Have you ever seen one of those signs – “Repent! The end is near!” Makes you feel good, right? (Can you hear my sarcasm?) In truth, signs like this and people who espouse such views have already passed judgement on you before they even know you. They have decided for you that you are in error.
It’s interesting to me how when many Christians speak of “the end” (or the “day of the Lord” or “the return of Christ”) they often jump quickly to judgementalism. Now, there are places in scripture that speak of a “day of judgement.” But I am talking about judgementalism, not judgement. The two are different.
A judgement is essentially a decision. And we makes judgements everyday, from judging ourselves to be clean and well-groomed enough to go to work to making a judgement about whether we like a particular song or not.
Judgements about ourselves and things for which we are responsible can be quite healthy. (Notice I didn’t say always healthy…in fact, some of our judgements about ourselves can be quite unhealthy!). But when we begin making judgements about others – passing judgement on people, places and things – then we become judgemental. Let me say this another way: making a judgement for yourself that something is good or bad for you is one thing; making a judgement for someone else is another thing.
When we pass judgement on people places and things around us we enter into territory which Jesus strongly discourages (Matthew 7).
Look briefly with me at one of our passages for this week, Thessalonians 5:1-11.
Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.
So, we read about that “day of the Lord” and we begin to think about “the end” or “the return of Christ.” And we read phrases that are typical of verses that speak of “the day of the Lord”:
- Thief in the night
- Labor pains
- Darkness and light
- Drunkenness and soberness
- Awake and asleep
- Us and them
And our minds often put all this together in judgemental ways. That is, we apply these images and metaphors in negative ways towards others. Or, if we do apply them to ourselves, it is usually in relation to others (i.e., “I am not like them” or “I am better than them”), which is also judgemental because it involves passing judgement on others in comparison to yourself.
But pay attention to one very important part of this passage: the summary. The end of this passage summarizes it by saying, “Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.” In other words, Paul saying, “You are loved. You are God’s light. So stay awake on the lookout for every opportunities to be supportive and encouraging towards others.”
The whole point of this passage is about treating others well. It’s not about judgement at all – except to say, “Hey at the end of the day, take a pass on being judgemental and instead be encouraging!”
If You Missed Sunday’s Sermon…
Read or listen to Because – Context Matters – Matthew 25:1-13
God’s Words for This Week
Judges 4:1-7 – Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was a leader of Israel at that time. (CEB, v.4)
Psalm 90:1-12 – God, it seems you’ve been our home forever; long before the mountains were born, long before you brought earth itself to birth, from “once upon a time” to “kingdom come”—you are God. (The Message, v.1-2)
1 Thessalonians 5:1-13 – Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing. (CEB, v.9)
Matthew 25:14-30 – His master replied, ‘Well done! You are a good and faithful servant. You’ve been faithful over a little. I’ll put you in charge of much. Come, celebrate with me.’ (CEB, v.23)
This Week at Hood
Monday, November 13, 6:00 pm – Women’s Circle 2
Wednesday, November 15, 6:00 pm – Choir Practice
Thursday, November 16, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm – Pastor Jason at The Cellar for Drop-In Coffee & Conversation (108 N Wilson St)
Sunday, November 19, 9:15 am – Thanksgiving Breakfast – Invite a Friend!
Sunday, November 19, 11:00 am – Worship
Sunday, November 19, 12:00 noon – Annual Congregation-Wide Meeting
Sunday, November 19, 6:30 pm – Community Thanksgiving Service
February 18, 2019
January 22, 2019
January 21, 2019