Judgment, such as the rabble that judged the woman caught in adultery, is the process of deciding a person's guilt and punishment. In this instance, the rabble were going to act as executioners and stone the woman to death for her sin. It WAS sin, and Jesus did tell the woman to "go and sin no more." So what is meant by not judging someone else? Jesus did not opt for punishment, but neither did he tell the sinner to "go and sin some more," or "what you are doing is OK." He never condoned sin. He spoke against it. Speaking against sin is not "judging" someone. Behaving as judge and jury and telling a person that they are going to hell, i.e., deciding on their ultimate fate and punishment, is the type of "judgment" being spoke about. Only God knows the ultimate disposition of each soul.
Part of the good news of Christianity is delivering with clarity the message about those things which are deemed sinful in the eyes of God. To tell a person that fornication outside of marriage is a sin, i.e., not the highest good that God has in mind for us, is to deliver part of the good news. We are required to do it. Our focus is on relaying the information about the act, and not in castigating the person who may be practicing that sinful act, i.e., not judging the person.
When instructing the apostles in how they were to behave if their words were rejected by the people to whom they brought the good news, he said to "shake the dust from" their feet and leave that place. Shaking the dust from one's feet was a way of strongly saying that you reject those people just like dirt.
"As you enter the house, give it your greeting. If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace. Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet..." (Matthew 10:12-14)
This sounds harsh to the ears of the people who believe in the unicorn-and-fairies Jesus that they have invented, but, practically speaking, what else could the apostles do? Jesus had told them that when people hear and accept the words of the apostles, they are hearing and accepting Jesus and thereby hearing and accepting the words of God.
"Whoever hears you, hears me. And whoever despises you, despises me. And whoever despises me, despises Him who sent me." (Luke 10:16)
If the people did not accept the good news, the apostles were to move on to people who would. God created us as creatures with free will, after all, and we are free to choose evil rather than good. It is only our love freely given that God desires.
When Paul is instructing the church in his first letter to the Corinthians, he points out that "the spiritual person, however, can judge everything, but is not subject to judgment by anyone." (1Corinthians 2:15.) This is because "we have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the things freely given us by God. And we speak about them, not with words taught by human wisdom, but with words taught by the Spirit, describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms." (1 Corinthians 2:12-13)
The New Catholic Answers Bible makes the point that "The spiritual person...is not subject to judgment; since spiritual persons have been given knowledge of what pertains to God, they share in God's own capacity to judge. One to whom the mind of the the Lord (and of Christ) is revealed (1 Cor 2:11-12, they share in God's own capacity to judge. One to whom the mind of the Lord (and of Christ) is revealed (1 Cor 2:16) can be said to share in some sense in God's exemption from counseling and criticism."
This "spiritual person" does not contradict the words of Christ because "the mind of the Lord (and of Christ)" has been revealed to the spiritual person and that person shares the mind of God (Christ) to some degree. Those who refute the words of Jesus and of those He sent out to spread the gospel, those who speak against His church and its Biblical precepts, are obviously not in tune with the Lord (and Christ) and do not share in the above-referenced "exemption from counseling and criticism."
Jesus warned that, in times to come, some people would call out to him "Lord, Lord" but will not be saved because they are not faithful to Him. He will send them away and tell them that he does not know them. In several places he comments that those who love him will follow his commandments.
"He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him." (John 14:21)
The apostles spent time with Jesus Himself. When Jesus was walking the earth in human form, they interacted with Him, watched Him and listened to Him. He deputized them to go out into the world and teach what He had taught them. He rose after death and again instructed them. Afterwards, he sent the Holy Spirit to light upon them. They were spiritual people, touched by God Himself, speaking for God, by God's authority. They, in turn, transmitted their authority to the next generation of preachers, and it has been thus for the last 2,000 years.
Just as the Jesus and the Holy Spirit transmitted something spiritually tangible and authoritative to the apostles, they likewise transmitted this to those that came after them. This is called "apostolic succession" and is of crucial importance to the faith.
We live in a world where, even those who claim to be followers of Christ and who call for him, "Lord! Lord!," are at the same time speaking against the teachings of the Church that have been carried forward, intact, for 2,000 years. They despise the words of the Apostles, thereby despising Jesus and the One who sent him. They despise His church, many of them from within the church. Like large tapeworms, they consume the church and its resources from the inside while encouraging others to attack it from the outside.
Are we to sit back while the worm destroys its host because, supposedly, we aren't supposed to object because it means we are "judging" people? Ireland recently approved "marriage" between people of the same sex. Jesus said that a man and a woman become one in the sacrament of marriage. A man and a woman. The secular world tells us that we are being bigoted and hateful if we speak in favor of marriage between a man and a woman, which even nature tells us is the only intended purpose of male and female.
If someone claims they are Catholic and they proceed to tell me that marriage between two people of the same sex is perfectly fine, or that it is alright that abortion is legal, or that artificial contraception is the modern way to be and that Jesus would be fine with all of it, am I to sit in tacit agreement so that I can avoid being called "judgmental" and other names?
No. I have a responsibility to carry forward the good news of Christianity. If, however, I am despised because of it, I will kick the dirt from my sandals and move on.
Silver "Rose" Parnell
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