Why I Go To Starbucks

Starbucks-Logo-Wallpaper-starbucks-3208054-1440-900

Well, the Christian internet world is all atwitter with Starbuck’s most recent public proclamation of their recent market shares and their opinion on them. Here are some quotes:

“We believe it’s defensible – but we’re not reaching that decision to in any way offend you or anyone else. And I would say candidly, since we made that decision there has not been any dilution whatsoever in our business…. In the first full quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earnings, shall we say politely, were a bit disappointing…. If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38% you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares in Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much.” ~Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz~

Now, the last part of the response was directed towards boycotters who profess Christianity and refuse to buy anything at Starbucks. If you don’t know, the CEO of Starbucks actively supports Gay Marriage and the homosexual movement. The majority of the Christian Communities response has been to scream “BOYCOTT” and do no business with them.

I believe this reaction, is not only wrong, but extremely unChristlike as well. Christians who boycott are lowering themselves to the worldly standards of money and agendas. With that being said, here are some reasons I believe boycotting as a Christian is flawed.

Boycotting is based on Ignorance, rather than being Informed.

Most, if not all people I know who boycott, fail to realize the scope of businesses they use in day to day actions. Business is everywhere in life. For instance. Let’s look at the past “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day”. Why did most people go there? Supposedly for the fact Truet Cathy supports the God instituted  definition of marriage, that being one man and one woman. I agree with that definition and applaud him for standing up for that.

However, what people fail to realize, is when they went to Chick-fil-A, some drove there in a FordChrysler,  GM, or Toyota. Some bought a Coca-Cola Product, as those drinks are the only ones Chick-Fil-A sells. Some paid with VISA, MasterCard, or American Express. Some used MicrosoftAndroid, or Apple cell phones to take pictures. Then, some went home and got on Google, then posted on Facebook, Twitter, and G+ about their experience.

What do all these companies have in common? They are all publicly in support of Gay Marriage. Additionally, I did some research  expanding outside of Gay marriage, including companies values on Abortion. I found that  all stores, Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Lowes, Apple, Microsoft, tons of shopping centers, car companies… every well known grocery store… All have financially supported values we as christians disagree with on a biblical level.

To boycott one store based on personal “Conviction” and ignore the others because it would be inconvenient for you is the height of hypocrisy and double standards. Skipping out on all Starbucks coffee, no biggie. But skipping out on buying a car, or  not going to a grocery store… a bit more of a biggie, isn’t it?

Christianity is not an Agenda.

A business can’t have morals. Why? Because a business isn’t a living thing. It is a government instated legal entity with a name. Christ doesn’t call us to withdraw financial support of something to prove a point. He calls us to engage the culture. I go to Starbucks, even though the owners actively support things I disagree with. Why? Because the people that work at Starbucks are a mission field. As are people at any other store we go to. 

Are there some people there that I disagree with in their lifestyle? You bet, and it is my opinion, based on scripture, we are to reach out and witness to everyone in every company, regardless of what the “owners” believe.  I would think it much more productive instead of boycotting , to go to those places, and be a light of christ to the people working in that company. They are the ones who have an eternal soul. Corporations don’t. I don’t see one example where Christ withdrew when he saw something that was wrong. He engaged what? The people.

Boycotting is a worldly idea people use to further an agenda. It isn’t based upon changing the heart or showing love, it is based upon hurting the other until they change their mind. That is not biblical nor Christlike. It is time we stop worrying about the worldly financial “Success” of a business, and start worrying about the eternal heart of the employees we come in contact with every day we go shopping.

So I’ll see you at Starbucks, Chick-Fil-a, or any other store for that matter. It is time we start engaging the people, and stop worrying about for what business they work.

Advertisements

Zombie Apocalypse: When the Undead Walk

Biohazard-Zombie-PNG

This is the first post in response to The American Apocalypse Obsession. Zombies are incredibly saturated in our culture today. We see them on TV shows, in movies, in video games, in books, and even in our churches. The term “Christian Zombie” is used in jest and supposed to be a compliment.

But most of all, people know about Zombies because of the coming Apocalypse. Have you heard? Yes indeed. Due to radiation, some unknown disease, or an extraterrestrial infection the world will someday soon be brought to an end by Zombies ravaging the earth. Returning it to a primal and deadly age supposedly long ago.

