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A biblical response to the Chattanooga Shootings, Part 1

July 30, 2015

Grace to you! Wednesday, July 15, 2015 will be remembered a long time by Chattanooga area residents. A Muslim shot and killed 5 men in a vicious and unprovoked attack. Many are angry, worried about the potential of more attacks, and confused about how something like this could even take place. To understand some, though not all, of the context of the shooting, we have to dig behind the ideas that drive modern America.

John 3:16 used to be the most widely known verse. However, society today loves Matthew 7:1 more, “Judge not, that you not be judged.” This verse (wrongly) is used to banish any thought of judgment, discernment, or ‘discrimination’ of any sort in the public arena. Society insists that all things are to be accepted under the guise of ‘tolerance.’ The word ‘tolerance’ is the buzzword in our nation to silence any dissenting opinions about any issue. The public goes silent for fear of being labeled by others as ‘intolerant, racist, homophobic, mysoginist, etc.’ It’s the grown up version of what children do: name calling. The fallout effect is that no is publicly allowed to ‘judge’ any issue of any kind. However, to judge something means you must be able to discern that nature of a thing, whether it is good or bad. Ironically, society berates anyone who shows any discernment regarding morals, trends in society, or certain proclivities in people as being ‘judgmental’. Yet they are being discerning or judgmental in declaring others as being judgmental! In short, society proclaims, “You can’t judge others because I’ll judge you as being a bad person for doing so!”

To judge something or someone is not a bad thing. It actually means to have discernment. It means that some things are good and bad. Not all things are equal. Rape, murder, stealing, etc are bad and I have the right to judge you as a rapist, murderer, thief, etc if you do these things. That’s not being judgmental, that’s called having discernment. Only the naive looks at someone with bad character traits and buries his head in the sand in the name of tolerance. One who allows such people around their family is not being tolerant, they’re being foolish!

So what does Jesus mean by ‘not judging’? First, don’t look at other people’s faults without looking at yours first. Read Matthew 7:2-5. Second, verse 6 says we have to be discerning about the type of people we deal with so He’s not ruling out all judgment (discernment) of people. And third, He’s warning about placing unrighteous standards on people rather than God’s standard. “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” (John 7:24) Jesus desires us to have righteous discernment and judgment based on His word in relation to a person’s character, rather than merely judging outward appearances.

America has lost all discernment and therefore will power to do anything about rising evil because of its naïve acceptance of the ‘tolerance’ mantra. Rather than make a good and righteous judgment about what needs to be done about evil, we make a foolish judgment and stick our heads in the sand in the name of ‘acceptance of all things’. Then we wonder why evil overtakes us. Love will move us to judge between what is righteous and what is evil.

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