“Judge not, lest ye be Judged…”

Today’s Gospel (Luke 6:36-38) contains one of the most frequently quoted and also most frequently misunderstood Gospel passages of all. Jesus tells us:

Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.

This verse is often cited when Christians criticize some sort of behavior non-Christians approve of. To pick a contemporary issue, Christians point out the homosexual sex is a sin and they are quickly met with cries reminding us that Jesus taught us not to judge.

Not exactly.

Those interpreting this passage that way seem to have a claim to correctness on the face of it, but make a common mistake in the interpretation of Scripture: taking one verse out of context. The proper context is the entire Bible. (An another common example are those who mock Christians asking if we truly believe in the Bible, why don’t we follow the Mosaic law and keep Kosher regulations. Because, in the Acts of the Apostles, we were freed from those restrictions which were meant to prepare for the coming of Christ. Now that he has come and given us a higher Law, we are free from almost all dietary restrictions.)

Getting back to the original topic, the Bible also tells us many time to admonish and correct those who have done wrong. How can we reconcile the verse quoted above with those?

The answer can be found in the final verse of today’s Gospel:

For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.

We are not to judge the state of anyone’s soul. That right (and duty) belongs solely to God. This final verse warns us that if we dare to say that someone is going to Hell for their actions, God will hold us accountable to the same standards we held them to. If we treat them with mercy and try to help them overcome their sins, God will judge us with mercy. As the Paul tells us in Galatians: “a person will reap only what he sows.”

It’s especially important to keep this in mind as frequently, the sins we hate most in others are those we are most liable to commit ourselves. Bishop Fulton Sheen wrote: “The way we judge others is very often the judgment which we pronounce on ourselves.” People prone to sexual sins often most strongly condemn other who condemn others who commit sexual sins. Those who lie frequently are often liars themselves. We’re most aware of certain sins because it’s what we’re used to doing ourselves.

Another thing to keep in mind to help yourself from attempting to judge people’s souls is that while some sins are objectively wrong, God knows what drove a person to do that and that can mitigate a person’s culpability. A sin that might be a grave and mortal sin for one person might not be so terrible when committed by another due to their circumstances. The action is still wrong, and we should gently point that out, but since only God knows the true state of a person’s soul, we cannot dare to make that proclamation ourselves, lest God hold us to a standard we can’t meet even though we hold others to it.

So, as the Christian motto often is put: “love the sinner, hate the sin.” One way we show love for a sinner is to point out that they are, indeed, sinning. Now, if we wish to avoid driving further from Christ, we need to do it in a gentle manner that shows our love for them. But we need to do it. Sin destroys a person, and drives them from God, which is truly a fate worse than death. This is admonishing sinners is one of the spiritual works of mercy. It can save them from an unfortunate location in Eternity.

Above all else, do everything with love.

Quote-a-palooza

“In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed, and next oblige it to control itself.” —James Madison

“When it comes to figuring out what’s gone wrong with our culture, we can usually rely on the American Psychological Association (APA) to catch on last. Thus, it came to pass a few days ago that the APA released its findings that American girls are sexualized. And that’s bad. If you missed the headlines, it may be because of stiff competition from the breaking news that Anna Nicole is still dead and Britney is still disturbed… It can’t be coincidence that girls’ self-objectification—looking for male attention in all the wrong ways—has risen as father presence has declined. At last tally, 30 percent of fathers weren’t sleeping in the same house as their biological children. The APA is calling for more education, more research, forums, girls groups and Web zines to tackle girl sexualization. But my instinctual guess is that getting fathers back into their daughters’ lives and back on the job would do more than all the forums and task forces combined. Ultimately, it’s a daddy thing.” —Kathleen Parker

“What is it about the Christian faith that so unnerves our public officials and private atheists? Not believing is one thing—persecuting those who do is something else… After all, Jesus’ teachings are not only important to those who consider Him the Son of God; they are the basis for countless tenets of polite behavior. Why wouldn’t we want our children learning to turn the other cheek, go the second mile, reach out in mercy to those who are lonely or impoverished or hurting? Would it be so awful if they strove to emulate His integrity, His selflessness, His love? Oh, it’s a scary thought all right. Better to let our kids watch cinematic bloodbaths, and joke about serial killers and satanic rites and bewitching vengeances. These are the ideals that inspire depth of character. These are what we want to parade before our children, and celebrate with publicly-funded school festivities. Interesting, all the effort our government and courts expend, frantically trying to keep our kids away from a God Who is—by definition—everywhere, all the time. Maybe we think that by systematically removing every element of faith from our society, we’re gradually evolving a more broad-minded generation. But, in fact, we’re not. All we’re really doing is… creating a monster.” —Michael Johnson

