Hate evil, you who love the Lord, Who preserves the souls of His godly ones; He delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
So, if you are like me, you have strong opinions about the new movie coming out this week, 50 Shades of Grey. I am pretty sure that anyone who reads this post has VERY strong opinions about it. But, what I am finding is that even though I have strong opinions, I find myself increasingly afraid to share those opinions in this world. This may shock those of you who are close to me. But, ultimately, I am, inwardly, very much a people pleaser and if saying what I think will make someone not like me….I’d really rather not.
But, I know that God calls me to live in this world as a God pleaser, not a people pleaser. The atmosphere in our world is increasingly hostile against all things Christian, and while some of you may think I am talking about the protagonist of the series that is catching the eyes of every breathing woman in the US and beyond, I am not. I am talking about Christianity. Jesus’s words judge not lest you be judged is being used in every situation imaginable, from sado-masichistic books to drug use, to abortion, to sexual preference and even yesterday, pedophilia. As Christians, we are allowed to be Christians, as long as our ideas do not influence society or cause anyone to feel bad about their decisions.
Everywhere you turn it feels like we are living in opposite world. Imagine this. Someone writes a novel about a man who loves sexual torture and has issues with controlling/stalking his weak-willed girlfriend. I am thinking the feminists of the world would be standing up in droves, protesting with signs. Oh wait. Nope. That’s what they did during the million man Promise Keepers March on Washington D.C. Let’s protest millions of American men who are coming together to pledge fidelity to their wives and repent of not being present as fathers. Let’s ridicule them as they march past for joining together to pray for the women in their lives and to repent from pornography use and adultery. Yeah. That is what the feminists protested. I know because men I love went to that march to take a stand for what is right and they experienced this first hand. What did they do? They said, “God bless you,” and quietly marched on.
Opposite day. Now, a series is out about violent sex. So, of course, NO ONE is allowed to say anything about it one way or another, because that is no one’s business at all. No one is allowed to make a judgement call on whether this is right or wrong, even if the book celebrates bondage and violence against women.
Oh. I know that people say they love the plot line. I forgot how a good plot line in a story trumps everything else right and wrong. Forget about the abuse that is glamorized. Forget that rope sales are going up and up and up. Forget about the fact that we wouldn’t want a single soul to do any of those terrible, unspeakable things to our daughters when they grow up. As long as there is a good plot line, that excuses everything. The plot line is the golden calf. So we throw “our” money at it and encourage more of the same and those orchestrating the madness have more incentive to do worse.
Now for a confession. I am writing about a book that I have not read and a movie that I have not and will not watch. Some will immediately write me off and wonder how I can write about something I haven’t experienced. Well, I don’t need to experience an affair to know that it’s wrong. I don’t need to kill someone to know I shouldn’t kill. I don’t need to read an erotic book about abuse to know if it’s okay or not for me to read it.
In fact, now I know that many are thinking, “Judge not lest you be judged.” How can you judge a book by it’s cover? How can you judge me by what I read? It’s not that I’m judging you. I’m judging what Jesus said in the sermon on the mount. I’m a Christ-follower, so I want to know what he says about things and that’s how I decide things (aka make judgements.) I don’t follow my heart, because my heart is (as the Bible says) desperately evil. That’s why we need The Holy Spirit to give us insight. That’s why we need to turn to scripture, as Christians, instead of following what is popular or what other people say we should think.
Many people have been quoting Jesus’s famous Judge not, lest you be judged this week on social media. Well, let’s look at the whole passage where Jesus taught on judging. We need to read the Bible in context or we will be in very deep trouble.
Matthew 5:7 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
So, we see that Jesus said that by the measure we use, it will be measured to you. If I judge that I shouldn’t read this book on sexual violence, then I read it…THAT is wrongly judging. However, in our world, people WANT me to read it in order to “rightly” judge. However, if I am abstaining for issues of purity, then to read it would make me a wrong judge according to Jesus.
Also, we see by verses 4 and 5 that God WANTS us to help others. If we have something we have overcome, a sin that used to weigh us down, we can effectively help other people who are in that sin. YES, people can help people out of pits of sin. BUT, Jesus wants us to have correct spiritual vision when we are doing so. Our own sin cannot be in the way. Jesus needs to help us live in holiness, so we can help others.
Also, the entire text of The Sermon on the Mount is found in Matthew 5-7: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%205-7&version=NASB
Jesus speaks about lust being the same as adultery, hate being the same as murder, and that saying “You fool” is endangering of the fire of hell. We need to read the entire sermon on the mount to get what judge not means. A few verses past the judge not verses comes this, which is a clear call for good judgement:
5 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will know them by their fruits.
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’
This is at the very end of the Sermon on the Mount. It is the summary of it all.
The Two Foundations
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”
28 When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching;29 for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.
What is Jesus really saying? Our lives matter. What we DO matters. Faith is more than a feeling. Faith changes everything. If we believe in Jesus, we will believe his words and they will change our lives. We will feel conviction when we sin and will feel a conflict when we are around things that are evil. Jesus closes his sermon on the mount with passages that EXPECT us to make judgements, not only about our own lives, but about those who are influencing us.
I have heard it said that 50 Shades is “just what the doctor ordered” for marriages that seem to be failing and boring. But, when I look at what Jesus says, he says that if our lives (and marriages) are not built on a firm foundation of obedience to Christ, our lives will crash.
Crashing is when we need to lower ourselves to subjection and humiliation. Crashing is when we permit evil from the gates of hell into our minds and bedrooms. Crashing is when it’s legal for 13 year olds to buy movie tickets to a movie that will forever twist their perception of right and wrong concerning sex. Crashing is when all our marriage has left is abuse in the place of love.
Take time to read the sermon on the mount that I linked to. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%205-7&version=NASB Perhaps, instead of hiding behind the shades of shame, you need to open your heart to the light of Christ. He can heal your marriage and life. This is a great place to start. He can also forgive you for whatever you have done in the past and carry you through the pain of your present, giving you victory over sins that seem as great chains around your life. Repent of your sin and turn to Jesus. He will heal you.
He was tortured for you on the cross. He took your burden of sin and shame on his own body for you. He is not demanding and controlling. He says, “Come unto me, all you who are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest for your souls.”