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3 Things Christians Do That Non-Christians Despise

non-christians despise

Spend two minutes talking to almost anyone outside the Christian faith and you’re almost certain to hear a list of complaints they have about Christians.

The problem has been around awhile.  As Mahatma Ghandi famously (and sadly) said: “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

He’s not alone.

The problem with many non-Christians isn’t that they don’t know any Christians. The challenge is they do.

So what gives?

Many Christians would tell you we have an image problem: we’re treated unfairly, we’re being persecuted, or we’re just badly misunderstood.

I’m not so sure.

It’s not so much that Christians have an image problem. It’s far more likely that we have an integrity problem.

Do we get misunderstood on some issues? Of course. But that’s outside our control.

There are more than a few issues entirely within our control that give us a bad name with people outside Christianity.

Here are 3 things Christians do that non-Christians despise.

1. Judge

It doesn’t take long for non-Christians to tell you how much they hate the way Christians judge other people.

Another two minutes on social media will reveal Christians and preachers condemning unchurched people for their sexual habits and preferences, life-style choices and even political views. I doubt this is what Jesus had in mind when he gave his life in love for the world.

Disclosure: without the mercy and intervention of Christ, I’m very judgmental. And years ago, I realized how devastating judgment and criticism can be to others. So I’m waging a life-long battle against it. Confessing it, repenting of it almost daily.

I realized years ago that very few people get judged into life change. Far more get loved into it.

It also occurred to me that the presence of judgment almost always guarantees an absence of love.

Think about it through the lens of your marriage, a friendship or even someone you work with: it is virtually impossible to love someone and judge someone at the same time.

But wait, you ask: what if they’re making a mistake and I need to correct them?

First of all, look at your mistakes and the depth of your sin, and deal with your issues first. In the process, you’ll encounter a loving God who forgives you despite your rather egregious sin.

And having been loved, you can love others.

I try to remember this rule: If I’m judging someone, I’m not loving them. You can’t judge someone and love them at the same time.

What would happen if Christians stopped judging the world (isn’t that God’s job?) and started loving it instead?

I believe that’s what Jesus did.

2. Be Hypocritical

There’s a word for Christian who say one thing and do another. The word is hypocrite.

It’s far easier to call someone else a hypocrite than it is to admit you’re one.

The truth is that as much as I hate it, I’m a hypocrite. My walk doesn’t always match my talk. That’s why I don’t have a fish on my car. When I’m in a hurry and my natural impatience surfaces, the last thing some person God loves needs to see is a Christian cut him off.

Of course, it’s worse than that. I’m not always a loving husband, kind father, steadfast son, patient boss, or even compassionate friend. Like you, I’m a mixture of good and not-really-that good evil.

What did Paul say? Nothing good lives in me. Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:18). That could be a life-verse for me. Well, actually, it kind of is.

Sanctification is a process that never ends.

I am not who I want to be (yet). I am not who God wants me to be.  But I’m different. I’m changing. And Christ is at work in me.

I believe that’s the reality for every person who calls Jesus Savior.

So what do imperfect Christians do? I mean just deciding you’re not going to make mistakes never keeps you from making mistakes.

I think the answer is simple: you watch what you say.

Don’t pretend to be something or someone you’re not.

I find the more humility I add to my words, the smaller the gap is between who I am and who I say I am.

When you admit your shortcomings, you build a bridge between you and others. Owning your sin is different than living in it; confession is never an excuse for complacency.

So what do you do if you live in the tension between what you usually say or want to say and what you do?

I think you change both.

You change how you live through the power of Christ day by day (getting better), and at the same time, you change how you talk about your faith, yourself and how you live (adding more honestly and humility to your words). I wrote about things modern Pharisees say today in this post (the Pharisees were an ultra-religious group Jesus strong criticized).

Want a quick fix for hypocrisy? Accelerate your walk. Humble your talk.

Nothing closes the gap between word and action faster than that.

3. Stink at Friendship

Friendship is hard.

We all have ideas of finding the perfect friends with whom we’ll never disagree, share 1000 common interests and ride off into the sunset with.

Well, very few human relationships ever work that way. Even in marriage, the best marriages are almost always ones in which people have overcome deep and real obstacles to find a powerful love that’s far deeper than emotion.

Perhaps the first obstacle between non-Christians and Christians is that relatively few Christians actively pursue meaningful friendships with people who don’t share their faith. Between churches that offer programs 5 nights a week (leaving little time for Christians to make friends outside the church) and Christians who are afraid of the world, many Christians don’t pursue authentic relationships with non-Christians.

Which means much of the interaction non-Christians have is situational and observational rather than truly relational. They observe Christians in life and at work, notices traces of judgment and hypocrisy and draw all kinds of conclusions. I get that.

But Jesus went so much deeper than that. Jesus pursued friendships with people who were different than him. Whose lifestyles were far different than anything God had in mind for them (or for people in relationship with him).

Yet Jesus was their friend. He went to their house for dinner. They traveled together. They shared moments and meals and life.

It scandalized the religious leaders of Jesus day, and sadly, when it’s practiced authentically, it still scandalizes most of us today.

Think about it. When was the last time you hung out with a hooker?

When was the last time you had someone who’s not your skin color, not your political persuasion and doesn’t share your value system over for dinner, or when was the last time you broke bread with an addict (who’s not in recovery)?

Often when Christians do pursue ‘friendships’ with people far from God, it’s more of a project than it is a friendship.

But people aren’t projects; people are people. People can smell it a mile away if you see them as a project, not a person.

Which leads us to another tension in our friendships with those outside the Christian faith.

Some Christians do have a relationship with unchurched people. So: how exactly do you talk about faith?

Great question!

Most of us swing to one extreme or the other: either we always talk about faith, or we never talk about. Both are mistakes.

Always talk about faith, and you’re turning the relationship into a project. Never talk about, and you miss the most important thing in life.

Real friendships always drill down on real issues, and few things are more significant than the meaning of life.

How do you talk about? Naturally, organically, in the context of your story is a great place to start.

Real friendships are like that.

Want a simpler place than that to begin? Try this. Just like the person. As much friend Reggie Joiner says, people will never believe you love them if they feel you don’t like them.

Boom.

What Do You Think?

Anything you see that people who are not Christians despise about Christians?

If you’re a Christian, what helps you overcome these issues, and what other issues do you struggle with?

Scroll down and leave a comment!

113 Comments

  1. Valerie on September 21, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    I was looking for an article on how to tell my Christian friends that we are no longer Christian and found this title intriguing so I clicked. I have a lot of these problems with believers and hey, non believers too, but the author so kindly put this article in a way that was balm for my broken heart after leaving the Christian faith after 23 years. The comment by Jim was one of the reasons we left and don’t want to raise our children in this environment. Snooty, know it all’s who justify their actions with Scripture verses. Thank you to the author for truly being loving in your faith, love is what changes people’s hearts.

  2. Jim Pemberton on August 12, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Well, to be sure, non-Christians do each of those things too. Why do they expect Christians to be any better? Possible answers:

    a) They are using it as an excuse to continue to deny God.

    b) Because they know that Christians should be better, but the Christians they have met aren’t.

    c) Many Christians are better, but they either haven’t met those Christians or are blind to their own transgressions.

    d) They are making category errors. Take judging for example. Christians are called to judge righteously – not to refrain from judging at all. But unbelievers who criticize Christians for judging when they judge righteously are judging Christians unrighteously. So it’s a different category of judgment. Part of sharing the Gospel is getting people to acknowledge that they are sinners. Someone resisting the Gospel will be sore on this point and will accuse the one sharing the Gospel of being judgmental. So the righteous/unrighteous judgment categories apply here.

    • William Cole on August 15, 2017 at 1:51 am

      I just thought of another thing to add to the list, and this one’s really important:

      GETTING DEFENSIVE
      (Instead of enacting real change)

      I get the impression that this article is partially aimed at trying to save Christianity from wasting away, but instead of heeding its advice you decided to cross your arms and say, “Well other people do this too.” That’s just one more thing that’s chasing people away. So, by all means, you can ignore this article and watch your pews gradually empty, week by week and year by year, until you stand alone at the pulpit, talking to yourself.

      • Jim Pemberton on August 15, 2017 at 7:14 am

        As long as we’re adding to the list, another thing to add would be falsely accusing people, which is what you just did by completely misconstruing my intentions.

        By the way, if we are going to measure faithfulness to God by the particular fruit of how many people are attending, my church is growing.

        • Susan on August 15, 2017 at 9:24 am

          In the last days, the love of many will grow cold. Will Jesus find faith on earth when he returns? If I were a betting woman, I would say “He will find a remnant of believers.” As in the days of Noah.

          The article, along with many of the postings, are a living example of what happens when one mixes the Gospel of Jesus Christ with Madison Avenue advertising and marketing (business) strategies.

          Jim, don’t demean yourself by equating the measure of your faith-fulness with the growth of your church. One can draw crowds with: a movie, a concert, a sporting event, a parade, a state fair.

          The measure of fruitfulness should be fully committed disciples of Christ — people who know Him, love Him and serve Him. Anything less gets you Matthew 7:21-23 (Depart from me, I never knew you.)

          • Jim Pemberton on August 15, 2017 at 10:10 am

            Susan,

            If you follow the argument, I was responding to William’s implication that if I wanted my church to stop losing people, then I should stop ignoring the article. To whit, he said:

            “So, by all means, you can ignore this article and watch your pews gradually empty, week by week and year by year, until you stand alone at the pulpit, talking to yourself.”

