I’ve noticed a trend in my own family and in the culture at large that when people are passing judgment on others it’s usually based on personal comparison and not an unchanging standard. Barack Obama is already a great President because he’s ‘better than Bush.’ You see both sides on American Idol where some poor person who’s been lied to, thinks or even claims to “know” that they’re better than everyone else, while the judges use a standard that says, you have to at least be able to sing. People plead guilty to “a lesser charge” because a misdemeanor won’t look as bad as a felony. And kids and Christians alike, when accused of wrong-doing often come back with – “Yeah, maybe, but haven’t you seen so-and-so? They’re way worse than me”
That seems a bit like trying to tell someone that you’re not in prison because you’re serving 6 months for grand theft, but your cellmate is doing 25-to-life for capital murder? Come on dude, you’re still in prison, you’re still wrong, you still failed to live up to the standard yourself.
That kind of thinking, and that kind of attitude of superiority based on comparison is ruining the church. One person thinks because they’re Reformed or Arminian, go to this church or that church, listen (or don’t listen) to this pastor or that, use this translation (or don’t), understand propitiation, premillennialism and imputation, that they’re somehow better, more holy, righteous, closer to God, etc. Well, comparatively (to others) that may be true, but compared to God’s standard not one person is capable of claiming they are better than another (apart from Christ).
This weekend we’ll be looking at another thing people hate about Christians – they think we’re judgmental. Some judgment is necessary, especially when it comes to things inside the church, but when we deal with people who are unchristian and don’t know Jesus, yeah, well, you were in prison too (you just know who set us free).