Monday, February 22, 2010

Judge not lest you be judged

I got an interesting comment on my entry on Yvonne Chan's experience of reaping good fruit from her kindness long ago. Maybe somebody else can make sense of what this anonymous poster had to say. He or she says I'm violating the command not to judge lest I be judged, and reaping what I sow - by which he/she means bad things. No problem judging me, anyway.

What stones am I throwing, and what bad things am I reaping? Yvonne Chan reaped a long-deferred blessing in exchange for her good work 35 years ago - there's something wrong with commending that? Or is there something wrong with speaking up for the speechless against the prejudice of an agency that's being paid by the taxpayers to provide impartial resolution of their matters? Don't the oppressed deserve relief? Don't you think that you do, when it happens to you?

It's pretty obvious when we read the prophets and Jesus, say Matthew 23, that Jesus isn't forbidding us to rebuke wrongdoers and be specific in naming their wrongdoing. Indeed, in the proverbs it is written that to the one who rebukes the wicked there will be sure delight.

Folks that like to quote Jesus saying not to judge lest we be judged generally do so when they want somebody to shut up. It's not because they care to learn and obey it themselves, because in the very act of quoting it they are themselves judging and condemning the guiltless for telling the truth in defense of the helpless. To quote the words of Jesus when we can't be bothered to understand them and live them out ourselves is actually quite unwise and dangerous. First let's learn and begin to do, and only then begin to quote them. This way when we do we'll maybe know what we're talking about.

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