“There can be no real peace while one American is dying some place in the world… for the rest of us. We are at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it has been said if we lost that war, and in doing so lost this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening… If we lost freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth.” —Ronald Reagan

“In the six years since he left the presidency, [Bill] Clinton has taken in nearly $40 million… It ought to be a concern… when so much money is paid to a former president by foreign governments, foreign entities and corporations with interests in U.S. foreign and domestic policies. While Bill Clinton is no longer in a position to determine such policies, his wife… is and she may soon be in an even more powerful position. Given the Clintons’ history of questionable political, business and personal relationships, can anyone say with certainty that the providers of this largesse are uninterested in influencing a President Hillary Clinton through her husband?” —Cal Thomas

“Perhaps the saddest thing… is that some ‘highly qualified’ potential nominees for the Supreme Court ‘had not wanted their names considered’ because the Senate confirmation process had become ‘too bitter and too vitriolic’ and ‘they just didn’t want any part of it.’ The momentous and lasting repercussions of Supreme Court decisions mean that people of the highest caliber and character are needed on that court. There are too few who are ‘highly qualified’ to lose any of them. The ugly and cheap circus atmosphere of Senate confirmation hearings is just one of the factors which cause top notch people not to be nominated, while others who are little more than warm bodies are seated on the highest court in the land.” —Thomas Sowell

“Oh, perhaps you think it’s wise to conserve and recycle; perhaps you think it’s common sense to explore alternative energies. Perhaps you’ve come to suspect that the climate is changing. That is, after all, what climates do. You might believe all these things—and still be a heretic. The demands of the faith are specific and exacting. You must believe that climate change is largely the fault of man—specifically, lard-bottom Americans driving around for no reason in cars the size of Spanish galleons. You must believe the change will be catastrophic—billions will be killed when the jet stream reverses and knocks everyone over, or drowned when a ceaseless series of Katrinas backs up the Mississippi and sends tsunamis across the heartland. You must believe that this disaster can be prevented with fluorescent light bulbs, whirring cars that run on pixy dust, methane traps strapped to the hindquarters of cows, and magic federal dollars that invent new forms of energy by virtue of being congressionally bequeathed.” —James Lileks

Quote-a-palooza

“In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed, and next oblige it to control itself.” —James Madison

“When it comes to figuring out what’s gone wrong with our culture, we can usually rely on the American Psychological Association (APA) to catch on last. Thus, it came to pass a few days ago that the APA released its findings that American girls are sexualized. And that’s bad. If you missed the headlines, it may be because of stiff competition from the breaking news that Anna Nicole is still dead and Britney is still disturbed… It can’t be coincidence that girls’ self-objectification—looking for male attention in all the wrong ways—has risen as father presence has declined. At last tally, 30 percent of fathers weren’t sleeping in the same house as their biological children. The APA is calling for more education, more research, forums, girls groups and Web zines to tackle girl sexualization. But my instinctual guess is that getting fathers back into their daughters’ lives and back on the job would do more than all the forums and task forces combined. Ultimately, it’s a daddy thing.” —Kathleen Parker

“What is it about the Christian faith that so unnerves our public officials and private atheists? Not believing is one thing—persecuting those who do is something else… After all, Jesus’ teachings are not only important to those who consider Him the Son of God; they are the basis for countless tenets of polite behavior. Why wouldn’t we want our children learning to turn the other cheek, go the second mile, reach out in mercy to those who are lonely or impoverished or hurting? Would it be so awful if they strove to emulate His integrity, His selflessness, His love? Oh, it’s a scary thought all right. Better to let our kids watch cinematic bloodbaths, and joke about serial killers and satanic rites and bewitching vengeances. These are the ideals that inspire depth of character. These are what we want to parade before our children, and celebrate with publicly-funded school festivities. Interesting, all the effort our government and courts expend, frantically trying to keep our kids away from a God Who is—by definition—everywhere, all the time. Maybe we think that by systematically removing every element of faith from our society, we’re gradually evolving a more broad-minded generation. But, in fact, we’re not. All we’re really doing is… creating a monster.” —Michael Johnson

“There can be no real peace while one American is dying some place in the world… for the rest of us. We are at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it has been said if we lost that war, and in doing so lost this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening… If we lost freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth.” —Ronald Reagan

“In the six years since he left the presidency, [Bill] Clinton has taken in nearly $40 million… It ought to be a concern… when so much money is paid to a former president by foreign governments, foreign entities and corporations with interests in U.S. foreign and domestic policies. While Bill Clinton is no longer in a position to determine such policies, his wife… is and she may soon be in an even more powerful position. Given the Clintons’ history of questionable political, business and personal relationships, can anyone say with certainty that the providers of this largesse are uninterested in influencing a President Hillary Clinton through her husband?” —Cal Thomas

