There are many judgmental people in this world. Most of them spend their time pointing out how judgmental other people are.
The popular thing to do on Facebook recently is to repost a picture of Jesus giving the Sermon on the Mount. Captions have been added so that Jesus says, “Okay, here’s an idea. You love them, like I loved you. Feed them, clothe them, and shelter them, and let me deal with judging them.” The people respond, “But what if they’re gay or worship other gods?” To which Jesus replies (in the voice of none other than Samuel Jackson), “DID I STUTTER?”
On the surface, I believe it’s a great message. Many Christians have been less than winsome in their communication of the gospel in word and deed, spreading self-righteous condemnation rather than the good news of God’s grace. I agree that we should love our neighbor as ourselves, regardless of religion, sexuality, or any other factor. After all, Jesus was a friend of sinners and tax collectors (Matthew 9:10-11). He also was opposed to the religiously indignant, often calling them hypocrites, a brood of vipers, and sons of Satan (Matthew 23:16-26). The picture spreading on Facebook was meant to be aimed at the same type of people.
But while we Christians should be kind and loving towards those who believe and behave differently than us, it is completely unloving not to warn them of God’s judgement. The picture rightly assumes that Jesus is the righteous Judge (Acts 10:42; John 5:22; Revelation 6:10). But has our view of Jesus the Judge been so skewed by pop culture, clichés, and sentimentalism that we forget just how bad that news is to our neighbors, friends and acquaintances who don’t know Jesus as savior? The fact is, God the Judge has declared all forms of sexual deviancy, including homosexuality, to be sin and that those who practice it will not be part of God’s eternal kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). The fact is, the wrath and condemnation of God the Judge is upon all who reject Jesus as God and savior (John 3:18; Acts 4:12; Revelation 20:11-15). The most hateful thing we can do to those whom we know do not have Christ is to remain silent about Jesus the Judge and all that it entails.
We are called to love our neighbor—that is, everybody. We are also called to share the gospel—all of it. This includes the part about the wrath of God being upon those who reject Jesus as Lord. The question is, how to balance the two? We don’t want to be jerks about it, but neither do we want our friends to think God is ok with their sin and for them to go to hell because of our silence.
Let us no longer hide behind this charade of nonjudgmentalism and instead love our neighbors by graciously warning them of the coming of Jesus the Judge and his wrath towards sinners, and then telling them about the good news of Jesus the Messiah who takes away wrath and gives Life and peace with God.