Thats how the story goes anyway. Frankly, I am not convinced in any way such an age will ever happen, or that is it even acceptable for christian to use this term of “Zombie” in their description of who they are.

What is a Zombie?

Before we actually get to the problems with this Zombie obsessed mentality. We first need to figure out and define what exactly a Zombie is, and where the idea came from. There are two types of zombies, both of which have influenced our culture’s present day interpretation. The first originated in Africa, when a person would tie their soul to a snake, which is created by a Witchdoctor, or sorcerer. This is then taken care of and supposed to bring the person more luck the better they treat this astral extension. Supposedly, if the extension is killed, the person attached to it dies as well. This gives the sorcerer complete control over the individual by means of holding life or death in his hands. I personally, while in Africa, have heard a witness account of the zombie being killed, and immediately after, the man whom he knew died as well. Sorcery is a grave and serious matter. I don’t understand it, but it is definitely something not to be trifled with.

The second is more well known, and originated in Haiti. There were reports of people dying, being buried, then rising out of their graves insane and deranged. This originally was credited through witchcraft and sorcerers  Upon further investigation it was found the combination of two powders infused into the bloodstream could give the appearance, both physical and medical, of death. Then after a time, the person would awake, and the second powder would provide hallucinations, the inability to feel pain, and a loss of sanity. Eventually, the witchdoctor would kill them (for real this time) or provide a cure and further his reputation  The Haitians believed if you arose a zombie, it was the worse punishment their god could give, as your soul would never find peace or death.

What Difference Does This Make?

Hopefully you are beginning to see the flaws in associating or joking about zombies in christianity. They originate from occult beliefs and practices which are used to circumvent “Fate” or to control a person to commit acts they would never do on their own. In addition, the idea itself is unbiblical and condemned. I am not going to so much delve into the Old Testament commandments against sorcery, thought they are valid. Moreso, let’s look at the appalling rejection of Christ’s sacrifice with this view.

For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another. He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. ~Hebrews 9: 24-28~ NKJV (emphasis added)

Clearly, the idea of Zombies destroys the very core of God’s perfect plan of salvation, redemption, and the glourious second coming all in one swoop. The idea, one can cheat eternal death by resurrecting as a soulless being, and then millions of these plunging the world into a state of primal chaos is against everything taught in scripture. It is a hopeless and desperate substitute of a man made plan, in an effort to replace a perfect one. Unsurprisingly, it fails miserably.

Responding with Grace.

The first part of appropriately responding to one who believes in such an impending apocalypse is they are operating from a hopeless viewpoint. All end of the world scenarios end in failure and death, save for one. The person’s hope lies in how they will act and die in those end times, not how they will be redeemed. They have a desire of the glorious last stand, like the Alamo. These observations are from personal conversations with people who believe this, not simply conjecture. Their hope lies in what they will die doing, and go down in gory glory.

We can’t change a person’s heart of self glorification, only the spirit can do that. What we can do though, is be like paul, and reason with them based on their understanding. The passage which comes to mind is as follows:

Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you….

~Acts 17:22-23~

Paul then goes on to explain the gospel in a captivating fashion. We can do the same here. There is common ground here which is the world will indeed someday end. After you hear their view, be prepared to share how the glorious second coming of Christ will be a day of rejoicing for those that believe in Him. Don’t get bogged down in the symbolic chapters in Revelation and judgments. But focus on the “why”. Why is Christ returning? Why will the world end? These are the eternal questions which matter, and what so many people, including Christians, miss.

And for those of you who claim to be Zombie Christians (dead to self alive in Christ) I’d say, quite bluntly, shame on you, for perverting the name of a Christian (which means Christ follower) and endorsing a view which is opposed to anything in relation to His Sacrifice or how we are to live.

That’s the wrap on zombies. Next on the list, Aliens.

Movie Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

curious-case-of-benjamin-button

~This week’s review comes from Josiah Gulick, a sophomore at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He is studying for a Bachelors of Science in Arabic and Spanish with a goal of being able to minister to and evangelize those people in their own language. He is a close brother in Christ and a true man of God. It is my honor to post his review here for your reading pleasure.~

Last night I watched a movie called “The Strange Case of Benjamen Button.” It was the saddest movie I’ve ever seen, and it caused a strange emotional reaction in me.

Let me explain.

