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From the Editor
By: David Deschesne
Editor/Publisher, Fort Fairfield Journal
The following discourse was going to be published in Town Talk on page seven, but I realized I needed much more space to elaborate so I’ve decided to make it the topic of this edition’s editorial.
As I understand it, an elderly lady sitting in her car in a parking lot in Houlton saw a young man with tattoos and summoned him over to her car to question him. The conversation went something like this;
Lady:“You’re not a Christian, are you.”
Man: “Excuse me.”
Lady: “You’re defiling the Lord’s property, your not a Christian.”
Man: (noticing ear rings in the lady’s ears) “Do you have ear rings in your ears?”
Lady: “I don’t understand what you mean.”
Man: “Have a nice day.”
This lady, believing she is a fine, upstanding Christian has violated one of the central doctrines of our New Testament, given to us by our Lord, no less: “....judge not, that ye be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1, quoting our Lord)
First, what this often quoted and more often misunderstood passage does not mean. It does not mean that we are not supposed to weigh facts and determine if a person is innocent or guilty of a crime; it does not mean we are not supposed to judge if what a person is doing is moral or ethical and it does not mean we are not supposed to judge if a person is violating any established social folkways or mores.
What our Lord Yeshua (Jesus) means when he said, “judge not, that ye be not judged,” was to not presume to put yourself in the position of God, believing you know a person’s heart, what their relationship is with the Lord or where they are in their Faith walk.
This elderly lady did not know this young man. They had never met each other before in their lives. She simply presumed that since he had tattoos he was not a Christian. Sitting in her car with her long hair in a bun and wearing a long dress, she must have presumed that she looked “holier” than he did—and therefore more acceptable to our Lord. She had no idea whether this man had received tattoos then later accepted the Lord as his Savior, and had no idea if he hadn’t whether he was considering it or not. Instead, she sat there and presumed to have the mind of God, casting judgment on this man’s heart as if she had the ability to know it as well as, or better than, the Lord God.
Unfortunately, it is these types of judgmental Christians who turn off many who would otherwise accept our Lord as their Savior.
I don’t necessarily fault this lady for failing to understand the Bible she believes she is following. I fault the fundamentalist pastors out there standing in the pulpits preaching a skewed message of the Bible where you have to look like they do and act like they do in order to be considered more “Holy” or more righteous in the eyes of God.
My King James Bible says of us who try to do works to be righteous in the eyes of God that, “we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags...” (Isaiah 64:6)
Tattoos, earrings, colored hair, long dresses on ladies and pants and short hair on men have absolutely nothing to do with whether a person is able to achieve the salvation offered in the New Testament or not.
Under the New Testament—or New Covenant—the way to be justified (the actual Greek word would more closely be translated “righteousified”) is by Faith. That Faith is a trusting, obedient relationship with our Lord and Savior that leads us back to a reconnection with our Heavenly Father—a connection that was severed in the Garden of Eden when mankind believed it could have the mind of gods. The Apostle Paul said as much when he wrote his letter to the Romans and Galatians saying, “the just (righteous) shall live by Faith” (Ro 1:17; Ga 3:11)
That’s really the liberating message of the Bible; all you need to do is have Faith in our Heavenly Father—trust and obey as He leads you to your final destination; be the person He wants you to be, no matter what your skin, hair or clothes may happen to look like.
I can just imagine how this judgmental Christian lady would have reacted to Isaiah, acting under God’s command, preaching God’s word while walking buck naked through the streets for three years; and God considered him his servant (Isaiah 20:2-3)
So, the next time you judgmental Christians feel the urge to judge whether or not someone else is a Christian, you should first look at yourself and determine if you are in fact God. If you are not, then you have no right to judge that person’s heart as if you were. If you do, then as our Lord says, you will be judged by Him using the same standards; the standards of dirty works instead of the cleanliness of Faith. With the former, you will never attain salvation, with the latter you will.More Editorials by David Deschesne