is so not like our original nature. Because of this we find ourselves constantly being recalled, repaired, re-instructed, remodeled, and restarted. I seem to be losing ground. The closer I get to God the bigger He becomes while the dinkier I am found. He becomes more brilliant; not me. He is clueful while I increase in cluelessness. It will always be the challenge of mere men to grow into the Jesus-heart of God. Yet with determined devotion, we will continue to try.
Jesus was marvelously pliable. He could bend with the punishing blows of hatred and insult. He would not give up on the most notorious of sinners. Furthermore he sought them out, went home with them, and hung out with them. There was one conspicuous sort he would not accommodate with leniency in word or deed. Against this brood he stood toe to toe and would not bow. You know the type; and how easily we can fall into it. He consistently rejected anyone who was a critic. He would protest against a crowd to protect a harlot. He befriended thieves and social dyfunctionalites. But he would not give the critic a break. Why this one sort?
Simply put, Jesus does not want humans being critical of each other. The reason? We are each over-the-edge ridiculous and small. Critics were the only sinners targeted by his direct and personal criticism. Why did he spend so much time emphasizing the sin of judging? Criticizing is sin. We just have no room to do it because we each carry failure and guilt of our own sin in front of all; especially do we parade it in front of the Judge.
The only way one can forget himself into being critical is to simultaneously forget himself regarding his many failing grades as a Christian. When we are critical we are at our worst behavior. Nothing threatens our salvation as this one trait. Uncontrolled tongues will cost hard-working, Bible-believing, church-serving souls. When we criticize we have forgotten our deep and personal sin; our great failing to hit the many marks God desires. When we are critical we speak as if superior to another….of which we never are.
While you might see the obvious flaw in another’s doctrinal position or congregational practice; none of those (whether liberal or conservative) items will cost salvation for those in Christ Jesus. The critical judgmental spirit will. “For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment. (Jas. 1:13)” Jesus reserved his severest words for the critics. He got it from the Father. We cannot afford to treat another congregation or individual with anything but rich mercy and enduring love….if we expect to receive the same on the Judgment Day.