Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Fayette | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Warren | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Keeping the Faith - Minding Our Business

ronniemcbrayer300 brownsKENTUCKY (1/20/13) - In these days when it seems everything has become angry polarization, it’s not uncommon to hear someone in the heat of an argument invoke the familiar words of Jesus: “Judge not, so that you are not judged.” These words are probably misapplied as much as anything Jesus ever said.

Jesus’ prohibition against judging has less to do with our academic arguments than it does with how we treat people. The better translation of his words is, “Do not condemn others.” This changes the whole equation, as Jesus doesn’t ban “judgment” in the sense of discernment, making honorable choices, or being an informed person. Rather, Jesus is precluding the use of condemnation against others.

Yet, if you turn to the media, read much of what is printed by Christian publishers, listen to what is repeated in church pulpits, or spend time perusing the Christian blogosphere, it seems the only voice we Christians have is that of a crotchety old man, angry that the neighborhood kids won’t stay off our lawn.

Yes, some of what we say is healthy, principled dissent; but too much of it is an exhaustive collection of condemnation and angry finger-pointing, incensed as we are, at what everyone else is doing wrong. But by Jesus’ own word, the church is not permitted to become this type of condemnation-meting society. We are not called to operate a business of inflicting punishment on others. In fact, we aren’t called to mind others’ business at all.

In my vocation I often come across those who are hostile toward the Christian faith. I try to engage such individuals and learn something from them. What I have learned from people such as these, more often than not, is their exasperation over how we Christians frequently come across as a kind of moral SWAT team.

We intrude into the lives of others filling the air with the ammunition of “ought, should, and must” when we would be better served by turning our energies and attention to our own hearts and examine our own lives, not the lives of others. Dietrich Bonehoeffer said it like this, “Jesus is the only standard by which disciples should live, but he is not a standard we can apply to others. He is a standard we can only apply to ourselves.”

So, when we as Christians get blisteringly angry with those who sin differently than we do, we should remember to mind our business. That business is to love, not to condemn. That business is to begin with the self, for beginning there will keep us busy for a lifetime.

To that end, there is a wonderful story from famed Rabbi Mendel Futerfas, who survived years in the Soviet Gulags of Siberia. In the Gulag, one of the many activities that was prohibited and dealt with harshly was playing cards. Still, some of the inmates managed to smuggle in a deck of cards, and they would play for hours without the guards knowing.

Finally, however, an informant sold the card-playing prisoners out. The guards would storm in with surprise inspections looking for the cards, but could never find them. They checked every inch of the barracks including strip searches of the inmates, but the result was always the same: Nothing. Yet, as soon as the guards left, the cards would reappear and the games continued.

Rabbi Mendel couldn’t understand how this happened, but eventually the card players let him in on their secret. “You see,” they said, “we are professional pickpockets. As soon as the guards enter the barracks, we slip the cards into their pockets. Right before they leave, we slip them back out again. It never occurs to the guards to check their own pockets.”

“Judging” does not prevent us from having and sharing opinions. It doesn’t mean we can’t give a verbal witness to our faith. But it does mean we refuse – absolutely refuse – to condemn others. We leave “room in our hearts for God’s grace,” and that room is made possible by looking in and emptying our own pockets first.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

In Other News...

Portion of Spring Bank Drive Closed Monday July 28 - Aug. 1

OWENSBORO, Ky. (7/24/14) — The westbound lane of Spring Bank Drive will be closed from Edgewood Court to Woodbridge… Read More

Colonel Home Blitz

HENDERSON, Ky. (7/24/14) — In an attempt to increase face-to-face contact with parents/guardians, Henderson County High… Read More
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

July 22, 2014 3772

Madisonville Woman Charged With…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
July 21, 2014 2684

Five Sent to Hospital After Two-Vehicle…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
July 21, 2014 2073

Business Spotlight - Painted Window Aims…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 21, 2014 1985

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - July…

in News by Madisonville Police Department
July 23, 2014 1567

Crime Stoppers Top Most Wanted - July 23,…

in Top Stories by Crime Stoppers

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

July 22, 2014 3772

Madisonville Woman Charged With…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
July 23, 2014 1567

Crime Stoppers Top Most Wanted - July 23,…

in Top Stories by Crime Stoppers
July 21, 2014 1187

Madisonville Fire Chief Announces…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
July 21, 2014 1132

Three Injured in Three-Vehicle Collision…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
July 21, 2014 934

Families Upset About Piney Groves…

in Top Stories by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

July 21, 2014 1336

Portion of Southeastern Parkway Closed…

in News by Beth Cecil
July 22, 2014 1027

Alliance for a Drug Free Owensboro and…

in News by Carla Shelton
July 22, 2014 945

Daviess County Traffic Advisory

in News by Keith Todd
July 23, 2014 928

Owensboro Neighborhood Alliance Meeting…

in News by Sherry Girten
July 21, 2014 498

Strahan Selected as Cravens Elementary…

in Top Stories by Julie Ellis

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

July 21, 2014 2684

Five Sent to Hospital After Two-Vehicle…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
July 21, 2014 2073

Business Spotlight - Painted Window Aims…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 23, 2014 1463

Greenville Family Loses Home, Possessions…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 23, 2014 1080

Swinging for Sadie Raises $6,000 for…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
July 24, 2014 509

Powderly Man Injured in Apparent Gun…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)

SurfKY Owensboro News Bureau
920 Frederica St. / Suite 210  •  Owensboro, KY 42301  •  270.683-8060 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 06social 21social 22social 04social 03