            I fundamentally disagree with his implications here. On the other hand, my church is yet growing. We don’t have gimmicks. We have a faithful pastoral staff and a deacon board that actually gets along well together. We have a mature enough congregation such that our former pastor was able to retire among us as a fellow member without causing power struggle problems. We have mission endeavors that span the globe in some of the key target areas for the Gospel, we actively evangelize in public schools and in various neighborhoods in our Bible Belt community, and are in the process of planting a church across the country in relatively unevangelized Portland, OR. Our church grows because we are trying to be faithful to fulfill our purpose in the Great Commission and be a covenant community that is faithful to God according his Word. The growth is tangential to all of that, but is to be expected.



          • Susan on August 15, 2017 at 11:41 am

            Jim, I “get it”. Basically the message is: If you aren’t buying into the “new modern”, then you won’t be successful at reaching the “unchurched.” You haven’t purchased the $99.99 package which provides such sage advice as: “Don’t Judge”, “Don’t Be Hypocritical” and “Don’t Stink at Friendship.”

            Where I live (Central Ohio), I can go to church and learn how to “Simplify” — my schedule, my stuff, my media, my work, my health and my relationships. Because don’t ya know, Jesus came so that we might have Better Homes and Gardens. And additionally, the Gospel is all about ME, ME, and ME.

            The Great Commission has been rewritten to “go into your community and create life change.” Yep, that’s what Jesus said. (Or Maybe Not.) It does wonders for the local food pantry, cancer run/ walk, the homeless shelter, and the like …. but there are plenty of non-profits that do the same things.

            It is awesome that you and your Church are making real disciples in real outreach and are creating spiritually mature disciples. People get the difference between real and fake; what is worth giving one’s live for and what is not; what is of God and what is of man. God Bless You.



    • baa on August 22, 2017 at 9:48 am

      Wow, just wow. You read the whole article and what you got out of it was
      (a) they do it to
      (b) Christians are better, but ‘they’ just haven’t met all these ‘better’ Christians. But you don’t share where all of these better Christians are hiding.
      (c) Non-Christians are blind but you are not blind to your transgressions (The whole point to the article)
      (d) And the best for last, I know better than non-Christians so I can judge, but you can’t.

      “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” – can’t say it any better.

      • Jim Pemberton on August 22, 2017 at 11:04 am

        * Wow. Just wow. You read my whole comment and what you got out of it was that “Your Christians are so unlike your Christ?” *

        You have demonstrated here that you are like the Christians you criticize in the way that you criticize them.

  3. Kenny White on August 10, 2017 at 11:49 pm

    Carey! Love your posts. I especially found myself chewing on this one. I feel like social media is not a good place to communicate controversial things. Having said that, I am very interested in what has worked for you in proclaiming truth and yet not judging. I get it’s a fine line but practically… how?

  4. Carolyn on June 27, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    Yet another Christian who gets the whole “judging” thing wrong. Your entire article is a judgement, for pete’s sake. Watch the One minute apologist at youtube.com/watch?v=oMBrsa2bTwA

    • Susan on June 27, 2017 at 4:26 pm

      Ha! That “yet another Christian who gets the judgment thing wrong” is the pastor of a growing mega-church and marketer of “leadership materials for Church growth”.

      I seriously doubt Carey will be watching any one minute apologist videos.

  5. Connie Garrett on June 21, 2017 at 11:41 am

    Number two (being a hypocrite) goes without saying but number one (judging) and three (befriending) go hand in hand. I have never judged a person because that will be left to God at the end but I have pointed out the wrong-doings in a persons life because I care about their life and their salvation. But you can’t point out a person’s sin when you don’t have a relationship with them. Developing friendships with non-Christians is essential to winning the world and that takes work. It takes putting yourself in some uncomfortable places and shining like a beacon in a sea of sinners. Most Christians aren’t willing to do that and they use the excuse that they’re Christians and shouldn’t be hanging out with people like that or be in places like that. It’s a fine line but there are times when it’s called for and most Christians aren’t willing to sacrifice their own comfort and time to make that effort.

  6. Doug Stockton on June 18, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    I think the observations shared in this article are pretty much spot on. However, I don’t agree with the statement that you can’t judge and love at the same time. Because God obviously does this as shown in the article’s realization that judging is God’s job. God doesn’t stop loving when he is judging. The two are simultaneously part of God’s character.

  7. Ron Anderson on June 17, 2017 at 7:29 am

    A pastor friend of ours once reminded us that when we are disappointed that fellow Christians don’t act like Christians that is about our unreasonable expectations. Part of that is us judging the fellow Christian and part of that is about the hypocrisy we too see in fellow Christians. It is unreasonable to expect professing Christians to behave as Christ would have them? I don’t know. All we can hope to control, with the help of the Spirit, is ourselves. Thanks Carey for a wonderful reminder of what a Christian really should look like to the observer.

    • Susan on June 17, 2017 at 8:44 am

      So I have a question. If Christians are no different (or demonstrate little difference) in their words, deeds and lives in comparison to non-Christians, then what is the point to being a Christian? Say a prayer (the Protestant sacrament of the Sinners Prayer), claim salvation and then live like a pagan … I am sure God will be impressed. Not!

  8. Nancy Mahoney on June 12, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    I love God because he first loved me. How did I come to know God loved me?
    I didn’t choose God so much as he choose to love me (and each one of us). I came to know this through the Hebrews and Christians that wrote the Bible. I can’t boast in being a Christian. Paul only boasts in the cross. Yes church means “called apart”. Called apart for what? Called to be the body of Christ. What does Christ in body do? He lays down his life (body) and he takes the towel and becomes servant of all. That’s holy and holiness. I can give my body to be burned so that I might boast, but if I do not have love…

  9. Susan on June 3, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    Discernment is the ability to distinguish between what is “true” and what is “almost true”. Much of what is stated in this blog post is accurate, but it is not “truth”. The problem is foundational. The gospel will never be attractive to non-believers. Why? Because it demands repentance of sin, conversion, denial of self and taking up one’s cross and following Him (Jesus Christ) as a disciple.

    There is no way to make that message attractive and/or palatable to non-Christians. And to try and make that message attractive will necessarily mean leaving a few things out (like sin, hell, and judgment) or watering them down (making Jesus into a Savior but not Lord, creating classes such as “carnal Christians”, “believers but not disciples” and “disciples but not disciples-makers”, etc.) and/or spinning the message into life and relationship skills and psychology/ motivational/ life coaching with a few Bible verses from the Message as window dressing (can we spell “bait and switch”).

    So tell me: did Jesus tell his disciples to go out into the world and love people into “life change”? Well, not if you read the Great Commission in Matthew 28, he didn’t. I can experience life change by joining a 12 step program, having a near death experience, getting married, working with a good therapist and/or having a baby. None of these things are “Christian” or are about being a disciple of Christ. The problem is that the seeker friendly house of worship is built upon sand — not solid rock — and when the rains come, the house will collapse. That I believe is truth!

    • Lisa on June 3, 2017 at 3:44 pm

      I find your opinion about this article rather interesting. I DO believe that what you are saying is correct and yet as someone raised as a Christian, turning away from that, having a major addiction that forced me to find help and having that turn me back toward the Christian faith I knew all along, I have to agree with this writers’ approach to bringing others to Christ.I have many non-Christian friends and I hope every day that I can show them that I am a work in progress BECAUSE I am a Christian and thatvI am in no place to judge them. I am no better than they are. There is time to talk to them about what you believe once they see you are a genuine, imperfect person who is a Christian because God loved you enough to save you through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Peace be with you.

      • Grant Barber on June 3, 2017 at 4:45 pm

        I’ve consistently witnessed and then reflected back: if I have 5 people in my congregation who are still taking it one day at a time but have been doing so for awhile that their lives and keep it very real insights can transform a congregation, lead/push/pray it deeper in spiritual growth.

      • Eve on June 12, 2017 at 6:33 pm

        Cool! That’s a clever way of loonkig at it!

      • shadow fight 2 unlimited coins android on June 25, 2017 at 6:56 pm

        Gee willikers, that’s such a great post!

    • Mike on June 4, 2017 at 8:54 pm

      I’ve been an evangelical Christian my entire life. I asked Jesus into my heart at 4 years old. I grew up attending church 3 days a weeks and participated in all types of ministries: choir, orchestra, youth group, Bible studies. To this day I’ve never smoked or drank alcohol. I’m a one woman man and try to be a good father. By all accounts I had my life built on a strong foundation.

      A few major life events forced me to reevaluate and deconstruct everything I’ve been taught. Mostly I had to ask myself why I believed what I did. And is it possible I was wrong.

      The foundation I found, the foundation on which I stand is the way I believe Jesus demonstrated. I believe he left the perfection of heaven and entered our world to love people. He came for the outcast, for the sick, for the needy.

      Susan, this may seem like a weird question, but what would you give up to be in a loving relationship with a sinner? Someone who you found repulsive and absolutely destined to burn eternally in hell. What would you give up to show them that you cared about them? Would you trade the security of your beliefs to be in a relationship with them?

      • Grant Barber on June 5, 2017 at 7:01 am

        Well, like you started with, The Word became flesh, Jesus. You just described humanity. At least if you believe in a wrathful, cruel God who would give up on one of his creations. I think you just articulated the scary judgemental position pointed at in this article.

      • Edwin Crozier on June 5, 2017 at 8:09 am

        What does giving up the security of your beliefs to show you care for someone look like?

        • Mike on June 5, 2017 at 1:38 pm

          Hi Edwin. For me, it looks like doing church with people that think differently.

          When I look at the churches in the New Testament, I see them labeled by geography (church of Laodecia, church of Corinth, church of Ephesus, etc). When I look at the churches in America I see them labeled by denomination (Baptist, Methodist, Asssemblies of God, etc).

          I think we’ve made our salvation contingent on our understanding of the Bible rather than the love that God demonstrated through the cross. And because we can’t all agree on how to interpret the Bible we divide.

