For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.
—Matthew 7:2 ESV
On Monday morning, I left a comment over at Slice of Laodicea that as of the time of this writing (after midnight on an early Tuesday) still wasn’t posted. I can tell you why.
In “The Fundamental Failure to Understand What ‘Church’ Is,” an article is quoted that posits an imaginary conversation between a “real” Christian from the 1st century Church (1STCC) and one of those Emerging/Seeker-Sensitive “modern Evangelicals” (MOD-E) from a contemporary church. The conversation goes something like this:
1STCC: “What happened at your church today?”
MOD-E: “Oh, we had impressionistic dance, a dramatic presentation, a puppet show and a short message. What happened at your church?”
1STCC: “Two people were judged by God when they lied about their giving; the whole church has been overcome with awe over the wonder of God’s holy and powerful work in our midst; and while the community around us has been gripped with much fear over these things, still the Lord is constantly adding to our number… but uh, no puppet shows…and what’s ‘impressionistic dance?’“
Now I’m no fan of the silliness that often passes for “ministry” in some churches in America. There are some highly questionable gatherings masquerading as churches today. They’re often crossless, Christless, and a whole lot of other “-lesses” that should never be the case in any church that advertises itself as being Christ’s Church.
Still, it’s not hard to imagine a similar conversation between a modern day member of a “Church That Believes It Is Doing It Exactly Right” (CTBIIDIER) and that same 1st century churchgoer:
CTBIIDIER: “Unlike those pseudo-Christians in the Emerging and Seeker-Sensitive Churches, in OUR church service we sang a hundred year-old hymn accompanied by our church organist, prayed for fifteen minutes, sat quietly for an hour-long message, everyone had a thimble-full of grape juice and a sliver of dried bread, and we left knowing that we were doing church exactly as our Lord intended.”
1stCC: “We met in the house of Daphne and shared a bounteous meal together, breaking bread and partaking of the Lord’s Supper. We praised the Lord, too, with tambourine and cymbals, just as it is written in the final of the Psalms. We heard the word of God expounded, then one of our prophets stood up to tell us that we needed to prepare to send relief to Asia because a famine was coming. A dear sister spoke in a tongue and the interpretation was given by her daughter, edifying the whole gathering. Our dear brother Romulus requested prayer from the elders for his lameness. They prayed over him, anointing him with oil, and he was healed. There was a word of knowledge given that one of us was cheating a brother out of money. That man came forward, confessed, and was forgiven. While we were praying in the Spirit afterwards, the Lord spoke to us and told us to set apart Augustus and Ephraim to minister the word of God to Egypt, and this we did, sending them off with great rejoicing.”
You can take a point so far…and then you can take it even further.
We who stand in judgment of others must ensure that we understand that the judgment we use to judge others is the same judgment we must be willing to accept against us. I know that I try to be exceedingly careful what I say on this blog, because I understand that it truly is a preaching and teaching tool. The Lord will hold me accountable for what I write here. And I never want to say anything that will bring dishonor on Him or on His True Church. I take that responsibility seriously.
So I don’t understand other blogs that are so keen to get it right that they slam everyone who is not them.
Folks, there is a way to correct and there is way not to. It takes no effort to tear into a ministry that needs rebuking. We’re experts at rebuking in today’s Christian circles. On the other hand, it takes the grace of God to approach people who are wrong and correct them with the measure we would want given to us when we stumble.
I may have already crossed the line and been uncharitable here. I really loathe writing these kinds of posts anymore because it is so easy to be meanspirited.
What measure do we want to boomerang back to us? That is the very measure we should be using with anyone who claims to be a Christian.
16 thoughts on “Measure Given, Measure Received”
Thank you. It scares me to know, in the New Testement, the ones who thought they understood the word of God best were also the ones who actually stood in front of God on earth and missed it.
With an open heart.
Wow Dan, I can’t tell you how timely this is for me. In fact, I had a feeling you were gonna post something that might give me some wisdom in this very area (after some prayer for wisdom). Weird.
Anyway, I am in the middle of a similiar experience that I don’t want to expand on here but have been very troubled by how to proceed. In a way, anything anyone posts on their blog seems fair game to rebut but I have trouble with pointing out the wrongdoings of others, especially Christians. Log in my eye kind of stuff but also measure back like you mentioned.
But if the wrong-doer has a bunch of commenters that are now joining the negativity I feel like there is a reason to point out the issues. Especially when my gentle reproof in the poster’s comments was never posted (censored out) leaving them with just comments supporting them.