The plot is about a man, Benjamin  who lives his life backwards. He was born on the last day of WWI with the body of an old man about to die but the mind of a newborn. And he ages backwards, so he’s physically a newborn when he dies. The story is told through the eyes of a modern woman who is reading his diary to her dying mother, Daisy, who happened to be a woman who Benjamin interacted with a lot. The movie traces Benjamin’s odd life, and shows all of his experiences. He falls in and out of love, sails around the world, and more.

A huge theme in the movie is death. More people die and get hurt in a non-action movie than I’ve seen. The movie accurately portrays pain and suffering. However, it offers no solution for it. The lack of a solution comes from the film’s humanist view. That is, You are born, you live and have as many experiences as you can without worrying about morality, then you die. And that’s it. No redemption, no hope, no grace.

There are some more positive actions shown. One old man Benjamen has many interactions which say to him, “Maybe it’s just God reminding me how lucky I am to be alive.” The movie attempts to show the importance of a father in one’s life, but it doesn’t draw any conclusions about this or even show without a father, one will have a life which is flawed.

Benjamen looks for meaning for his life everywhere: travel, women, drink, friendships, even service. But he doesn’t find it. He ends up dying in pain and suffering, without memory of his life. He lived his life for the experience of it, but at his death he couldn’t remember any of it. In fact, the movie ends with the poignant scene of an old clock in a warehouse, ticking. Flood waters from Hurricane Katrina (the movie is mainly set in New Orleans) wash into the warehouse and the screen cuts to black. We are left with the message that you live, you die, and that’s it. Period.

I was left with a sharp empty feeling from watching the movie….so sharp I almost felt the hopelessness of an unbeliever. It made me appreciate how hopeless natural man’s state really is. Unless you are very mature and feel like you need to see the world through an unbeliever’s eyes and experience their hopelessness, I don’t recommend it for anyone. Maybe you can watch it with an unbeliever to spark conversation about the meaning of life. Because it’s an empty, sad movie without Christ.

I am extremely glad and thankful for Christ’s redemption and the hope we have in Him. More so now than ever before.

~Congrats Josiah in winning the movie review contest with this submission. Your copy of the prize will be shipping this week.~

Once, There Was a Tree…

The-Giving-Tree-boy-happyThus begins the words of a book I recently just picked up after five or so years. It is called “The Giving Tree”. We have young people in the house, and so I read this this book. I knew it was good from memory, but had forgotten how good it really was.

The story begins with a tree and a boy who do everything together. The trees loves the boy, but the boy grows up. He occasionally comes back, and asks for something, and every-time, the trees gives what she has to help him. The book is a perfect picture of true and selfless living and love. I have to say, it got me. This isn’t a kids book, the is an adult book in a kids cover. Every person should read this, because if they do, they will learn what true love is. Life isn’t about what you get, but what you give. The tree had this figured out from the start, because at the end, when she had nothing left, we read:

“And the tree was happy.”

What Happened to the Gentleman?

This post isn’t going to be about feminism, patriarchy, manliness, etc… I am asking myself a simple question, and might rant a bit too… but this has been on my mind a bit. So here we go.

What happened to the gentleman?

Everywhere I go today, I don’t see the traits of a gentleman. Now, I’m not talking about man dominating over woman or anything like that. I’m simply talking about simple courtesies and respects which are not being shown to someone else. A guy being a gentleman isn’t just putting women first, it is putting everyone first.

I am seeing more and more in work and being out and about… This consideration just isn’t around anymore in the real world . People cutting in lines and cutting cars off. Joking coarsely about the other sex, even when the opposite gender  is around. I even see things like a guy carrying a soda, while the woman is lugging the heavy bags. I see the spirit of service and respect is gone from our men of society, and those two traites are what makes a man a gentleman.

I’m not going to go into the whole cause, origin, why… There are plenty of other more qualified and reputable places to read about that. I see there is a problem, so will simply ask this to the guys… Are you being a gentleman? Are you asking yourself constantly, “How can I serve that person, whether it be a guy or a girl, and show them respect?”

That’s where being a gentleman starts. It is simple, but difficult. I would say it is worth it though, considering how the example the greatest Gentleman of all time set for us, and how He led in that manner.

Cherry Pie Day in the Capitol

DSC_0717
Illinois, The Land of Lincoln

Love em or hate em. Our representatives in the government do have difficult jobs. They also make laws as they see is beneficial to the community they represent. Some are corrupt, yes, but that is the fallen state of the world. We are called to pray for our senators, representatives, and all other people in the government, as it is indeed ordained by God. We read this in 2 Timothy 2. It is also known we are to submit to the authority of the government, as God has established it for His purpose. That can be found in Romans 13.

