Censoriousness

February 5, 2011

Pastor Um gave a sermon about judging others last Sunday.  I think the best word he used was “censoriousness,” which means to be overly critical.  That is the nature of human judging; we are critical of others and too lenient on ourselves.  This is also the folly of it in that we are unaware of our own faults in the same area.  This contrasts with the wisdom of God’s judgment; since he has no fault, he can judge us fairly and justly.  It also allows us to have the resources to infinitely gracious with others while remaining vigilantly critical of ourselves.

Putting this into practice in a Christian community is hard.  Because when we see a brother or sister who judges others unfairly, what do we say?  How do we say it?  Might not our words themselves be judgmental?  I think Pastor Um was correct in describing this nature of human judging as a coldness toward someone.  Our emotional response to our brother or sister may reflect the motives behind why we want to tell them to stop judging.  Do we really love that person and want them to grow in Christ?  Or do we merely want to be critical of them?  Our hearts are good indicators of whether we are judging others in love and truth, or being judgmental and censorious.

Speaking the truth in love is difficult.  However, at the apex, they meet together.  If we truly know the truth, we will love.  If we truly love, we will rejoice with the truth.  If we claim to possess knowledge but have this heart of coldness, we are merely reverting to works-based salvation.  If we claim to love our brothers and yet do not confront them, we are merely trying to please people and not God.

I had a contact stuck in my eyes once.  I was studying next to a med student who was studying to be a ophthalmologist.  But there was no way that I was going to let her poke my eyes and try to get it out for me.  Eyes are one of the most sensitive part of your body; we do not readily trust others to get something out of them.  This is why Jesus’ example of the speck and log in the eye is so apt; we must be very sensitive to other’s faults and be very gentle.  We must also be able to see our brother’s true condition or else we may hurt them even with the best of intentions.

But suppose you’re at a point where you know the truth and you love your brother/sister enough to tell them about their speck.  What do you do then?  What must you do since you have this log in your own eye?  How can you remove it?  Who will remove it since you cannot see it yourself?

The answer, of course, is Jesus.  It comes down to Him removing our faults.  We cannot see our own sins, nor can we remove them since we are unaware of their existence.  Even if we were aware of our sins, there is no way to remove them ourselves.  This also means that only Jesus can remove the speck in someone else’s eye.  You can’t remove it for them; they cannot remove it either for they cannot see it.  Jesus is the only one who can see clearly to remove the logs and specks from our eyes.  Jesus is the only one who is infinitely loving and sensitive to our hurting hearts.  So first, turn to Jesus.  Then second, tell your brothers to turn to Jesus as well.

Here is love, vast as the ocean,
Loving kindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom,
Shed for us His precious blood.
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten,
Throughout Heav’n’s eternal days.

On the mount of crucifixion,
Fountains opened deep and wide;
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers,
Poured incessant from above,
And Heav’n’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love.

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