Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

Put that Gavel Down!

17 Comments

Judge-Gavel

“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.” 1Corinthians 5:9-13

Dear Christians:

I’m not sure if you even read here but just in case you do there are a few things I’d like to say about judging others. First, you are well within your rights to judge each other. Have at it. Paul even tells you to engage in it; not only to judge but to be the jury and executioner. If there are any among you who do the things you find sinful, don’t associate with them. Shun them. Put them out to pasture. Don’t even break bread with them. It’s okay. That’s what you’re supposed to do. Give them a time out, place them on restriction, and put their noses in the corner.

That seems to be your favorite pass-time, anyway. I thought cannibalism had been pretty well outlawed within your ranks, but you all seem rather comfortable with the practice of eating each other for breakfast. Knock yourselves out. There are some 30,000 plus denominations of Christianity, not including Catholicism which has around 245 religious orders or rites. I’m not sure what the difference is except that all of those 245 religious rites still answer to the same Pope so I guess that means it’s just one. Even though they all practice their worship a little bit differently, which isn’t the same, so not one? ‘I see’, said the blind man.

Regardless, it’s helping people to see that it’s all a little bit…well…hokey. So all those people you shun will either go on feeling guilty and horrible and terrible about themselves or they’ll decide they don’t need your approval and move on. With your church discipline it places the disciplinee on the outside; like they’re not even believers. Most of you would say they aren’t True Believers™, anyway. This brings me to my next point:

If they aren’t True Believers™ you shouldn’t be judging them, anyway. Put ’em out of your fellowship and leave them be. What’s that? You don’t believe me? “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.” 1 Corinthians 5: 12-13. There you go. Right there from your good book. Instruction manual on how to treat unbelievers.

Do you know what else that means? Your church rules and your Christian law book only apply to you and your fellowship of believers. So stop trying to apply them to everybody else. Gay marriage? Abortion? Not your concern unless it’s happening in your congregation. I think it would still suck air to be so rude to your professing brothers and sisters in Christ to treat them so callously, but there’s your recourse. That’s it. Put them out of fellowship and leave them be. But that’s all you’ve got.

You see, this country is not a church. Our forefathers went to great lengths to spell out in great detail that the government would not and could not sponsor a state religion. Therefore, if you are a Christian and you want to live out your life till the cold, clammy hand of death comes to take you to become dust again being one, that’s your prerogative. And if you want to spend your days on this earth with your nose turned up, looking down on unbelievers because they aren’t livin’ right, that’s your prerogative, too. But what you don’t get to do is tell anyone else how they get to live.

Sure, you can go in the voting booth and pull the lever whichever way tickles your fancy and you can spend your very last dime campaigning for whatever cause is near and dear to your heart. That’s the way it works. But what you don’t get to do is be the judge, jury, and executioner of those who don’t subscribe to your beliefs. It’s not your place and it’s certainly not your right. Put your gavel down and go on about your business.

Kindest Regards,

Ruth

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17 thoughts on “Put that Gavel Down!

  1. I like this post Ruth.
    Maybe if Christians read the bible more, they would learn to let those on the outside be and apply their good old book to those in the fold

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  2. “Your church rules and your Christian law book only apply to you and your fellowship of believers. So stop trying to apply them to everybody else.”

    That’s it, right there… Such a simple message, yet one the fundamentalist is incapable of understanding.

    Good find of 1 Corinthians 5: 12-13. That’s a keeper 🙂

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    • I’ve known about that 1 Corinthians passage for a very long time. I never could understand why Christians thought they should be able to apply their rules to non-Christians.

      Simple, but not easy; not for fundamentalists.

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  3. The one major thing I felt as a believer while active in the church was the heaviness. An oppressive heaviness. I cringe now when I look back on those times. Especially because of the indoctrination that those on the outside were considered lost low-lifers. But some of the most unhappiest people I’ve ever met were “born again” Christians.

    It’s no surprise finding a relatively recent Duke University study “Religious Factors and Hippocampal Atrophy In Late Life” showing that “born again” Christians, both Protestant and Catholic tended to have atrophied hippocampus in the subjects they studied. The findings were surprising because the study was about depression, not religious affiliation. It is suggested that it’s due to the release of stress hormones that are known to depress the volume of the hippocampus over time. I wanted to post the PLOS One study but the site kept timing out. Might be down right now.

    Praise Jesus and pass the cortisol..

    Thank you for this post, Ruth. Well said.

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  4. Ahh…except that Christians are suppose to reach out, defend. So fighting to end abortion on demand is something Christians will be concerned about. Not just Christians are against abortion- non religious people are too. Christians aren’t perfect, and there’s a huge difference from claiming Christianity to actually following Christ. Huge, huge difference.

    But yes, Christians can judge. But it goes for fellow believers. Again, huge difference from judging and fighting to end abortion. I don’t judge women who choose abortion- my heart breaks for them, and the little life they ended. But I don’t judge them. But I am wholeheartedly against abortion.
    You don’t have to judge to be against something.

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    • Are they? Reach out, yes. Defend? I’m not so sure. Do you have some scripture to back that up? I thought that Christians were supposed to make disciples as they went, but I don’t remember reading where they were supposed to force Christianity, nor it’s tenets, on people who reject them.

      As you can see in my post I do think there’s an appropriate way for Christians to uphold what they value within government. I’m not pro-abortion. I’m pro-choice. Huge, huge difference. I wish abortion weren’t even a topic of discussion because I wish there were no call for it. I believe the best way to end that is through proper sex education.

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  5. Great post! It’s good to know that as soon as they’ve kicked someone out of their church for behaviour they don’t agree with, they can return to having dinner with them. It’s a beautiful religion! 🙂

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