Yesterday day brought yet another tradition which we have here in Illinois. We call it Legislative Day, or more well know to the legislators… “Cherry Pie Day”. Why do they call it that? Well, because each year, the homeschoolers of Illinois bring hundreds of Cherry Pies to give to our representatives and senators. We do this not to ask anything of them nor to get an “in” where we can criticize their actions in office. Rather, this is done simply as a gesture of thanks for the service they give to our state and to let them know we are praying for them while they are in office.

DSC_0705
A local mom wraps and packages a pie.

So for us, our day started at 5am, as we were blessed to be able to help in setup and preparation of the pies. We grabbed Starbucks. (Oh, their new Hazelnut macchiato is amazing. Try it the next time you go.) and started packaging pies for the many people who would be coming later in the day to deliver them to each legislator in the capitol.

We collected over 200 pies this year, which is the most ever in the history in this event. Incredibly, with just eight or so helpers at the pie table, we got them all ready to go when the time came. We went through a lot of ceram wrap, and a lot of ziplocks.

DSC_0711
Senator Oberweis cracks a cherry pie joke in talking with IFI’s David Smith.

In addition to delivering pies to the senators, David Smith of the IFI made a speech regarding the state of the current political workings in the Illinois congress. Bills were brought up, and several representatives spoke on the topics of family values and their legislative responsibility.

DSC_0713
Some of the group which attended to distribute Pies in the Capitol.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

DSC_0737
A Homeschool dad looks up his legislator’s office number.

After the talks were finished, it was time to deliver the pies. Each homeschooler who attended was given a senator which they were to deliver a pie.

There was even a table and refrence  database available should anyone desire to look up their own representatives.

DSC_0745
Just one of the many loaded tables of fruity pastry deliciousness.

The day was long, the deliveries excellent, and the fellowship most enjoyable. While your state may not have a cherry pie day, I’d encourage you to take a minute and just call your representative and voice thanks and support. That one call or email will, I guarantee, leave a positive lasting effect on the man or woman who holds the office as legislator.

DSC_0725
The power of thanks, through a single pie, is an incredible thing to behold.

Shout out to a friend who took about half of these pictures while I was working. Thanks much for the help!

Flashback: Don’t you have Social Problems?

Mallard-Fillmore-homeschool-comic-Social
©”Mallard Filmore” All rights reserved.

I thought I would post a funnier flashback from my Highschool days. Wow, that seems so long ago. Anyways, let’s talk some baseball.

Yep, that’s right, back in Highschool I played baseball in a competitive city league. I was horrible at offense… having a .181 batting average. (that is 18% for you non sports people) but I was a decent pitcher, and could play infield pretty well. I was homeschooled through highschool, so you know what that means… Stereotypes.

So, about three weeks into the season, the topic of schools came up. Which was weird to me, because it usually happens earlier. All the guys are going around telling what school they are in, making jokes and whatnot, when the Q comes to me. “Hey Austin, what school do you go to?” To which I replied “I don’t have to go to school, I am homeschooled.” Then the awkward silence ensued. If you have been homeschooled, you know what I am talking about. If you haven’t, well, let’s just say it is like the awkward guy who says he doesn’t follow sports, when all the other guys are talking about sports.

Then one dude, the catcher and jokester of the group asked

“Don’t you guys have social problems?” 

That’s what they tell me.” I replied, and the awkwardness was broken. It was so surprising, we had been playing together for three weeks and they hadn’t even noticed I was of homeschool education. Yet, when it was brought to their attention, immediately the stereotype took over for about 5 min.

Now, I am just as guilty as doing this with several types of people as well. So I can relate to people who stereotype based on education, a profession of faith, etc. Stereotypes exist for a reason, but they never should but the measure by which we determine who someone is. That measure should be made in spending time with them and truly determining who they are

I Heard You Got Fired

I love sharing life stories with people, so here is one I heard at a conference a long time ago. I’d love to credit the speaker, but I don’t remember who told it. It gives a great example of balancing separate roles when in a position where there is a business/administrative role which overlaps into a personal life role (like a father, personal coach, etc)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Once upon a time there was a young man who worked for his father’s shop. Thing was, he had a horrible attitude in work. He was lazy, came in late, didn’t follow the company policies, and more. He was at odds with all the other employees, and caused great strife in the workplace. In any other store, he would have been fired months ago. His dad was at a loss as to what he should do, as he did not want to damage his personal relationship with his son, putting the business above the person.