          How do you think most Christians would respond to ditching their statement of faith and gathering to just love God and love each other?

          • Edwin Crozier on June 5, 2017 at 2:29 pm

            The congregation I’m part of doesn’t have a statement of faith. We do strive to teach others to love God and love each other.

            That being said, since loving God and loving others means keeping His commandments (1 John 5:2-3), doesn’t that require actually believing something? What would that something be? And if someone else didn’t believe it, does that mean they aren’t “one of us”?



          • Mike on June 5, 2017 at 3:36 pm

            Hi Edwin,

            That’s really cool to hear about your congregation letting the foundation be about loving God and others! How big is your congregation? How is the love shown in your gathering?

            As to non-belief meaning someone “isn’t one of us” I think for me I would try to answer it by first understanding what I’m believing and what I’m a part of.

            For 30+ years I believed that the gospel is we are dirty humans, dead in our sin. Jesus came to pay the blood sacrifice needed to satisfy the wrath of an angry God. And we need to trust that sacrifice otherwise we’re going to hell. Part of living out that belief is telling people their going to hell unless they belief in this act of sacred violence.

            What I now believe (or trust) is that God is a loving Father. He sent His son Jesus to us to undo the separation we felt (and continue to feel) at mankind’s fall in the garden.

            The high priestly prayer Jesus prayed in John 17 is an example of the relationship God the Father wants to have with humanity. He wants to be in our midst. He loves us with the same tender ferocity He loved Jesus. He wants us to not just that He loves us but wants us to walk in the awareness of Him loving us continuously.

            My wife and I heard a really good line at a marriage seminar. “When you’re in a relationship, you give up your right to be right.”

            I think that’s really what Jesus came to accomplish on cross. God gave up His right to be right and wanted relationship with mankind.

            For me belonging proceeds belief, not the other way around. And I think people can feel which way we relate to them. As a project or as a person.

            I dunno. I could be totally wrong about this, but it makes sense to me right now. What do you think?



          • Edwin Crozier on June 5, 2017 at 4:59 pm

            Mike, we are close to 400 strong. Our love is demonstrated by offering the gospel to all and relying on the grace of God to strengthen us to overcome sin and observe all that He has commanded. We demonstrate our love in our gatherings by singing with and to one another, by praying with and for one another, by opening God’s Word, by sharing from our blessings to do the Lord’s work and care for one another when in need, and most of all by remembering the Lord’s death and resurrection through His supper.

            I am struggling with you representation of your new understanding of the gospel. Namely at this point: “He sent His son Jesus to us to undo the separation we felt (and continue to feel) at mankind’s fall in the garden.” I do not believe the separation is merely a felt one, but is felt because it is real (cf. Isaiah 59:2). Man was removed from the Garden of God, cast down from the mountain of God as Ezekiel 28:16 pictures it, because he profaned God’s sanctuary. Jesus does not merely demonstrate the example of the great relationship we can have with the Father, but offers Himself in divine sacrifice to pave the way back to the tree of life.

            If the separation is merely felt, and Jesus was simply given to show us the kind of relationship we can have with a God who ferociously and fervently loves us, why did He go to the cross in such a violent way? I must be misunderstanding something about your presentation because the cross seems unnecessary to your point. Please explain further.



          • Mike on June 5, 2017 at 10:17 pm

            Hi Edwin.

            I could totally be wrong in this, but I’ll unpack more of what I mean.

            I’ve been asking the same question you mentioned: Why did Jesus have to die so violently on the cross? I get the symbolism of Him being the perfect lamb, and the tie back to the temple sacrifices. But why does God demand a blood sacrifice? Why does He require the shedding of innocent blood to make us right with Him?

            As I think back to the very first animal sacrifice mentioned into Genesis 3 it was when God killed animals to make skins to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve. But their nakedness wasn’t a problem to God. It was only when they were aware of their nakedness that it became a problem. So I wonder if the blood sacrifice isn’t so much because God requires but that mankind requires it to remove their shame.

            This may seem out there, but I wonder if the “original sin” of mankind wasn’t disobedience to God but the felt experience of separation between God and man. And the only way God could restore the relationship between Himself and mankind was to allow us to have what we wanted, namely the desire to choose justice (right and wrong) over relationship.

            So the sacrifice of Jesus was absolutely needed to restore the relationship between God and man. Not because God has blood lust, but rather because we do. I think that’s why God kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden; He couldn’t stand the schism between mankind and Himself. He wanted to our relationship to be one were we trusted Him and His goodness.

            So He allowed us our religion and law. He let us have our justice and then at the right time came and fulfilled our sense of justice. And now He’s calling to us wanting to us to see ourselves as His kids. He wants us to forgo justice in favor of being family.

            Does that help to describe more of what I said? Again, I could totally be wrong. But my gut feeling as a father myself sees the beautiful heart of God in this perspective. One who redeems what is lost.



          • Edwin Crozier on June 6, 2017 at 6:30 am

            Mike, where did you find this new understanding of the gospel? In particular, I am asking you to help me out by providing me scriptural evidence for it.



          • Mike on June 6, 2017 at 10:11 am

            This new understanding requires a bit of backstory.

            I first came across the idea of God loving us as a father when a friend invited me to a week long retreat with James Jordan of Fatherheart Ministries (you can find some of his sermons on YouTube).

            It was during this retreat that I experienced what I would call a heart shift or new paradigm. To that end it required me being still and letting God speak to me in a rather subjective way to my own specific wounds.

            The premise is our heart is our true self and affects how we experience the world, how we relate to others and even how we read Scripture:

            Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23 ESV

            A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed. Proverbs 15:13 ESV

            A wise man’s heart inclines him to the right, but a fool’s heart to the left. Ecclesiastes 10:2 ESV

            With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalms 119:10-11 ESV

            So when we read Scripture we read through a bias of how we see God in our hearts. If we see God as vengeful and angry those passages will stick out to us more.

            For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. Romans 1:18 ESV

            If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent and readied his bow; Psalms 7:12 ESV

            Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:36 ESV

            If we see God as love those verses will stick out more to us.

            How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. Psalms 36:7 ESV

            They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them. Nehemiah 9:17 ESV

            And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord , is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Jonah 4:2 ESV

            So how do we know the motives of God? Is He kind or is he wrathful? For me I think the answer is in the parables of Jesus. I believe Jesus taught in story form because he knew just getting the “right answer” misses what needs to happen in our hearts. We have to walk with him through the parable, chew on it and let our hearts be changed in the process.

            Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “‘”You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’ Matthew 13:10‭-‬15 ESV

            A key parable I found to understand the heart of God as a father is the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 5.
            Both sons have a broken relationship with their father. The younger son wishes his father would die so he could have his money. The father gives him his money knowing he will blow it.

            The cool thing is he waits for his son to come back. The story implies the father had his gaze to the horizon and the moment he saw his son he sprinted towards him, forgoing all cultural decency and propriety. Somewhere in this encounter the younger son finally understands his father just wanted relationship with him.

            The story concludes with us not knowing if the older son understands this relationship. The older son is angry with his father because he feels slighted. Here he’s been faithful to the estate the whole time and not once did his father throw him a party. We’re left with the father trying to reach out to his older son but we don’t know if he comes in to join the feast. The older son is physically present with his father but miles away relationally.

            I suppose for me that’s the biblical foundation for how I came to this understanding of the Gospel. I grew up being a Christian because I wanted to do the right thing and eventually go to heaven. It never occurred to me that God wanted to have relationship with me because He actually liked me.

            Okay, I wrote a ton. Does that help with explaining my perspective?



          • Edwin Crozier on June 6, 2017 at 2:28 pm

            Mike,
            Yes that is helpful. I have a real question, did you really never hear that God loves us as a Father before you went to that retreat?

            Second, while I get that different people with different views of God may be attracted to different passages that describe God, it seems to me that we shouldn’t view those sets of passages as either/or. God is both/and. People who prooftext God as merely a relationship seeking God who will stop at nothing to be in relationship with us (especially if they assume He will merely overlook their sinfulness) are making just as big of a mistake as those who prooftext Him as merely a vengeful God exercising wrath against those who refuse a relationship with Him (especially if they assume He’s excited about that and looking forward to the opportunity).

            God does want a relationship with us. He wants it fervently, even ferociously, even violently. But there is something between us and Him–not our shame, but our sins (Isaiah 59:2). Praise God, though we cannot reforge that relationship with Him, He would stop at nothing to have a relationship with us, so He came into the world in person of His Son, Jesus Christ, not to overlook our sins but to atone for them. Jesus’s death reconciles us to the Father, saving us from His wrath, not from our shame (Romans 5:6-10). Jesus’s death doesn’t assuage our bloodlust and need for justice, it pays for our debts (cf. Matthew 6:12).

            Sin does make God angry. And yet in that anger, He loved us so much to provide the means of reconciliation. I think the prodigal’s story is a great one. While the father was scanning the horizon and ready to accept the young son back, the father was not travelling into the distant country trying to let the son know they could still be in relationship while the young son was in the far distant country. He was willing to let the young son face the consequences of his choice to abandon the father. When the young son felt separated from the father, that wasn’t just his shame. He really was separated from his father. He had to actually return. Additionally, with the older son, while he let the older son live on his land, he didn’t follow the older son around saying, “Now, you know you can have the fatted calf, right?” He let the older son suffer the consequences of his misunderstanding.

            I think the children of Israel at the Promised Land is a great illustration. God loved Israel. He promised them great blessing. He had a land prepared for them. He promised to give it to them. But that first generation got to the edge of the land and decided the risk was too great. They knew they couldn’t take it, and they didn’t believe God would give it to them. So they cried out, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness!” (Numbers 14:2, ESV). God didn’t chase them down, telling them about what a great relationship He was still going to have with them in the wilderness they were choosing. Rather, He gave them up to the choice they begged for. He says, “Say to them, ‘As I live, declares the Lord, what you have said in my hearing I will do to you: your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness, and of all your number, listed in the census from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against me, not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun'” (Numbers 14:28-30, ESV).