Anyway, I’m being real vague here on purpose. This was a great post. Not sure I have a firm answer to my particular problem but it’s given me some things to think about.
I’ve seen some stuff on blog etiquette but I’ve been wondering if blog ettiquette for Christians (being one body) is a bit different than blog etiquette in general. I’ve been having a difficult time navigating some of this stuff. Would love to hear your perspective.
(boy, I hope this gets posted… LOL)
I know the blog of which you speak – and I simply don’t go there any longer. In fact, when I visit a blog or blog post that seems to be driven more by hate than love and “Body of Christ building” I will speak my peace in a comment – and then, depending on the response to that comment, I will continue or depart. It is just too easy to “debate” in these blogs… giving little thought to what we type because it still feels so annymous – until you remember that your name and/or blog info is listed at the end of every post! LOL…
At the same time – we are ALSO called (I think) to hold our bro’s and sis’s accountable for what they say. But just like in real life, you can only say what God calls you to say – and then the actual change is between the individual and God.
This post has been removed by the author.
Dan, I’m glad you wrote this because it needed to be said.
If those we disagree with are our brothers, we have an obligation to love them. If those we disagree with are not our brothers, how much more are we obligated to walk out Christ’s love for them?
There is definitely a place for correction and there is a place for silliness, but the two are a troublesome pair that make it very difficult to reconcile with God’s love. More likely, they reveal a person’s judging, condemning heart.
Bravo, Dan. Like a previous commenter, I have topped visiting the aptly-named blog of bitterness.
The Body of Christ is a means by which God dispenses grace to others. Sometimes He does this directly and other times He uses people.
I am all for defending the Faith. Christianity should never be a rug to wipe one’s feet upon, but neither should it be the antithesis of grace.
But what I wish people would do when they go after someone who has strayed is to ask, “Lord, how can I bring as much of your grace to this situations as possible?” Nor do they seem to fall back on God to be graceful.
I understand that tough love is real and God asks for it. Paul tells the Corinthians to hand their sexually immoral members over to the chastised by Satan. That’s harsh. But we also have to understand that even in this God granted grace and Paul was given insight how best to apply it.
But most of us are not apostles, though we sometimes act like we are. What’s worse is that very few times actually require us to go to an extreme in order to correct someone.
Most problems can be handled in a more graceful manner. Paul, again, chastised the Corinthians for suing each other in public court, rather than using the gifted among them to settle disputes. One way circumvents grace, the other assumes it.
I wish we would err on the side of gracefulness today instead of using a mace to pound the devil out of people.
This post has been removed by the author.
It’s too bad that you did stop visiting because I think that sites like that are needed. They do perform a service that is needed in the Church.
Where the problem lies is when common sense and decorum are abandoned in order to make a point. Discernment does not equate to blanket statements all the time. Nor does it have to be meanspirited. It’s a shame that this happens sometimes.
I don’t like it when heretic hunters try so hard to massacre a ministry, or they use suspect tactics. Gaddabout had a great post featuring quotes by well-known Christians that could be used by certain heretic hunters to create a six degrees of separation grid by which they would have to disavow the very people they are using to blanket critique others.
For instance, Jack Hayford (whom I generally support, though I do have some disagreements with him) recently made a comment that I thought was off. Gaddabout noted that John MacArthur said good things about Hayford. Does that now mean that MacArthur is off? MacArthur is routinely quoted on some of the heretic hunting sites. What now? Who is left standing when the “rules of critique” are enforced consistently?
It all makes me very sad.
If we look at the great pioneers of our faith – Martin Luther, John Knox, John Wesley, Charles Finney, William Seymour, John Lake and all the others – they were all reviled during the times. They were imperfect vessels that made mistakes, and yet, they advanced the kindom of God.
Maybe, we Christians should give other believers lots of grace and hope that we will reap some grace in return.
Who knows? The Christian that bugs us most might be the next pioneer who moves the Church forward.
Can I ask a question? When did it suddenly become unacceptable to simply share our opinion of something without someone popping up to “remind us” to be “Christians” with each other?? The tone of this thread has been very interesting – and has evolved into some kind of “one planet, one people” sort of thinking…
I elect NOT to visit that “unnamed” blog site because 99% of what I read is SLAMMING brothers and sisters who are trying their best to do the work God has called them to do. And, worse, I SEE NO ALTERNATIVE WAY TO LIVE being given in the responses… for example, whether you like him or not, Rick Warren has made a major positive impact in the lives of many people and many have come to know the Lord as their Savior because Warren had the guts to move as God directed. Is he correct all the time? Of course not! Are any of us? (well, I am… but besides me…) The point here – why continually speak of him as evil incarnate on that blog and seek to destroy the work he feels God has called him to do? Or – if Warren really IS out to lunch and leading everyone astray then get up off your high horse butt and GIVE ME AN ALTERNATIVE – ie: “the right way” to live.