Then one day he got a rather clever idea. The next three weeks, each day he came into work wearing a bright neon orange cap. It was unmistakable and quite memorable. When he was working and acting as owner, he wore the cap. When he was at home or not working, it hung on a peg or sat on a table. Soon, the employees recognized it was a marker as to the status of this owner. On his head meant he was acting as owner, off his head he was not.

After everyone, including the son, came to realized this, the dad took the soon out to lunch. He said “Boy, you’ve been lazy, late for the past three months, broken many rules regarding safety and company policy, and are a negative influence on the other employees. I have no other choice. You are fired.” The young man sat there for a moment, stunned his father had actually fired him. There was a few seconds of silence, and the dad removed his hat and set it on the table.Then he said “Well son, I heard you got fired. Care to explain why?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This story illustrates in a great way how we can be mentors to people, while separating the difficulty of leading a class, coaching a team, or owning a business. Hopefully you can tuck it in your back pocket of people skills, I’ve done so in mine, and it has come in handy more than once. :)

Movie Review: Treasure Planet

Treasure Planet Jim Hawkins wallpaper

Jim Hawkins is a young man who is struggling. Struggling against the law, struggling against his mother, and struggling  with past hurts. One day however, he is arrested, and confined to his home, which also happens to be a bed and breakfast for all sorts of intergalactic species. On a rainy night, a spaceship with pirate in the possession of a mysterious orb. “Beware of the cyborg” are his last words, before turning the orb over to Jim. Immediately after, a band of pirates storm in and destroy the inn, looking for the orb. Jim and his family escapes, and discovers the orb is a map.

But not just a map. It is the map. The map which leads to Treasure Planet. The planet of untold riches and wealth, the spoils of a long dead pirate legend. Jim becomes resolute in finding this planet, so he is able to rebuild his mom’s inn. Garnering the support of a professor and life long friend, Jim hires a crew and sets out to find this planet of immense riches.

But unknown to Jim, pirates never give up, and are more far more crafty than even he expects… And space, with supernovas, creatures, and planets, far more dangerous than any book made them out to be.

Things I Liked

“Jim, I don’t want to lose you.”
“Mom, you won’t. I’ll make you proud.”

Rarely do we see a young hero’s motives so worthy. At the core of Jim Hawkins, we see a young man who loves his mother, yet also is struggling to learn how to submit to authority. His dad, who left years ago, left a gap in him he is striving to fill with spur of the moment actions, rebellion, and making something of himself. Through this tale, he learns what it is to be a man through the ship’s cook, the professor, and the captain of the ship. He fights it at times, but ultimately learns not only how to act in a mature manner, but also learns it isn’t all about him.

The cook of the ship winds up fulfilling the father role Jim never had. This is an amazing thing to see, how one man, taking care of and mentoring a young guy can change that young man’s life. This movie shows how important the father figure is, especially in boyhood. They do it here in an extremely believable and touching way. Not just the fact that guys do stuff together, but when necessary  they can be quite compassionate, yet strong at the same time. Well done this time Disney, Well done.

Other valuable lessons are learned through the film such as forgiveness of mistakes, humility in knowledge, and sacrifice for others. At one point, a man give up his lifelong dream to save another man’s life. Another time we see a pirate try to take advantage of merciful act, and loses his life in doing so. The strength of Character and good over evil is strong in this movie.

Lastly, this film is wonderfully made. 3D animation is blended with 2D characters. This results in stunning images of nebulae, planets, ships, stations and more. The detail put into space is astounding, and is candy to the eyes for sure. The script is also deep and witty. I had to look up a few words after this movie, because I didn’t know what they meant.

Things I Didn’t Like

The largest qualm I have with this picture is the amount of mild innuendo between the captain and the professor. While they do end up marrying, comments like “Why thanks I am a master anatomically- I mean astronomically” could have been left out with no loss to the story line. There is also some crude humor, where one alien speaks in “flatulencetia” which comprises of farts, burps, etc. References to the rear end are made several times as well.

There is also a fair amount of cartoon violence in this movie. We see the old pirate die in giving the chest to Jim. One crew member looses his life after falling off the ship into the abyss. There is quite a lot of gunfire, and while we don’t see anyone die, a few people are seriously injured. It can be an intense movie at times, which is something to take note of when considering younger viewers.

