There is a an old quote about assumptions that I will not repeat because I do not thinks such speech would honor my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but the sentiment behind the statement is so true. Recently I wrote a blog title “Why do you Condemn who you Condemn.” The blog honestly came across in a manner I never intended, as happens constantly in the blogosphere or in emails or any electronic form of communication.
So I want to clarify my thoughts. The reason I am challenged to do this is because I have an old friend who is an atheist. He and I have gone back and forth on Facebook some with discussions about God. He is very philosophical and well-learned. He posted a note in response to my blog entry and I did not like what it said because it was true. So I decided I needed to do a better job saying what I said.
The thought started with a quote from Job. “Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself?”
Here is what I believe. We condemn that which we choose to condemn because it some sick way it comforts us. We feel better that someone or something or some belief should be condemned because in condemning it we feel better about who we are and where we are in life. Often these condemnations are irrational and very poorly thought out.
It is not something we should beat ourselves up over but it is something we must learn from. Job was brought back to God through this experience not banished by God. Job’s condemnation of God was natural. He had been put through the ultimate ringer in life and God had willingly taken part in allowing that to happen to him. He had some issues with God and he was not perfect in his response to them.
But that is the whole point. Job’s imperfection does not change God’s perfection. What changed was Job’s view and understanding of God’s perfection.
So let me apply this better than I did last time. We all condemn what we condemn because that condemnation gives us comfort.
So from my view, I challenge you to quit condemning God with things that are not true of him to make yourself feel better about the things that are true about you. Be willing to grab hold of a reality that by its very definition you are not capable of grasping and be okay with that. That is why it is called faith.
But also, for those of us who do believe in God, do not condemn the thoughts and beliefs of others solely based on your viewpoint. Listen and hear where they are coming from. Have an open and non-condemning dialogue with them without backing away from the truth of your convictions.
God did not condemn Job to make himself comfortable. He did not come down on Job to berate him for his shortcomings. God reacted to Job with honesty and clarity and then restored Job.
Here is the challenge for the Christ-follower in the discussions that are known for us as apologetics –the challenging of our beliefs with those who hold an opposite of different belief. Your role and job is not to condemn the belief of anyone else. Your role is to clearly and honestly lift high the name of Jesus. It is Jesus that draws men unto Himself. He promised if we lift him up he would do that. It is not your job to tear down the thoughts of others (as I unknowingly and unintentionally did in my earlier blog). When we do that we are actually condemning others and condemnation is clearly not our job as Christ-followers. Condemnation will one day come but that is the role of the King not of the bondslave. So we must make sure that we do not condemn others to comfort ourselves. If you choose to walk into the world of apologetics you must come to grips with the reality that it is not a place of comfort. When we condemn those we speak with it is probably not with the goal of seeing them come to Christ but to comfort ourselves. If we can condemn what they believe then we feel more comfortable in our own belief. Disagree with it…stand against it…but do not condemn it or them. Actually make your goal less to stand against what others believe, but to stand for what you believe. Condemnation is the result of standing against. Conversion is the result of standing for.
So if I in anyway did this in my earlier blog, I ask your forgiveness. That does not honor the One I feel you condemn it honors my own comfort. My comfort is something I willingly sacrifice to have the privilege of being a part of such discussions with you.