I stand by my comment and feel 100% justified in my stand – what this other blog is doing is wrong. I choose not to visit and it has nothing to do with my lack of desire to expand my thinking…
It’s the same reason I don’t like wading thru sewers…
I gave up on that blog a while back when I too left a comment (a kind one, no less) that wasn’t published (I can come up with no other reason than) because I disagreed with the quantum leap in logic taken by the blogger. Is there a need for blogs to perform that service? You bet. But if a blogger can’t do it in a spirit of love, he/she should step down. Everything we do is to be done in a spirit of Christ’s love. Looking for someone to hate is hard to do with that spirit.
I’m not the only one? What a relief!
I believe there can be an extreme in trying to do the right thing that results in our doing the wrong thing. It’s like, discernment run amok or something. And people get needlessly hurt as a result.
As in all things, it’s a heart issue: What is the real purpose behind what’s said? Is it to correct or destroy? Sometimes that’s hard to see, but other times it’s pretty obvious.
Sadly, pride often impedes grace.
I’ve since stopped visiting that blog as well. While they’ve made many good points in the past, everyone that is not to their liking is lumped into the same bucket. Taking press releases and news stories and twisting them into something that they are not is not defending the faith.
It might be an epidemic…
I just spent the past few days over at another blog – one that I visit on a regular basis because, up until the other day, I found it somewhat refreshing, albeit a tad edgy – even for me.
But the question raised a few days ago centered around the deity of Christ, the validity of the Bible and the pondering that heaven and hell may only be mythical.
So I made a few comments that basically stated I totally believed God’s Word and that Jesus IS real and that heaven and hell DO exist, etc.
And what came back was a hammering on me that I am not more “open-minded” to allow for questions.
I was not saying “don’t ask questions” I was saying, FAITH is arriving at a place where you no longer HAVE to ask such basic questions of christianity.
Again I was hammered. These folks at this blog have decided that all views are open for consideration. I am too narrow minded for that, I guess. I don’t NEED to “consider” any other religion’s ideas or concepts… I’m fine following Christ and His Word.
So, sadly, that’s another blog I will no longer visit.
“The Lord will hold me accountable for what I write here”. Amen to that Dan.
Hi. It’s me again. Can you tell I’m new to this blogging stuff?
I checked out that other post.
I had no idea that there were so many christians blogging, and posting stuff all over the web for everyone to read.
This whole thing is a bit of a culture shock to me. It’s got to be fairly time consuming.
When I first saw your site Dan, I thought that was kind of cool. But now I’m beginning to honestly wonder why people are spending so much time in front of the computer.
I’m praying about it, because at first I thought that maybe the Lord would give me things to share, and I might get something out of it also. But now I’m beginning to see I’m just a amatuer, and I had better not be doing this unless God actually tells me to. Because to be quite honest, I don’t know that I would want the Lord returning and finding me spouting out stuff He didn’t really want me saying.
After reading that other blog, and the posts on this one, I just wish folks would spend way more time asking the Lord what He wants, and asking Him why things are the way they are, and then asking Him what He wants them to do about it. But I guess you just can’t come right out and bluntly say that (oops I just did).
Not long ago, over christmas, I was forced to my knees before God through circumstances which were completely out of my control. For 3 excruciating weeks, I was forced to closely examine what I really believe, and the only thing I can really say is that I know that the Lord wants true brokeness and repentance in our lives, in order for Him to fill our lives with what He wants them to be filled with.
In spite of that, it is so easy for me to go off on a tangent, thinking I’m doing the right thing…saying the right thing…only to find that I might be slamming someone else without even thinking twice about it.
I guess that’s what christians do huh?
Why is it so hard to just be on track with Jesus?
Why does it often take tragedy to shake us out of our complacency?
I think this will probably the last time I post any blogs, unless God specifically tells me to do it.
I also ask you all, if God really wants you guys doing this. Dan, I suspect you may have already done this with the Lord. I sure hope so and you certainly don’t need to answer to me. It’s between you and God.
Although it’s kind of hard not to write, because the way I found the Cerulean Sanctum was by doing a web search. And when I started reading the posts, it caused a burning desire to write my thoughts. But I think that’s just not a good enough reason.