Jim winds up letting the villain go after all is said and done. This one scene is pretty… controversial, even for me, because of the bond built up between the two. Jim chooses to break the law and let him go, instead of detaining him for the trial he deserved. The pirate though, had a change of heart, and would not have fought should Jim decided to keep him on the ship. My justice side says he was wrong, but my mercy side says the man did have a change of heart… This is something you should definitely be aware of and discuss with your kids if they watch it. Honestly, I am still trying to figure that one out.

Closing Thoughts

Treasure Planet takes a great classic tale, and turns it into something even more memorable. It is a story which demonstrates the importance of fatherhood, respect for those in authority above you, to persevere, and to forgive and give second chances.

Unfortunately however, the movie is also laden with light toilette humour and subtle innuendo between the Ship’s captain and Jim’s accompanying professor. This makes an otherwise flawless movie into points you should be warned of. It is my opinion however, the strong and positive themes easily overshadow the unacceptable, yet minimal, amount of inappropriate content.

Disney puts in positive light the importance of the role of a father, selflessness, and forgiveness. They develop a villain to be more complex and developed than most Marvel movies which have been released in the past years, We watch with fascination this villain’s transformation. Most importantly however, they show a young rebellious boy, to which all young guys can relate at some point, who learned life isn’t all about doing what you want, but it is about doing what you can for others. That’s what makes this movie one of the most shipshape I’ve seen in a long while.

To Judge or Not to Judge, That is the Question

Judge Scale

We’ve all heard it before. We’ve all had the experience. That experience when we comment or bring to light a sinful action of a believer, or even a group of people making sinful choices. Then we hear someone say

“Well, you just can’t judge them. Christ tells us not to.”

With many passages of scripture, there are “put ons” and “put offs”. Paul is excellent at demonstrating this principle of teaching. We often focus on one, but not the other. Unfortunately, this is like eating spagettin with the sauce on one plate, and the noodles on the other. You can eat each separately, but the two foods are meant to be eaten together. Until that happens, your meal will be lacking in fully understanding of what spagetti actually tastes like. Same principle here.

Scripture talks a lot about judging. Let’s look at a few verses shall we?

Jesus answered and said to them, “I did one work, and you all marvel. 22 Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” ~John 7:21-24 (NKJV)~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. ~2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 (NKJV)~

Based on the context of those verses, it is quite clear we are indeed supposed to judge others. We should judge according to the righteous standards of the bible. If we see fruit of a Christian, the verse in second Thessalonias say we are to admonish him. Admonishment, or verbal correction, cannot happen until we have made the judgement of the person is doing wrong. This practice, when done in Christian love and concern, actually brings about grace and repentance in the body of Christ. Judging can be beneficial when done in the right way.

This leads into the whole concept of correcting a brother in christ. I have heard numerous times, “I know what ______ is doing is wrong, but we are called not to judge.” Do you now see the fallacy and how Satan has crept into the church to twist the very idea of biblical discipline? I find it illogical when someone says “you are being judgemental to that person“, as that statement is judgmental as well.

You see, it is virtually impossible NOT to judge someone. Rather, we do. Each and everyday. How we judge them is they key.

Now, I know what you are thinking. “What about Mathew 7?” Am I right? Let’s look at that set of verses.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Mathew 7: 1-5 (NKJV)

Most people just use one verse here, and that is where problems arise. Rarely are verses meant to be read alone. Rather, passages must be read in full to understand the context. So, looking at this passage in context, what does Jesus mean when He says “judge not lest you be judged”.  I fully believe he cannot mean “don’t judge” as he would be contradicting himself in John. Which would make him imperfect.

Instead, Christ is saying we should be extremely careful when we judge, because we ourselves will be judged with the same standard. Additionally, We need to judge ourselves before we judge others, to avoid being a hypocrite. No one is ever going to have everything perfectly together, but I am pretty sure the precedent is clear here, you need to be striving and walking in a manner which is honoring to Christ before judging a brother or sister in christ.

So, based on my interpretation of scripture, we are indeed called to judge the fruit of another’s actions. We do need to be cautions, and perhaps even hesitant in doing so, so we might first examine ourselves regarding that action, and be sure we are holding ourselves up to an equal standard.

Those are my thoughts, what are yours?