“Perhaps the saddest thing… is that some ‘highly qualified’ potential nominees for the Supreme Court ‘had not wanted their names considered’ because the Senate confirmation process had become ‘too bitter and too vitriolic’ and ‘they just didn’t want any part of it.’ The momentous and lasting repercussions of Supreme Court decisions mean that people of the highest caliber and character are needed on that court. There are too few who are ‘highly qualified’ to lose any of them. The ugly and cheap circus atmosphere of Senate confirmation hearings is just one of the factors which cause top notch people not to be nominated, while others who are little more than warm bodies are seated on the highest court in the land.” —Thomas Sowell

“Oh, perhaps you think it’s wise to conserve and recycle; perhaps you think it’s common sense to explore alternative energies. Perhaps you’ve come to suspect that the climate is changing. That is, after all, what climates do. You might believe all these things—and still be a heretic. The demands of the faith are specific and exacting. You must believe that climate change is largely the fault of man—specifically, lard-bottom Americans driving around for no reason in cars the size of Spanish galleons. You must believe the change will be catastrophic—billions will be killed when the jet stream reverses and knocks everyone over, or drowned when a ceaseless series of Katrinas backs up the Mississippi and sends tsunamis across the heartland. You must believe that this disaster can be prevented with fluorescent light bulbs, whirring cars that run on pixy dust, methane traps strapped to the hindquarters of cows, and magic federal dollars that invent new forms of energy by virtue of being congressionally bequeathed.” —James Lileks

An Open Letter to CPAC Sponsors and Organizers Regarding Ann Coulter

Conservatism treats humans as they are, as moral creatures possessing rational minds and capable of discerning right from wrong. There comes a time when we must speak out in the defense of the conservative movement, and make a stand for political civility. This is one of those times.

Ann Coulter used to serve the movement well. She was telegenic, intelligent, and witty. She was also fearless: saying provocative things to inspire deeper thought and cutting through the haze of competing information has its uses. But Coulter’s fearlessness has become an addiction to shock value. She draws attention to herself, rather than placing the spotlight on conservative ideas.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2006, Coulter referred to Iranians as “ragheads.” She is one of the most prominent women in the conservative movement; for her to employ such reckless language reinforces the stereotype that conservatives are racists.

At CPAC 2007 Coulter decided to turn up the volume by referring to John Edwards, a former U.S. Senator and current Presidential candidate, as a “faggot.” Such offensive language–and the cavalier attitude that lies behind it–is intolerable to us. It may be tolerated on liberal websites but not at the nation’s premier conservative gathering.

The legendary conservative thinker Richard Weaver wrote a book entitled Ideas Have Consequences. Rush Limbaugh has said again and again that “words mean things.” Both phrases apply to Coulter’s awful remarks.

Coulter’s vicious word choice tells the world she care little about the feelings of a large group that often feels marginalized and despised. Her word choice forces conservatives to waste time defending themselves against charges of homophobia rather than advancing conservative ideas.

Within a day of Coulter’s remark John Edwards sent out a fundraising email that used Coulter’s words to raise money for his faltering campaign. She is helping those she claims to oppose. How does that advance any of the causes we hold dear?

Denouncing Coulter is not enough. After her “raghead” remark in 2006 she took some heat. Yet she did not grow and learn. We should have been more forceful. This year she used a gay slur. What is next? If Senator Barack Obama is the de facto Democratic Presidential nominee next year will Coulter feel free to use a racial slur? How does that help conservatism?

One of the points of CPAC is the opportunity it gives college students to meet other young conservatives and learn from our leaders. Unlike on their campuses—where they often feel alone—at CPAC they know they are part of a vibrant political movement. What example is set when one highlight of the conference is finding out what shocking phrase will emerge from Ann Coulter’s mouth? How can we teach young conservatives to fight for their principles with civility and respect when Ann Coulter is allowed to address the conference? Coulter’s invective is a sign of weak thinking and unprincipled politicking.

CPAC sponsors, the Age of Ann has passed. We, the undersigned, request that CPAC speaking invitations no longer be extended to Ann Coulter. Her words and attitude simply do too much damage.

Source

I’m glad to sign this. I’ve never been a fan of Coulter’s. (This letter’s actually more supportive of her past behavior than I would be.) Her comments this weekend were uncalled for and wrong. If this were a one-time thing, it might be forgivable, but this is far from the first time she’s crossed the line.