3. Jesus condemned the religious leaders for judgmental attitudes while manifesting love and compassion to those in sin.
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Jesus spoke harshly to the legalistic, judgmental Pharisees: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites.... You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell... You blind men!... You shut the kingdom of heaven against man; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in.” (Matthew Chapter 23).
If we are not careful, we pastors and church leaders can become “ministers of condemnation."
The trend is downhill. George Barna’s research reveals that 78% of Americans surveyed think that the evangelical Christian church is the most judgmental segment of American society.
There's nothing wrong with preaching about the reality of judgment as long as we’re doing it with broken hearts.
How often I hear Christians speak strongly against folks who are gay with words somewhat like these: "I hate the sin, but I love the sinner."
I don't believe you. That doesn’t fool anybody. It’s hard to love someone you don’t even know.
I love and admire Jeff Jones's instructions to his staff at Chase Oaks Church: "You may not enter into the gay marriage discussion until you know at least one homosexual as a friend."
I was speaking on homosexuality to an adult Bible study. At one point several people got on their high horses, and began to express their intolerance for gay people. As they saw it, homosexuality was a choice and those involved could choose to unchoose it if they wanted.
I glanced at a woman who was crying quietly near the back of the room.
"You're hurting, aren't you?"
"My youngest son is gay."
No one said a word. To criticize in the theoretical abstract is easy. It is quite different when it's your own son or daughter or a person you know, or the child of someone you know.
I recall sitting in a staff meeting when one of our pastors' wives began talking about homosexuality. She made it quite clear that "those people" needed to be judged, condemned, and obliterated by the wrath of God as described in Romans chapter six.
Her husband sat quietly, not looking at his wife. She finally finished. He said, "My college roommate was gay." She quickly changed her tune...but it was too late.
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