            God does want relationship with us. The problem is not all of us want a relationship with Him. And that isn’t just shame speaking. We aren’t separated from Him by our shame. We are separated by our sin. And some of us neither want to be forgiven or have freedom from our sin. Some of us don’t want to be forgiven because we want to prove we don’t need it. Some of us don’t want to be forgiven because we are convinced we don’t deserve it. Some of us don’t want to be forgiven because that means admitting we are sinners. Some of us don’t want to be free from our sin because we want to enjoy our sins and continue living in them. But Jesus came to forgive us and set us free from sin, not to walk with us hand in hand while we purposefully and impenitently continue pursuing our sins.

            Jesus did an amazing thing when He told the woman caught in adultery that He didn’t condemn her. But He also did an amazing thing when He told her to go and sin no more.

            Okay, so now I’ve rambled on long enough.



        • Bonnie provost on August 11, 2017 at 10:25 am

          I wonder the same thing… what does ” giving up the security of your beliefs” look like to the author? Wording well is one thing but putting it clearly into practice through words is another, and actually more useful

      • Susan on June 5, 2017 at 9:44 am

        Whatever does your question mean, Mike? “What would I give up to be in a loving relationship with a sinner?” So I hate football, but my “target sinner” is a devoted fan. I learn all about the game of football so I can have a friendship with her and then (maybe) tell her about Jesus Christ and the gospel? Or maybe I am not artsy and craftsy but my “target sinner” is. So I should take up scrap-booking and jewelry making so that I can be in a loving relationship with her? Is that what you have in mind? Is that what Jesus, Peter, James, John, Paul and the others modeled for us in order to win converts and disciples to Christ?

        “What would I give up to show them that I cared about them?” What in the world are you talking about? So I do not swear or take the name of the Lord in vain. So should I swear like a sailor to fit in with my “repulsive and destined to burn in hell friends”? So I don’t drink. Should I take a class in mixing drinks and take up drinking so that I can be friends with my “target sinner”. She likes to drink you know. So I don’t go to sex shows and strip clubs. So should I take up these forms of entertainment so that I can befriend “repulsive and destined to burn in hell friends” and in this way show them how much I care?

        Please note, by the way, I absolutely do not walk around categorizing people as saved or not and/or destined to burn in hell or not. Only God knows that. And I certainly do not go around calling people “repulsive and hell-bound”. What Jesus did tell us, however, is that we will know people by their fruit. Good trees produce good fruit and bad trees produce bad fruit. And the Bible also tells us that bad company corrupts good character. That is in Proverbs.

        Would I trade the security of my beliefs to be in relationship with them? What I hear you asking me is whether I would abandon truth in the pursuit of “love”. No I would not. It is not merciful or loving to “love” someone into hell by failing to and refusing to speak the truth. With that being said, you can’t have love without truth and you can’t have truth without love — because to do either is indulgence or harshness. And neither indulgence nor harshness is love.

        I truly believe that if Jesus, John, Peter, James and any of the other twelve apostles showed up at the vast majority of churches today and asked to preach a sermon, they would be booed, shouted down and literally driven out of the church — because they weren’t loving enough, tolerant enough, relevant enough, hip enough — and instead they were much too much harsh and judgmental.

        What Jesus gave up was his home in glory to come to earth as Savior and Messiah. He is/was a King but instead He took on human flesh to be born as a baby in the humblest of circumstances. He suffered all the ways that human flesh suffers — thirst, hunger, pain, hurt, betrayal, abandonment, exhaustion, loneliness, grief, and so forth. He suffered mocking and ridicule and hate. He suffered a brutal and torturous death from scouring and crucifixion to win our salvation.

        What Jesus didn’t do was to become the world in order to win the world. And I see nowhere in scripture where Jesus asks us or even remotely hints that we are to take this approach (i.e., become the world to win the world). I see nowhere in scripture where on the day of Pentecost, the first thing Peter and the rest of the apostles did was to rush off to the Roman Square Plaza and hire the Barna Group to advise them in advertisement, marketing, and leadership strategies.

        But hey, what do I know? The times, they are a changing. 2000 years later and the Bible is no longer relevant or hip or effective. New strategies are in order.

        • Mike on June 5, 2017 at 1:23 pm

          Thanks for the response, Susan.

          I think you’re touching on what I’m driving at. What I see today in institutional Christianity is dogmatism or an insistence that “we’re right, you’re wrong.” What I don’t see is an attitude of humility in the church or an acceptance of our own falliblity, especially around our beliefs or convictions. We seem to have a hard time saying, “Maybe we’re thinking about this wrong.”

          Personally, I think this stems from our Protestant perspective that proper belief is what saves us (i.e. not by works but by faith). I’ve come to understand that there are two modes of belief: one is cerebral and one is heart-based. One is ego-driven and one is relationship-driven.

          I’ll eat my own dog food and confess I could be wrong in this perspective, but I think most churches teach that saving belief is a proper cerebral understanding of the Bible.

          What I see Jesus teaching is that saving belief is a trust that God desires relationship above all and the barrier of sin is not a problem for God to overcome.

          When I listen to Christians use the phrase “speak the truth in love,” what I sense is that Christians are insecure with their relationship with God and want to prove their loyalty to Him by condemning sin in others. This is exemplified in the parable in the Pharisee and the tax collector.

          Here’s another goofy question for you. Is there any sin too large that the love of God cannot overcome? If God’s plan is to make a way for all people to get to heaven, are you be okay with that?

          • Edwin Crozier on June 5, 2017 at 2:30 pm

            What does it mean for the love of God to overcome a sin?



          • Edwin Crozier on June 5, 2017 at 2:32 pm

            Also, to be clear, I believe God’s plan is to make a way for all people to get to heaven. I am very okay with that. But what if there are some people who refuse to take His Way? Should I tell them they aren’t taking His Way?



          • Susan on June 5, 2017 at 4:03 pm

            Mike,
            Let me begin with answering your question. I truly believe that Jesus would have forgiven and restored Judas to ministry/ apostleship if Judas had repented and asked the Lord for forgiveness. What is the difference between Judas and Peter? Both men betrayed the Lord. With respect to Judas, Our Lord said it would have been better had he not been born. With respect to Peter, Our Lord asked him three times times if he (Peter) loved Him (Jesus). When Peter responded in the affirmative, Jesus told him (three times) to feed his sheep. There were two thieves on the cross: to one man, Our Lord promised that he would be in paradise with him. To the other man, Our Lord made no such promise. What was the difference? Both men were worthy of their earthly death sentence. One man was saved; the other man was not. I will take that a step further: if Hitler had repented and believed the Gospel, I truly believe that God would have forgiven him.

            And yes, God has offered/ extended salvation to all men. With that being said, however, not all men will desire and accept that offer of salvation. Now we are into TULIPS and Armenians. By the way, I am not of Calvinistic bend. Yes, I am well aware that there are those who believe Calvinism is the gospel and the gospel is Calvinism. I am not of that theological persuasion. So in answer to your question, not all people will get to heaven. I do not believe in Universalism. Jesus himself spoke repeatedly of the fires of hell, of weeping and gnashing of teeth, of outer darkness, etc. I am told Jesus spoke more of hell than he did of heaven. (I’ve not personally tracked the verses on each topic so I can’t vouch for that statement with my own experience.)

            Something no one seems to mention here. In most countries, there is a system of justice with judges and various punishments for certain criminal actions (as well as civil violations). No one is yelling: “Judge not.” “You can’t make a determination that this individual was guilty of (whatever) … say theft, or murder, or drug trafficking, or rape, or slander/ libel or speeding or running a red light or any number of things that are part of our secular criminal codes and civil laws. In fact, we here in America have both juries and judges. And not only do we determine guilt but there is a judge who decides punishment: whether that be community service or probation or a fine or jail time or monetary damages or a combination of these. No one seems to have a problem with this. It is perfectly proper and acceptable.

            But when it comes moral matters and the church, we are not to say: having an affair is wrong and is against God’s law, or dishonesty/ lying is wrong and is against God’s law, or being disobedient to your parents’ legitimate authority is wrong and is against God’s law. We are not to quote any verses that say …. if you do these things …. you will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. Nope. Now we are going to say, “Judge not!” Now we are going to say, “You can’t say that.” We can’t tell anyone about sin or righteousness or holiness or purity unless our own lives are perfection. Really? My very best friends are those people who have loved me enough to tell me the truth about myself. They say something like: “I love you, and I love you enough to tell you that you are going wrong in this area of your life. Doing these things are not honoring to God and not in your own best interests.” That is Love.True. Love.

            The institutional church, in my opinion, has gone off in a number of different directions. The first direction is what I will call “Love, Tolerance, Inclusiveness and Unity.” All truth is truth — even incompatible truths are truths. Everything is tolerated except, of course, intolerance. Another direction is what I will call “We are Right and Everyone Else is Wrong.” That’s pretty much self-explanatory. A third direction is what I will call “Doctrinal Minimalism and Doctrine Doesn’t Matter.” Also self-explanatory. A fourth direction is what I will call “Theological Schools of Thought Become the Gospel”. The best example of that would be “Calvinism is the Gospel and the Gospel is Calvinism” together with the two Pope Johns (John MacArthur and John Piper). A fifth direction is what I will call “Essentials, Non-Essentials and Everything Else.” Of course, the problem then becomes “no one can agree upon what is essential and what is not.”

