The Judge

“11 Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?” James 4:11-12
While I was a student at Baylor University, 1968-1972, “The Golden Wave Band,” in honor of President Judge McCall, introduced a brassy, tribute into their football game routine. It was entitled “Here Comes The Judge.” If our receivers had been as catchy as this tune, our team would have won more than four games in four years. But I digress.
Critics perceive the local church to be the last refuge for a self-righteous, judgmental attitude. In a decaying culture, anything goes, and nothing is condemned.  Those engaged in conduct they know in their hearts offends God, are not turned away from it by logic or judgment. They simply seek to gouge out the prying eyes of those who see things they way God sees them.
Evil does not seek to frame the debate and engage in a healthy dialogue that results in constructive criticism being taken to heart. Evil seeks to annihilate the truth. When evil hears ungodly behavior condemned, they are not satisfied with shutting up their accuser. They intend to cut off his head.
The church is a safety net for those who drive through God’s warning signs at the top of the cliff. With virtue being devalued, and innocence dropping like a rock, the voice of the church is often expressed as a cry of panic, not a confident call for help.
Why does it matter that the church is known more for judging sin than loving sinners?  God hates it when His children are known for leading a self-righteous inquisition rather than engaging in life-changing intercession.
“Discernment is God’s call to intercession, never fault-finding.” Oswald Chambers
Behavior inside and outside of the church rarely meets God’s standards of perfection. This means there is always something to condemn, and someone to judge. When God’s children spew from the pew, they ignore one of The Father’s sternest warnings, “Do not speak against one another.”
Self-appointed judges leave church every Sunday. In their cars, on their way home or to the restaurant, they serve their children a big plate of roast preacher. It should come as no surprise when 80 plus percent of young people who leave evangelical churches never come back, after they turn 18.
Serving up a big mess of judgment, week after week, has not improved the appetite of young people for the church. It has left them with a bitter spirit, and a sour stomach. Nor has moral outrage become a welcome mat for those who are seeking to escape the sinking ship of a decaying culture. When they summon the courage to go to church, they rarely hear the words or sense the spirit of forgiveness, “Except for the grace of God, there go I.”
Note to Self: “Who are you to judge your neighbor?” The band isn’t playing, “Here Comes The Judge.” Wrapping yourself in stolen robes is a poor substitute for hitting your knees on behalf of broken people. When you judge your neighbor, you are not leading out in intercession. You are taking part in an inquisition.
Before you spew from the pew, take a look at your own life from God’s view. “Judgment begins at the house of God.” He knows what it took to save you. Get over yourself, and pray for others to discover His life-saving love. They don’t deserve His love. Neither did you. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!