ESPN Broadcasters have made the phrase “C’mon, Man!” extraordinarily popular in the sports world. Whenever an athlete does something unbelievably good or unbelievably bad he or she becomes a prime candidate for the “C’mon, Man!” segment. In our society today, I often see numerous scenarios outside of the world of sports that deserve a “C’mon, Man!” To be even more specific, I’ve seen numerous scenarios play out in the Body that has garnered a few “C’mon Mans”. But one thing that always leaves me with my jaw dropped and my head shaking is how quickly and dramatically we become offended when we are corrected. I totally understand that no one likes to be called to the carpet. It’s just not a good feeling to be scolded. It evokes emotions of embarrassment, shame, and obligation. The scolder is not the boss of us and we resent them for being so audacious. But even though God has made us joint heirs with Christ, we are still part of a fallen world where everyone has sinned and falls short of God’s glorious standard,” (Rom. 3:23 NLT). Yes, that ‘everyone’ includes even us, the Christians. Sin literally means to miss the mark. Unfortunately, we do miss the mark, sometimes by a little bit and sometimes by a mile. Yet, that doesn’t stop many of us from emphatically exclaiming, “You can’t judge me!” whenever our failings are called into question.
Matthew 7:1, “Do not judge or you too will be judged,” is a verse that is easily committed to memory, but often misinterpreted and misunderstood. Here’s the thing, in this verse the Greek word for ‘judge’ is ‘krinete’, which translates to ‘criticize ‘or ‘condemn’ in English. When we condemn another person we are declaring that they are somehow separated from the Father and therefore bound to an eternity of hopelessness. Criticism is generally not constructive and is literally defined as to judge unfavorably or harshly. However, I am willing to bet my last good dime that, most of the time, when someone disciplines us, they are only doing it because they genuinely care about us. We have all crossed paths with a Miss Suzy Busybody who has proclaimed herself as the next messiah since she is the only human alive free of sin. And since she is so perfect she has made it her business to be in everyone else’s business. Her comments are often insensitive and self-righteous, and they are meant to hurt, not heal. This is the type of harmful, condemning judgment that Matthew 7:1 is referencing. Luke 6:37 also explains that we are not to condemn others. The flip side of that is, if someone comes to us appropriately, kindly, discreetly, and in a loving manner, they are making an effort to help us better ourselves and our witness. In that case it would be wise to take note. Not only are they helping us, but they are pleasing God because they are being obedient to Him and following one of His more difficult commands, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted,” (Gal. 6:1).
As Christians we have the privilege of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us in all of the time. Yet, again, since we are simply human, there is a battle constantly raging between our human flesh and the perfect Holy Spirit. If we are totally honest with ourselves, we will have to mention that there are times when we drown out the voice (warning) of the Spirit because we have already decided for that particular instance we want to do what we want to do even when we know it’s wrong. Dare I say it…we choose sin. My Pastor makes a valid point when he says no one would sin if it didn’t feel so good to our flesh. The down side is that if left unchecked sin easily snowballs. What feels so good to the flesh will ultimately destroy us completely. Another privilege Christians have is to be surrounded by others who share our faith and love for the Master. People who genuinely care about our relationship with God as well as our overall wellbeing are the ones who challenge us to rise above the temptations and press toward the mighty promises of God. Rather than stand by and watch us forfeit God’s guarantees because of sin, the ones who love us are the ones who check us. Whether we want to admit it or not that is a very good thing. Remember, God calls us to correct each other, “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, encourage – with great patience and careful instruction,” (2Tim. 4:2 NIV). Before you argue that this scripture is just for preachers, please be reminded that as Christians we were all given the ministry of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20). So while we may not be in a pulpit, singing on stage, or serving in 3rd world missions, our lives are most definitely preaching. Now, what we each depict in our life sermon is solely up to us, but keep in mind, the world is paying extremely close attention, ready to ‘krinete’.
Not only is the person who is admonishing us doing the right thing, we will be blessed by regarding their words of love and caution. We see that over and over throughout the Word. Here are just a few examples that we should stow away in our memory banks:
When your BFF mentions that you are showing way too much cleavage to be attending a worship service consider her observation. When your ace tells you to reconsider how you treat the women you date, take a beat to consider his words. The next time you are making a exchange at the Christian bookstore and you are loudly “reading” the cashier up and down because you don’t agree with the store’s return policy, consider what the silent stares of strangers are saying. Before you ardently brush off your mother as old fashioned when she tells you that your choice to move in with your boyfriend, not-soon-to- be-husband is not appropriate for a Proverbs 31 woman, tune your head and your heart into the wisdom God has placed within her. When church members go out of their way to let you know that you need to attend service more often, take it seriously. When the Holy Spirit gives you that flag on the play you just made, don’t ignore Him, but see how you can make it right. It cost Christ too much for us to allow our temporarily hurt feelings and our pompous pride to tarnish His name. If we are going to be CHRISTians then we must not take the responsibility that comes with His name lightly. The sting of correction only last a little while, but the damage done by continual sin will leave permanent scars on you and the Body. So, the next time someone you love puts you on their “C’mon, Man!” list, it’s time to do something different and start down the narrow road to a better you. Humility and repentance has its rewards. But you’ll never know the magnitude of those rewards until you are willing to recognize sin as the curse and see correction as the blessing.