            In my opinion, what the world of Protestantism has become is the modern-day religious Tower of Babel. No one sees the problem here? 500 years later and look at what Calvin and Luther have wrought.



          • Mike on June 5, 2017 at 10:23 pm

            You’re a pretty cool lady, Susan! I think you and I would get along just fine. 🙂



        • Bonnie provost on August 11, 2017 at 10:31 am

          Susan This was great, I enjoyed your writing and the questions you’ve asked. I feel the same and am unsure of this authors writting. I will pursue answers.
          Thanks for posting your comments here. The article was confusing. God bless

          • Susan on August 11, 2017 at 1:31 pm

            Bonnie, I am glad you appreciate my writing. I have worked through these sundry issues in my own life which is why I write as I do. There is no need for any confusion as to the article and/or the author’s writing. One of the comments (it is rather long, and I suspect it is written by a pastor) explains things perfectly. He begins with: “There is a whole movement today within the church that has completely removed the New Testament call for Christians to pursue holiness because our God is holy …. ” To condense it all into a single word, that word would be “modernism.” And make no mistake, it is a plague upon Christianity.



    • AL on June 5, 2017 at 8:58 am

      Well said Susan.

      • Susan on June 6, 2017 at 9:36 am

        Thank you, Mike. Do you have any other questions I can answer for you? (That is said with a smile and a wink, because I have no idea how to use the icon button.)

    • Roger on June 9, 2017 at 9:52 am

      Thank you for saying this.
      We must love the sinner, but hate the sin as the old saying goes. If we love the sinner, we will not attack them, but show them the truth by our life style and speak the Word of God which is truth. Often the person feels attacked because we state what the Bible teaches, and they mistake conviction with being attacked.
      No one likes being corrected or being shown they have it wrong or lack understanding, but if we keep silent, what kind of friend are we? What kind of love are we showing when we don’t show others what is right and true?

    • Anna on June 17, 2017 at 9:12 am

      Right on!!

      repentance of sin, conversion, denial of self and taking up one’s cross and following Him (Jesus Christ) as a disciple.

      There is no way to make that message attractive

  10. ST on June 3, 2017 at 7:10 am

    ” When was the last time you hung out with a hooker?”

    I believe I’ll take the fifth. . .

  11. Larry Davis on June 3, 2017 at 6:59 am

    Pray without ceasing. Love others as ourselves. Realize we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God.

    There is so much debate in congregations, between denominations, and even here in these comments. Jesus taught us by the example of his life, yet we as people muddy the waters and complicate things with our thoughts.

    The three brief statements above are a creed I personally strive to live out each day and it’s a struggle at times. Being humble and living in humility is the key to opening all the doors.

    Why is it that we who label ourselves as “Christians” feel the need to debate and pick apart the words of others to justify our own positions? Pray, love, realize…live in humility.

    • Isabelle on June 12, 2017 at 7:22 pm

      How lucky are you!I think my postman has moved to do his round in a different village, where there is not a little girl always asking him where Jess is, so be caVfnul!raeessa x

    • http://www.coinsgeneratortech.site/ on June 23, 2017 at 11:26 am

      We’ve arrived at the end of the line and I have what I need!

    • Bonnie provost on August 11, 2017 at 10:33 am

      Nicely said!

  12. Edwin Crozier on June 1, 2017 at 10:14 am

    Can I push on something in this article? I know the question I’m about to ask is going to seem like it needs a “well, duh” response, but I’d like to dig a little deeper on one aspect of this.

    Carey, you write: “But Jesus went so much deeper than that. Jesus pursued friendships with people who were different than him. Whose lifestyles were far different than anything God had in mind for them (or for people in relationship with him).
    “Yet Jesus was their friend. He went to their house for dinner. They traveled together. They shared moments and meals and life.
    “It scandalized the religious leaders of Jesus day, and sadly, when it’s practiced authentically, it still scandalizes most of us today.
    “Think about it. When was the last time you hung out with a hooker?
    “When was the last time you had someone who’s not your skin color, not your political persuasion and doesn’t share your value system over for dinner, or when was the last time you broke bread with an addict (who’s not in recovery)?
    “Often when Christians do pursue ‘friendships’ with people far from God, it’s more of a project than it is a friendship.
    “But people aren’t projects; people are people. People can smell it a mile away if you see them as a project, not a person.”

    What you have said about Jesus seems to me to be the “common” wisdom about Jesus’s life. However, can we dig a little deeper than just “we all know this is true”? Can you please give me biblical evidence that Jesus pursued friendships with impenitent sinners?

    Perhaps my question is actually about definitions of words. Did Jesus shun impenitent sinners when they came to Him? Of course not. Did Jesus go where He was invited no matter who did the inviting? Absolutely. Did Jesus even sometimes invite himself over to someone’s home? Yes. If this is what you mean by being friends, then I concede. However, these are not what pursuing friendship means to me. That is especially so in the context of a relationship evangelism approach this blog post seems to suggest. Did Jesus pursue friendship with impenitent sinners and just let the conversation eventually, naturally lead to gospel conversation? I’m struggling to find that.

    Please help me see this description of Jesus in the Bible.

    BTW: Please don’t simply throw out Matthew 11:19 or Luke 7:34 without some serious explanation. These passages also claim Jesus was a glutton and a drunkard, but I don’t think I’m supposed to take that as the description of His character.

    • AL on June 5, 2017 at 10:03 am

      You are correct Edwin. There is a whole movement today within the church that has completely removed the New Testament call for Christians to pursue Holiness because our God is a Holy God (1 Peter 1:16, Rom 12:1,2, etc.). We no longer call people to living righteously and to “put away sin” (Heb 12:1). Instead, we hear the opposite. We hear: 1. It can’t be done. It’s useless, futile and even arrogant to even try to live righteously. In fact, we don’t even like those words anymore in the church (Righteousness, Holiness, Sin, etc). 2. We are reminded that we are all (currently) terrible sinners even after we are “saved”. 3. Therefore, you should worry about your sin and I’ll worry about mine. Until you are perfect (which will never happen) you are forbidden to point out sin or even mention the word in regards to anyone but yourself, lest you be judgmental. (Even though Gal 6:1 tells us to. But I digress….) 4. Don’t have opinions about right and wrong, as that is being judgmental. 5. People who say things like “Pursue Holiness are Judgmental/Hypocritical people who think they are “Holier than thou”. 6. We all sin every day and your sin is no different than my sin. God views all sin the same so why “judge” someone because they sin different than you? (This may be the most dangerous of all of these false teachings today. But again, I digress……) 7. Jesus hung out with sinners and rebuked religious people. Interpretation = Church people are a bunch of evil, judgmental, hypocrites……sinners are awesome! (I even heard a Preacher recently say that “Hey, Jesus brought the Kegger to the Wedding! He loved to party with sinners, etc.”) – The problem is that in today’s internet world, our churches are filled with Pastors who don’t study the Bible anymore. They simply download sermons from the internet and read blogs by guys like Carey Nieuwohof, so all we hear is the same broken record. There is nothing new or revolutionary about these three accusations against Christians and the Church in this article. So, at the risk of being labeled “judgmental” for having an opinion…….Consider this: In Ezekiel 36 God points to the time when He will establish His Kingdom (His church) calling people from all parts of the world (Jew and Gentile) together to be His people. He says “I will give you a new heart and a new spirit. I will put MY SPIRIT in you……and HE will Move you to follow my commands and way”. This is the key! As a Christian I have received the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit living in me! It is no longer I that Live, but Christ in Me. I cannot just say “Hey, I am a pathetic sinner who sins every day just like everybody else……but heck, God will forgive me. That’s what he does….blah, blah, blah”. No, I am not the man I should be……but I am not the man I used to be. Here is the Bottom Line in my opinion on this ridiculous article: 1. Carey has completely bought in to the postmodern definition and interpretation of Matt 7:1. 2. Though Christians are far from perfect, they (we) have historically been the ones for 2000 years who have been feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, educating the poor and leading lost people to a saving relationship with Jesus. The church is made up of the best people in the world. The Church is also the Bride of Christ, and God sees her “without spot or blemish” (Eph 5:27) and those who are making careers out of besmirching the Bride of Christ, ought to maybe try and say something nice about her from time to time. Don’t you think?

      • Susan on June 5, 2017 at 11:22 am

        Oh my, oh my. Someone gets it, truly gets it and is not afraid to be “judgmental”, “hypocritical” and a “very bad friend” (that was sarcasm) to speak the truth in love. There is a remnant who know and understand and have not bought into the lies.

        I honestly can’t tell the difference between “Christian” and “non-Christian.” Divorce rates, business dealings, pornography/ affairs, addictions, abortion and the list goes on. Christians these days look exactly like non-Christians. So why be Christian?

        Why? Because “life change” and “doing good in the community and in peoples’ lives.” Yeah, that’s the ticket. Deeds, not creeds — the second Reformation. (Why? Because we can’t agree about doctrine, and doctrine doesn’t really matter anyway, does it?)

        But you see, I don’t have to be “Christian” to “do good deeds”. I can volunteer for the Red Cross, help at the local food pantry, read stories at the library, walk the dogs at the animal shelter and run 5K for cancer AND be Jewish, Muslim, atheist, or New Age.

        There is no longer any need for holiness, sanctification, righteousness, purity (and certainly no need for repentance and conversion) because we are all sinners whether we are “saved” or “not saved”. Just repeat this “little prayer” and it’s all good.

        And it helps if you ignore the Lord’s (chilling) words in Matthew 7. Many will say on that day, “Lord, Lord … ” and Jesus will say, “Depart from me, you workers of iniquity, for I never knew you.” The folks who said “Lord, Lord” sound “very Christian” to me.

