Of Judgment and Community Learning

Today’s Reading: Romans 1:18-2:10

I want to talk a little ‘inside baseball’ here.¬† I am a pastor and have been in full-time ministry for 8 years this month.¬† Often times, no matter how much Biblical knowledge you have on any given subject, it can be hard to know what God wants to have happen.¬† During those times, a plurality of Godly leaders is a real advantage, as you can collectively consider a matter from several angles and more correctly interpret the consequences of any given action.

There’s a reason for this.¬† I am going to let you in on a little secret that not everyone knows – The Bible doesn’t explain everything completely.¬† I think it was designed that way for a reason…so that we would come together around God’s Word more, but the bottom line is, there are tons of unanswered questions for any given passage.

In my reading today, Paul warns the Roman believers about judging each other.¬† The paraphrased version is this: Don’t judge each other.¬† If you judge someone for something they do when you do the very same things yourself, you only make it worse on yourself.

Seems pretty straight forward right?¬† Well, it’s giving me fits tonight.¬† I mean, on one hand, I can see the obvious implications of it.¬† But what does this look like in not-so-obvious situations?¬† For example, one of my responsibilities at Lakeside is to assist in finding other leaders in the church.¬† Often times, their personal character and how they live plays a huge role in who is selected.¬† Now, is that not judging someone?¬† Am I not really saying “Well, so-and-so yells at his kids and wife a lot so he doesn’t really possess a Godly character for leadership.”¬† I am basically rendering a verdict on whether or not that person is fit to lead.¬† Is that not judging?¬† After all, rendering a verdict is what judges do best!

Also, I’ve yelled at my wife and kid before.¬† Am I saying that I just don’t do it as much?¬† Is that not saying that my level of righteousness is appropriate but the person’s is not?

Anyway, these are all tough questions from just one passage in the Bible that at first glance seems so harmless.¬† 1 Timothy gives us the qualifications of a leader and one of them is slowness to anger.¬† I have a responsibility it would seem to pick our leaders on that basis but yet, I know it’s wrong to judge as well.

I am thankful that I do not make these decisions alone.  I have been a part of a team of Godly men in our church who are God-fearing and humble and I have more confidence in decisions that we make together.  I believe this is how we should operate as a church, and I am so proud to see it happening at Lakeside.

Many of you know that Mike Roos, one of our Shepherd Leaders, is moving to Washington soon.¬† Also, Gregg Freeman is deploying to Iraq.¬† They will leave big shoes to fill and we must grow again and fill them.¬† Some of you all will have to step up…All of us will, actually.¬† But we will do it well, because we’ll do it together.

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