Condemning the Specks

As the time for Christine Blasey Ford to speak before the judiciary committee concerning her allegations against Supreme Court nominee, Bret Kavanaugh draws near, all of social media is filled with opinions. Some Christian leaders have flocked to Kavanaugh’s aide, defending his character. Others pastors have embraced Ford in an effort to stand for and defend all abused women. Whatever the outcome, the lesson for Christians should be clear: be careful condemning from the darkness what will soon be revealed in the light.

Using equal measures

Jesus is often misquoted when it comes to judging others. “Don’t Judge Me” has morphed from clique into comedic memes. Yet, Jesus never asked human beings not to judge, rather to judge correctly.  I love how Jesus understood judging others,

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven. . . . For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:37–42).

When the accused stands before a judge, the judge is not to use an unequal measures. Would we want others to condemn us the way we condemn? Do we want God to judge us the way we judge others? The illustration of equal measure should give us pause, when it comes to posting an opinion concerning those who have been accused. Would we want to be deemed guilty before even having entered the courtroom? Would we want our testimony condemned before it had even been given?

Are Christians judging with unequal measures? Part of the #whyididntreport movement’s argument is based on unequal scales. They claim men are given the benefit of the doubt, while a woman’s testimony is questioned. What about political affiliations? Placing an donkey on the left or an elephant on the right of Lady Justice’s scales, would certainly cause her to peak from under the blindfold. Everyone’s measures are affected by implicit bias. Therefore, before Christians condemn publicly, we must be careful to look at God’s measures. Since God judges mankind impartially, we must also judge impartially.

Blind Leading the Blind

When Jesus continued his teaching on judging others, he gave an illustration. Does a blind guide guide well? “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?” Jesus tells us that our own judgments come out of our own darkness. Darkness of facts impairs our verdicts. Darkness of sin imbalances our measures. Therefore, Christian leaders and pastors ought to withhold judgments against anyone who may have caught the public’s eye. Premature personal verdicts diminish our credibility.

Removing the Plank

So, we are left with one solution. Any time someone is dragged into the public spectacle and stands accused, Christians ought to take the opportunity to reflect rather than project. We can project our voices out onto social media. We can capitalize every word, gesticulate as much as emojis will allow, and add a legion of exclamation marks, to prove whether the accused is messiah or demon. None of these tools are useful for servants bent on washing feet and loving others.

An accused party ought to give us pause. Is the accusation against the accused lodged in my own eye? Do I abuse women? Am I truthful in all my words? Have I ever condemned someone falsely? Would my teenage years grant me access to sainthood? Am I in need of grace and mercy? Jesus marked the path for Christians succinctly: “first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.”

Yes, we will have to judge on this earth. But let us be good judges with clear vision. Let us see that we are all sinners in need of grace. And thankfully grace doesn’t just balance the scales before God, it removes them from the equation.

Pastor Summerville First Baptist Married to Danielle, father of three, PhD student at SWBTS, MDiv 2012 SWBTS, BA Theatre OSU.

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