    • Roger on June 9, 2017 at 10:10 am

      There is so no evidence in the Bible that Jesus was friends with sinners. Yet, Jesus did interact with sinners for the sole purpose of bringing them to the Father, because He didn’t want anyone to be lost. Jesus spent most of His time with His disciples. Yet, he took every opportunity to speak into the life of the sinner.
      Just because your objective in befriending a sinner is to bring them to Christ, it does not mean that you don’t love them or care about their needs. It actually means you love them because you want them to have Christ, and took the time to reach out to them. The greatest thing that any one could have is a relationship with Christ.

  13. Edwin Crozier on May 31, 2017 at 11:50 am

    I finally figured out why this blog post has been bothering me so much. In my mind, I’m going back and forth. To be honest, when I read the post, I wanted to come out against it because it doesn’t sit right with me. The funny thing is when someone speaks against the suggestions in this post, I come out against them as well. So my mind, heart, and spirit have been playing ping pong with this post.

    You asked “what do you think?”

    I think there are three pieces of good, godly advice–take care with your judgment, don’t be a hypocrite, be a better friend–that Christians need to hear. But the foundation of this article is faulty. I should not change my behavior or encourage anyone else to change their behavior because non-Christians despise it. Rather, I should change my behavior and encourage others to change their behavior because Jesus despises it. After all, Christians will always be despised by non-Christians. Even when we are doing everything just the way Jesus wants, non-Christians will despise us.

    • W Barber on May 31, 2017 at 12:27 pm

      I’m with you until the last sentence. Leave room for the Holy Spirit brother. If we do everything right, as God would have us, things can change. The disciples were sent ahead of Jesus not to convert people but to tell them the Kingdom is coming near; it was up to Jesus to do the work. “Glory to God whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or desire.”

    • Mike on May 31, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      Hi Edwin,

      I often hear that if we are doing Christianity right the world will hate us. Why do we think that? Where does that idea come from?

      • Edwin Crozier on May 31, 2017 at 4:55 pm

        John 15:18-21

        “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.”

        Matthew 5:10-12

        “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for their is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

        Luke 6:22-23, 26

        “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets…Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.”

        • Mike on May 31, 2017 at 9:38 pm

          Thanks for the response, Edwin.

          This is where I get confused. Any time I’ve shared my beliefs with “non-Christians” they don’t hate me. They don’t persecute me. They just kinda say, “cool” and we keep hanging out.

          When I look at the context of the verses above, I see Jesus talking to the disciples the night before the Passover. (John 15) and speaking to a Jewish congregation (Matt. 6, Luke 6). I could be wrong but it seems the disciples and early followers of Jesus faced the greatest persecution from the existing religious establishment, not from the Gentiles.

          When I think back on the times I did encounter the most persecution for my beliefs it was from Christians of other denominations that wanted to fight with me about what certain verses meant.

          So is it that I’m not preaching the gospel correctly because I’m not making people angry? Or is Jesus possibly preparing his disciples for a lot of pushback from the religious elite because he’s taking away their power?

          • Edwin Crozier on June 1, 2017 at 9:24 am

            Mike,
            Those are good questions.
            First, I don’t believe Jesus’s teaching means every non-Christian will hate Christians in general.

            Second, I don’t believe Jesus’s teaching means every person you share the gospel with will hate you individually.

            Third, I do think it is interesting that Jesus, in one of those passages, speaks of some of the persecutors doing so while thinking they are doing it in His name because they don’t actually know God. That suggests some of our persecutors will be religious people. That being said, I do notice that many who support same gender sexual activity and marriage, when they rebuke people like me who teach against it, they often claim they are on the side of Jesus’s love whether or not they claim to be Christians. So, here is a setting where people ridicule and at least verbally persecute, claiming to do so in Jesus’s name but, I believe, they do not know God.

            Fourth, I do not believe our goal should be to make non-Christians hate us or persecute us. That is, I do not believe we should justify a judgmental attitude, hypocrisy, or being mean claiming non-Christians are supposed to hate us.

            Fifth, all that being said, I know that Jesus did live properly and He was crucified. He wasn’t just crucified by the “religious right” of the Pharisees, but also by the “liberal left” of the Sadducees, and also by the pagan Romans, and also by the common crowds of the Jews. And He says if we live like Him, we’ll be treated like Him. I don’t know you, so I’m not saying this about you. I’m saying this about me. This does concern me. I’m not treated like Jesus was. Of course, I don’t think that means I have to be crucified, but I’m not very ill-treated by anyone.

            Sixth, as I read about Paul in Acts who walked in the footsteps of Jesus, I see that he was equally persecuted by folks of all walks–pagans and Jews alike.

            All this together does make me question my own following of the Lord when it comes to making disciples.

            I will draw attention to the way you worded something. You said, “Any time I’ve shared my beliefs with ‘non-Christians’ they don’t hate me.” I know we live in a post-modern day when many people don’t care what anyone else believes. Every belief is cool. So, I imagine that many times just sharing what you believe would not upset people. My question is this, Jesus came on the scene not just sharing what He believed, but saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Paul came on the scene not simply sharing what he believed but claiming that what he believed demanded action like repenting and surrendering to Jesus as Lord. It is one thing for us to share what we believe, it is another to believe it enough to call people to repentance. Perhaps that is included in what you mean when you say you share what you believe. However, I’m guessing no matter how well we live, when we call people to repentance, some will surrender, and others will persecute.

            Sorry for the long response.



          • W Barber on June 1, 2017 at 10:33 am

            Regarding number 3, does disagreeing equate with ridicule and persecution? You further go on to say people who say they follow Jesus and affirm that God loves lgbtqi folks in a similar manner to God’s love for straight people are not…really Christian i think you say. I understand disagreement, implying an exchange of ideas, interpretations, perspectives on faith to be a mark of adult conversation, a way of allowing some light into places where there is just heat. The culture of outrage short circuits that, from many sides. Saying people with an understanding different from yours are not Christians, or don’t understand scripture, or however you phrase it: that shuts down conversation, is dipping your toe at least into the troubled waters of fractious, door-closing judgement (sorry, mixed metaphors on display). Jesus, and later Paul, do have conflicts with people: the Pharisees who judge based on their understanding of law.



          • Edwin Crozier on June 1, 2017 at 11:21 am

            Mike, I guess we’ve reached the limit of the nesting on this conversation. I hope this comes up in order so the conversation is understandable.

            Anyway, no, disagreement is not the same as persecution. However, I do believe when people “utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Matthew 5:11), that is verbal persecution.

            Additionally, I didn’t say anything about people affirming or denying that God loves folks who participate in same gender sexual activity or same gender marriages. God loves all and demonstrated so by sending Jesus to die for all and giving all the opportunity to repent. I actually commented on folks who support such behavior. There is a difference. Further, I did say folks who mock and ridicule people who claim the Bible teaches against same gender sexual activity sometimes say they are doing so because Jesus is love, thus claiming they are offering their verbal attack “in Jesus’s name.” If I am correct in my understanding of the Bible on this activity, then these are people who do not know God in much the same way the Pharisees did not know God. I am not saying they aren’t otherwise decent people. I’m not saying they don’t know anything about God. I’m simply saying they are not submitting to His Lordship. Of course, if I’m wrong, then that statement applies to me.

            I do not believe the Bible condones such behavior. I believe the Bible calls such behavior a sin which will separate people from the Lord. I believe people confessing and surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus will turn from such behavior. As with all other behaviors I believe are sinful, I do call folks to repentance. Admittedly, that will stop many conversations just as Jesus’s call to the rich young ruler stopped the conversation. However, that won’t stop the conversation because I’m unwilling to keep discussing the disagreement. That will stop the conversation because people, in general, don’t like to be called to repentance, which gets to the heart of my final statement in my previous comment. Jesus, Peter, Paul, Steven didn’t just share their beliefs. They called people to repentance. I think they did it with kindness, gentleness, and love. Nevertheless, it ended many conversations (see Acts 17:30-31, though admittedly this conversation stopper was tied with the resurrection which demands repentance). That will lead to persecution, verbal almost certainly, and possibly even beyond that.



    • Dave on June 1, 2017 at 11:10 am

      In my experience, those who authentically follow Jesus are more despised by those who simply want to “play church.” Following Jesus will always challenge our assumptions about God, ourselves, and others.

      “Playing church” does nothing but placate a false anxiety that we have to appease a distant, disappointed God.

      Now, there are some people who hold a staunch opposition to Christianity (or any religion) and will make it known, but I find those people are fewer than the ones who are content with going through the motions and remaining unchanged.

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    • Ppodlas on June 3, 2017 at 5:55 am

      The Bible says Do Not judge those outside the body, but judge those within the body. Lets just do that

      • Edwin Crozier on June 3, 2017 at 7:25 am

        Ppodlas,
        Thank you for the reminder. That is from I Corinthians 5:12. I Corinthians 5:13 goes on to say, “God judges those outside.” Should I warn those outside the body of that coming judgment?

        • ppodlas on June 5, 2017 at 8:44 am

          Absolutely – by loving loving them to death! Then you will earn the right to speak.

  14. Jeremy Fretts on May 31, 2017 at 9:15 am

    “Christians don’t believe in science or logic.”
    Further, the complex systematic gyrations many Christians go through to explain incrogruities in scripture is befuddling to those who live in a world of measurable facts and logic.

    • Mike on May 31, 2017 at 10:40 am

      So true!

      One thing I love about about science is it allows for us to be wrong in our hypotheses. Christianity doesn’t seem to give the same courtesy.

      It seems churches are organized on a foundation of belief, rather than a foundation of relationship. So when your belief changes, the community can’t handle it and you gotta leave.

      I wish we as people could do wrongness better.

