I just saw a post from someone who calls themself a believer stating that it’s God’s judgment that George Michael is dead because he’s gay and that he deserved it. The outrage from those who support the homosexual community was understandable . As a believer – regardless of my personal beliefs on homosexuality – this person’s comments were not just frustrating (because seriously, why would the world ever want what we have if what we have is a whole lot of self-righteous judgment and hate?!), but also I believe their response was unbiblical and in fact sinful.
To Judge or Not To Judge (Matthew 7:1-2)
I could start by saying that we’re to be known by our love (John 13:35) and there’s no way we’re demonstrating love by showing a lack of mercy on one who has died by saying they deserved it, but more than that let’s consider if we as believers are supposed to judge those in the world (which is what this individual was doing here). To answer that question, let’s look at 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 (VOICE) [emphasis mine]
In the letter I wrote to you previously, I made it clear that you are not to band together with those who have embraced immoral lives. Don’t misunderstand; I’m not telling you to hole up and hunker down from the rest of the world. That’s impossible. The world is filled with immoral people consumed by their desire for more; they steal from one another without hesitation and will worship man-made idols with no shame at all. If you attempted to avoid these people, you would have to leave the world itself. What I was saying is that you should not associate with someone who calls himself a brother or sister but lives contrary to all we stand for:committing immoral sexual acts, consumed with desire for more, worshiping tangible lifeless things, using profanity, drinking into oblivion, swindling and cheating others. Do not even sit at the table with a person like this. Why would I ever attempt to judge those outside the church? Aren’t we called to judge those within the church? God judges the outsiders. Your job is this: “Expel the wicked from your own community.”
We’re clearly told that we aren’t to judge the world – that isn’t our job! If we were trying to avoid those who sin who are in the world, we couldn’t have contact with anyone. In part I believe this is about knowing the truth vs not knowing. If you’ve studied the word and sat under its teachings, you should know right from wrong (Acts 15:19-21). Within the church, we’ll know by their fruit (Matthew 7:16), but outside the church it’s God’s job to judge, not ours. Matthew 7:1-2 (ESV) states it clearly as well.
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.
So clearly the judgment in the individual’s post is unbiblical because we see that is not our place. But I believe their infraction goes deeper in that it is sin.
Misrepresenting God (Exodus 20:7)
Let’s pause for a moment and look at Exodus 20:7 (ESV).
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
This tends to be a misunderstood scripture. I’m not saying I advocate using God’s name as an expletive, but I will say that is not what this scripture is referring to or at least not the fullness of it. It is talking about misrepresenting God.
When we say God told us to do something and it is NOT of Him, or if we say something and attribute it to Him when it is NOT from Him, or say we are doing something because He told us to but we don’t follow through; we are misrepresenting Him, His character, and His name. And in doing so there are additional ramifications in that we make those who are lost and hurting think He is someone He is NOT (In this case a mean, vindictive God rather than a loving Father who is deeply grieved over every lost sheep). Our job is to be light and salt – to draw people to God through our lives, actions, and words – when we misrepresent who He is, we are working counter to His purposes.
- Be slow to speak – especially on His behalf. Understand the weight of that responsibility.
- Be salt and light.
- In all things pray.
- Hold other believers accountable (in LOVE), but be quickest to assess your own walk to ensure you are aligning with His word.
- Be careful the way you represent Him to the world, be sure to do it accurately. Read the word. Study it. Understand context.
- Let your first response be love not judgment.