By Ryan Duncan
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. – Matthew 7:1-2
During my time in college, I met another student who considered himself a very devout Christian. In terms of practice, this student couldn’t be criticized for his dedication. He read the Bible each morning, attended chapel like clockwork, and never broke a rule during his time at the university. In terms of spirit though, he represented the worst Christianity had to offer. He was proud and judgmental, always calling out others on what he considered to be “sins”.
When guys got together to play a game of Halo, he accused them of putting videogames before God. Once, when a guy kissed his girlfriend goodbye on the cheek, he railed for an hour about sexual immorality. When one girl stood up to him and told him to mind his own business, he called her “deaf to the Holy Spirit.” Things finally hit a major low one night at a Bible Study where, after being ignored by some of the other members, he declared that a prophet like himself was wasting his time with these reprobates. He left the university shortly after, and no one was sad to see him go.
Now, the reason I’m writing this isn’t to shame him, God knows I’ve done plenty of stupid things in my time too. What bothered me though was the fact that, despite much evidence to the contrary, this student was certain he was doing the right thing. In fact, there are many so-called Christians who do and say terrible things, all in the name of God. In cases like these, it’s vital to remember what Matthew wrote about bearing fruit.
“By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” – Matthew 7:15-23
At some point, every Christian needs to look at their life and examine the fruit they’ve been harvesting. Are there bushels full of harsh words, proud actions, and vindictive thoughts, or does their bounty include selfless gestures and a gracious heart? Remember, God will judge us by what we sow in the hearts of others, be careful you’re fruit isn’t rotten.
Intersecting Faith and Life: Take a moment to examine how you have been treating others. Are you truly approaching them as Christ would?
The Characters of Christmas is a podcast created to help you take a fresh look at the Christmas story by getting to know the minor characters that played a part in Jesus’ birth. It is the companion to Dan Darling's book "The Characters of Christmas: The Unlikely People Caught Up in the Story of Jesus."