      • W Barber on May 31, 2017 at 11:19 am

        I give thanks for the gift of reason and intellect. Along with scripture and tradition it shapes my belief and how I see and understand the universe, my place in it, who my neighbor is, friends and loved ones. I give thanks for antibiotics, understanding of anatomy and surgical interventions. I do not worship reason or mistake the fullness of being human, loving, making some sense of suffering and the good news that evil and chaos do not define us. We have faith as believers, unafraid of knowledge. Just don’t elevate knowing to being fully w understanding

  15. Tom on May 31, 2017 at 6:59 am

    Im a christian and at times i dislike myself and christians because of what is said and done. If we could just accept one another in love as a person whom is loved greatly by God. Agree that we all have this sickness or virus and we need each other and a doctor to heal us. Agree that we cant handle the truth that people sin both believer and non believer. This might make engaged conversations easier when we can understand each other because we are all the same. Lets play nice in the sandbox and feel ok if we have dirt on us and your friend has dirt too. Let God stand back as a parent and leave Him do the punishing when we are not so nice. The sandbox is for all so invite all.

    • Mike on May 31, 2017 at 10:51 am

      Me too, Tom.

      I don’t even like to call myself a Christian anymore because it makes hurting people hurt more.

      This is a bit heretical, but… here it goes.

      What if Christian universalism is a possibility? Or at least living in the hope that everyone will eventually will be reconciled to God?

      When I think this way, every man becomes my brother and every woman my sister. I don’t need to convince them of my beliefs and can just have relationship with them. I can help them with their struggles and they can help me with mine.

      That’s what I wonder right now. Is God’s love big enough and Christ’s blood strong enough that it can melt even the coldest of hearts?

  16. Whosure on May 30, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Mine is an easy one. People that do not know me begin conversations about church. They invariably use the pronoun “our” rather than “my” when talking about their own activities. It drives me crazy — it is not MY church, and the use of “our” forces me to have ownership of this “church.” I have no issues of people that tell me about their church activities, as long as they use “my” church.

  17. Grant Barber on May 30, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    If you are the pastor of a congregation, you can’t also be friends w/members. Muddies up waters too much. Lay person…got it, at least one relationship option. Actually, I look for men of other faith traditions with whom to be friends…Buddhists for example. Or even an RC layperson. Someone I don’t have pastoral responsibility for. There are sides to all of us that we show to others depending on nature of the relationship. My wife hears some of my humor that parishioners will not. Friends do as well, and sometimes frustrations of being a pastor. Alas, I find after being friends w/someone, I end up sooner or later in a pastoral relationship of some sort. Maybe it’s a question of balance…. Authenticity is the key I think. That and love. “Telling truth in love” is code for being angry or judging. Bogus. We are called to love–Jesus did so w/Samaritan woman at the well, with the Roman Centurion, with the Syro-Phoenician woman (crumbs, dogs under the table), and used a Samaritan as model of compassionate behavior (Good Samaritan) and then there’s the Prodigal Son’s welcome home. None of this is conditional. At least two were pagans. It’s love, period. And darn hard. Thank God for the Holy Spirit and the opportunity for daily conversion and forgiveness.

    • Trish K on June 1, 2017 at 10:52 am

      “other faith traditions with whom to be friends…Buddhists for example. Or even an RC layperson. I’m an RC layperson. Are you suggesting that Buddhists and Roman Catholics are not Christians? I cannot speak for Buddhists but as a Roman Catholic I can assure you I am a Christan. Perhaps I misunderstood what you stated, but your comment have me the impression that you classified Roman Catholics as outside the Christian faith.

      • Grant Barber on June 1, 2017 at 11:40 am

        Yikes! No, and apologies. Was thinking of newish friend raised by Jesuits in high school and college. He is rock solid in his faith. He receives pastoral and spiritual counsel there. So…doesn’t have to come from me. I believe I am authentic in various roles, such as pastor/priest or husband or friend. But they are different roles, and I’m so glad for that freedom that friendship allows. He is a brother in Christ.

        • Trish K on June 1, 2017 at 12:39 pm

          Apology accepted! 😁 As a Roman Catholic I hold very strong positions about controversial issues such as birth control, abortion, homosexuality, etc… and I find it extremely difficult to converse about these issues for fear of hurting another’s feelings. I usually steer clear of these subjects but I wish I could be more open (in love of course). However, strong positions cause others to feel judged. I do not feel I’m judging them but they feel judged so maybe I’m not showing enough love. Hmmmm… something to pray about.

          • Grant Barber on June 1, 2017 at 2:16 pm

            Ah. And I am a progressive as they come Episcopal priest. Were we to meet IRL I suspect the weather, where to get a good cup of coffee, or how to get deals on overseas flights might be high on conversation list. BUT if we were able to talk dearly held religious positions…and still like one another and look forward to the next conversation…then we could take it on the road. Maybe help the Middle East out of their messes. But I bet if I were thirsty or hungry you’d give me water (or coffee…I really like coffee) and nourishing bread in the spirit of mercy and compassion, as I would do for you. That’s a starting place.



  18. Edwin on May 30, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    In response to the specific question asked at the end of the article, and knowing full well this may make me sound just like those being rebuked by the article, I do think we should consider the answer Jesus gave in John 3:20-21 and 15:18-21.

  19. Joyce P on May 30, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Jesus judged the Pharisees. He judged the money-lenders in the temple.
    Non-Christians judge Christians, putting all of us into the same bucket. They also judge among themselves.
    The laws of the land judge us when we step out of line.
    We make judgements every day as to what to buy, wear, words we use. We stay away from people we’ve judged to be violent, filthy-speakers, chronic drug and alcohol users, even those who never wash.
    Point is: judgement is part of everyday living. It’s the condemnation that is wrong. How are Christians to be “salt” or a “light on the hill?” A person CAN point out wrongdoing without condemning.
    Hypocrisy is by far the most devastating to our reputation.

    • Eileen on May 30, 2017 at 4:06 pm

      Loved this article. This is the where I have come to after many years of not getting anywhere with others who aren’t Christian. Just love them and not worry about judging them and feeling I have to make them, as was said, a “project”.

      • Roberta on June 12, 2017 at 6:52 pm

        Deep thinking – adds a new diesmnion to it all.

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  20. Luz M. Malespin on May 30, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    You don’t necessarily have to be a Christian to point out to a friend when they are acting against their best interest, I don’t think that is the problem, but I have found in the church a lot of arrogance when speaking about things we do not understand. I can not judge someone else’s troubles if they are not my walk, I have no problem avoiding lying, but that is my walk, others have trouble telling the truth, I’m better then they are? no. And that is where I have a problem, just because I am not a homosexual and do not understand what it feels like, do I have the right to judge who’s struggling with that issue? I know Jesus did not teach us to go around pointing fingers at others for their own personal struggles. And the best preaching is done by actions, you act like Christ (all the time) and believe me people will notice and will seek out your advice. Best preaching I have received are by men who have loved the unlovable and treat everyone with the same love. Like Jesus. I can’t stand hypocrites. Walk the talk. Actions speak louder than empty words.

    • Al on May 30, 2017 at 2:26 pm

      Isn’t it being judge mental to say “there is a lot of arrogance in the church”?

  21. Kevin Hicks on May 30, 2017 at 10:56 am

    None of the three behaviors are peculiar to Christians. Look elsewhere for an answer to why the world criticizes Christians (Hint: John 15:18)

  22. Sheri on May 30, 2017 at 10:38 am

    I’m finding the comments just as interesting as the article! Although I agree with the article that we cannot and have no right to judge others, I also agree with many of the commenters that we need to speak the truth (in love). It boils down to that old saying, love the sinner but hate the sin. It’s a very fine line, though, as people tend to see no disconnect between what they do and who they are. For example, homosexuals – when you try to tell them that homosexuality is a sin (thinking in the context of what they do), they see it as a condemnation of who they are. So what is the answer? Personally, I’d rather err on the side of love and relationship, as stated in the article. If you develop a relationship with a non-Christian, become friends and show that you truly love them, then from that perspective, you can share the truth with them and they won’t be offended because by that time, they understand your motives.

    • Wendy on May 30, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      I find your last sentence particularly revealing: “If you develop a relationship with a non-Christian… by that time, they understand your motives.” That strikes me as saying that the only reason to befriend non-Christians is to try to get them to see the “error of their ways” and to listen to you preaching at them. This is precisely the attitude Carey warns us against in the OP. Carey urges us to love our neighbors uncritically and not to view them as a “project” or something that needs fixing. Yes, Jesus called out the Pharisees – for their self-righteous attitudes. But he supped with prostitutes and tax collectors. And in John 8, he gently rebukes the woman – “go and sin no more” – but reserves his harshest words for those who sought to stone her – “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

  23. Al Serhal on May 30, 2017 at 9:51 am

    Non-Christians Despise Christians and are always going to despise Christians (John 15:18). So do you honestly think they are at all objective in their opinion of us? It’s like the the pro golfer years ago who got put in a foursome that included Billy Graham. Later in the locker room a friend asked him what it was like playing golf with Billy Graham? He slammed his golf bag on the floor and said “I don’t need Billy Graham Preaching at Me!” The guy said “Really? Did he preach at you?” The man admitted, “Well, no. But I don’t need Billy Graham preaching at me!” – Guys, you can drive yourself nuts trying to make the world Love you and the Church. But they will always have a chip on their shoulder toward us because they are in rebellion against God (Romans 1:18-24). They will always accuse Christians of being “Judgmental” because we seek Holiness. They will always accuse the church of being “Judgmental” because she stands for righteousness. They will always accuse us of being hypocrites because it makes them feel better about themselves and their lifestyle choices. And when it comes to relationships………….The deepest relationships in the world take place in the family of God. Why do we allow the World’s opinion of us direct our Church and ministry? Anyway, I suppose having this opinion qualifies me as being judgmental by today’s definition. Right?

