by Tony Nester

Welcoming Imperfect People
Tony R. Nester
Matthew 7:1-5

One of the surest ways to turn people away from the church is to pass judgment on them.

Those of you who know the Peanuts cartoon strip are acquainted with Lucy. She is a constant fault finder and ever quick to criticize her playmates. One day Linus asks Lucy: "Why are you always so anxious to criticize me? Lucy replies: "I just think I have a knack for seeing other people's faults." Linus says: "What about your own faults?" And Lucy replies: "I have a knack for overlooking them..." (1).

That’s how a lot of people see the church. Their image of the church is that it has a knack for judging them while neglecting to judge itself.

But if we don’t judge people what happens to our standards? We aren’t really helping people if we welcome them into a church where anything goes because we dare not offend anyone by criticizing their behavior. People need standards and the judgment that those standards provide.

Moral standards help keep us safe. They set boundaries that protect us from people who would harm us, misuse us, treat us unfairly. We scream at referees when a call is made against our team we think is unfair, but no one tries to play a serious game of basketball without a referee. We know we need someone in charge of judging.

Moral standards also honor God. Our moral convictions as Christians and the judgments we make based on those convictions express our respect for the truth God has given us about how God wants us to live. God gave us the Ten Commandments, not the Ten Suggestions. We honor God when we uphold God’s standards. We dishonor God when we dismiss them from our lives. We have to judge!

What does Jesus say about judging people? Let’s look at Matthew 7:1-5.

(Matthew 7:1-5 NRSV) ""Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. {2} For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. {3} Why do you see the speck in your neig ...

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