    • Rbrown on May 31, 2017 at 12:06 am

      Well, it isn’t going to help you love people.

  24. Shannon on May 30, 2017 at 7:00 am

    So far I feel that I have come closer to overcoming the struggle with non Christian friends. The sad part is that my two non Christian friends are less judgmental and more available to talk to where many Christian in the churches I have attached and currently attending have been very critical and even having a try to fix me attitude. I used to avoid non Christians but the Lord has convicted me to build relationships with these friends. And that I am not the saviour and to not try and save them but just love them the way I want to be loved. I have come to terms with not putting my beliefs I have chosen for myself on them if that is not what they have chosen. I hold them accountable to the standards they have chosen for themselves. I try and be real and let them know that when I talk about my faith it’s never to convince them to convert but that my faith is just a part of who I am and if they like me for WHO I am then just requires respect Most people don’t try to convince others to follow their beliefs unless it’s backed up by a large group of fallowers as we see in religion. The friends I have don’t fit in any category so I never feel the pressure. The problem most Christians have is one I face in building these relationships is trying to find boundaries to have that don’t cross over my beliefs and in that these are the question or situation I have had to face at this current moment.
    So the questions are: have a beer at a pub over some wings and garlic bread talking about their life challenges . This is a controversial issue with most Christians. I know it’s clear in Ephesians to not get drunk but…. one beer? Or two?
    We have become such good friends and they want friendship tattoos? Leviticus, no marks on the body? Yet I have seen some amazing stories come out of people with tattoos and they have reached people that most ordinary people could not have.
    Multiple pearcings? Or making a cake for homosexuals friends after moving into their new apartment?
    So I keep searching…. what would Jesus do in these moments that could potentially bond with someone who may or may not chose Jesus because we loved them right where they are?

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  25. Sheila A. on May 30, 2017 at 2:25 am

    Lack of humility. That is a big one for me. stop the chest thumping “Aren’t I just wonderful because I do good things for my community”. There’s no humility in advertising your good deeds. Do good work because it’s the right thing to do.

  26. Jay Wallar on May 30, 2017 at 1:06 am

    I do not believe we have the right to intrinsically judge the worth of someone’s soul before God. No one has the authority to determine whom God loves. Every soul is valuable in His eyes.

    Having said that, we make judgements everyday, and these are not all evil or wrong. We don’t let our kids play with everyone…that’s a judgement. We don’t eat at every restraunt…that’s a judgement. There is a book in the Bible called Judges…for crying out loud. (Ok not the point, but funny none the less) My point is, there is a Biblical command to judge right and wrong, and that can be very scriptural and relevant. Every leader should make judgments daily.

    For clarification sake, we must realize that there is an unrighteous judgment and a righteous one. Judging right and wrong…even if it’s in someone else’s life, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Culture doesn’t like it, but you can’t correct what you won’t confront. Pointing out sin is the first step to getting forgiven of it, whether it’s holding the mirror up and taking a hard look at yourself, or preaching from the pulpit to call a sinner to repentance. How can they give their life to Christ, if they don’t know they are a sinner? How can they know they are a sinner, unless someone points it out? (judgment)

    Jesus judged the Pharisees and called them a “brood of vipers.” I would like to see how that would go over in most churches today. Paul commanded the Corinthians church to judge themselves, so God wouldn’t have to. So the idea of no judgment under any circumstances is taking Jesus words and pressing them past the concept taught throughout all of Scripture.

    Just my thoughts.

    Carey, you do great work! Love the blog. It has helped me tremendously. Keep it up!

  27. Joshua P on May 29, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    The focus of this article was what non-Christians hate about Christians. In that sense, I agree with the article. However I disagree with the author’s use of scripture to tell Christians what they are or are not to do. The author also basically says because non-Christians hate this then Christians must not do that thing. Although I don’t disagree with the end necessarily, I certainly disagree with the reasoning.

    Most specifically the idea of judging. What is meant by judging? Is it “judging” to point out to someone that having an affair is wrong? Is that being judgemental? The author would seem to indicate that is being judgemental.

    I believe there is a tension. We see it in how Jesus dealt with the ‘woman at the well.’ He didn’t ignore her sin but he also offered grace. I think that is really the issue. Too many Christians ARE judgemental in attitude and in purpose. However, it is equally wrong to not speak truth. Someone has to understand sin in order to understand salvation. The best way I can say it is this. Truth is not truth without grace and grace is not grace without truth. The two have to be held in tension, just like Jesus did it. And truth spoken with grace is done for a person’s benefit, done with the right attitude, and done in relationship. When it’s done like that it is not judgemental, even if someone perceives it is.

    The Bible doesn’t say don’t “judge.” It actually says be careful for you will be judged with the same measure you judge others. That’s why we must keep the tension of offering truth AND grace. We all fall so far short of God’s perfection. We all need God’s grace.

    • Heidi Chick on May 30, 2017 at 4:31 pm

      Totally agree. when there is no grace with “judgement” that is when one just feels rejected as a person.
      This tends to go hand in hand with hypocrisy, we are all so imperfect but we are all still God’s children, so be careful not to tramp on each other in your efforts to “correct” another.

  28. Criag Elliott on May 29, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    I’m not a Christian. The article is spot-on from my perspective about things Christians do that non-Christians despise. Interesting that the comments above mine are nearly all supportive of being judgemental. The mirror is being held up for for a look, but it seems to me that the pro-judge people simply don’t care why they are so irksome to non-Christians, and maybe they are not interested in forming friendships with those outside their faith. To me, folks that are “IN” the circle of the religion celebrate their IN-ness, but it can only exist when those that are “OUT” are clearly identified. Could that be part of the attraction?

    • Elizabeth Wharton on May 30, 2017 at 12:39 am

      I appreciate reading your thoughts, Criag. After reading such a great blog post I get discouraged when the comment section represents Christianity so poorly. When I read the Bible, and when I see the way God meets me personally in the middle of all of my inadequacies, nothing about that makes me want to judge or ostracize people.
      I hope you come across some people in your life who love Jesus and represent him well, because a lot gets said and done in his name that breaks his heart. We’re all works in progess and the kindness of others goes a long way in making the journey smoother.

    • Mike on May 30, 2017 at 6:49 pm

      Dude, that is SUCH a good way to put it! Christians seem to celebrate their “in-ness” by wanting to label the “out-ness” in others.

      Craig, how does this strike you? It seems Christians preach Jesus to the world. What if Jesus didn’t want people to “preach” Jesus, but rather “become” him?

      For me, I just look for people around me and try to be kind. No doctrine. No signing on the dotted line. No magic prayer words. Just be a friend because we’re better together than alone.

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  29. Don A. Stowell on May 29, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    I think there has been a misunderstanding about the difference between “judging” and “condemning.” We have a right to judge by the Word of God (and that alone) and it must be done in love (Ephesians 4:15). Nowhere do we have the right to condemn. That kind of “judgment” is left to God.

  30. Ann Blough on May 29, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    I am glad that Jesus will be the final judge.

  31. Norma Sue Lott on May 29, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    I hear the “judging ” issue in different ways from “you think my grandma is going to hell, don’t judge me and who are you to judge?” The only thing I can honestly tell them is that God didn’t send any of us to judge another person’s soul . He only ask of us that we share his word. We can’t judge a person but we are required to judge a behavior according to what God has said in his word. If grandma did all she knew to do then you can honor her by doing the same thing. I have friends who aren’t Christians but they are not close friends. I have to guard the effect people have on my and how I could be pulled into giving approval of a situation because of my love for the friend. We need to be busy loving others enough to teach them and show they we love them by our deeds. Give help when needed, food when needed and find a way to show kindness so our light shines.

    • Jeffro on May 29, 2017 at 3:32 pm

      Norma Sue Lott, you are on the money. Loving someone also includes telling them when they are wrong. We cannot love someone without telling them the truth through calmly talking to them or asking them to stugy with you.

  32. Dis Guy on May 29, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    I understand your agenda to “stamp out” judgemental attitudes, however your statement “you can’t judge and love at the same time” is theologically inaccurate. God Himself is love, yet the Word is clear that He will judge the quick and the dead. This is the exact misapplication of the Word that is leading so many astray. It is our job to love, yes, and to use the Word to lead the lost to the Lord, it is not our job to de-fanfmg the Gospel because it makes us and others uncomfortable.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on May 29, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      Sure. But you’re not God, and neither am I. Our job isn’t to judge.

      • Jeffro on May 29, 2017 at 3:38 pm

        Yes, but it is our job to spread the Word to everyone. We are given a bad wrap because we don’t JUDGE. The world says we judge but we really are telling the world that God has already judged them by His Word. We only repeat what the Word says.

        • Mike on May 30, 2017 at 7:54 pm

          Jeffro, how is saying “God judges the world” good news?

          Maybe this is part of the issue Christianity has. Do we know what the Gospel of Jesus is?

          • Buck on June 12, 2017 at 6:55 pm

            These pieces really set a standard in the inturdsy.



          • Susan on June 13, 2017 at 8:05 am

            A new standard in the industry, indeed. And they make merchandise out of you. Come one, come all, let us create life change in our communities. This advertisement (oops, I mean public service announcement) brought to you by the Christian Industrial Complex. Color me shocked! The Church has become the religious version of Amway and Jesus the Judgmental braids a whip to drive the money changers out of the temple.



  33. Elizabeth Wharton on May 29, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    Yes! “People can smell it a mile away if you see them as a project, not a person.” This is so true. I see this in the context of discipling one another in the church family, as well. No matter who we are in relationship with, the moment we take on the role of trying to fix them we walk away from the ability to love them well.

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