The Judgmental Nature of Christians

This is the third blog on examples of why non Christians have little interest in investigating Christianity.  One reason is because Christians are seen as being very judgmental of others who fail to live up to their standards.  Dan Merchant in his book Lord Save Us from Your Followers asks various people for what Christians are known and the answers he generally receives are not positive—Christians are seen as intolerant, self-centered, grasping for worldly power rather than helping others. [1]  Then we have the Westboro Baptist church that spews hate even though Jesus tells us we are to love enemies.  Is this the attitude toward others the Bible tells us we should have?

The apostle Paul tells us how we are to deal with those, both inside and outside Christianity, who do not following Jesus’ teachings.

For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:12-13 ESV)

It seems that we Christians have this all backwards.  We so often criticize the world for its beliefs and actions all the while saying very little about the problems that occur within our own church.  The harshest words Jesus expressed were directed at the religious leaders of his day, not the “sinners”.

(In the next blog we will discuss how the Bible tells us to deal with fellow Christians who do not follow Biblical teachings.  In this blog, I want to concentrate on how we treat those who are not Christians.)

One of the criticisms of Jesus was that he spent time with sinners instead of those who upheld the Old Testament law (Matthew 9:10-13).  If Jesus was very judgmental with those who were labeled sinners, I doubt if they would want to spend time with Jesus.  It is obvious that Jesus did not gloss over their sins but he talked to them about their failures in such a fashion so as not to alienate them.  As Paul tells us, we should not judge non Christians.  Our purpose is to so live our lives that others outside the church will want what we have (Matthew 5:14-16) and the only way they can see how we live our lives is to associate with them.

Instead of trying to convert the world to our way of thinking, we should, as Paul Marshall advises, preach the gospel constantly and only if absolutely necessary should we use words. [2]  Instead of memorizing the Four Spiritual Laws or some denomination’s plan of salvation, we should learn who God is and help the needy.  If Christians said nothing for about five years and concentrated on loving God and loving their neighbor, I dare say there would be a much greater interest in Christianity than there is today.

People care little about a belief system; there are multitudes of belief systems in this world.  What will impress someone is a transformed life and, as we have emphasized in this blog, that is exactly what Christianity is—the transformation, the renovation, of our soul, not just a set of beliefs.

How we deal with or treat someone is an expression of what we are like, what our soul is like.  The Tao Te Ching expresses this concept as:

Those who are good he treats with goodness

Those who are bad he also treats with goodness

because the nature of his being is good.


Those who are truthful he treats with truth

Those who are not truthful he also treats with truth

because the nature of his being is truthful [3]

How we treat those who are not Christians is an indication of what our soul is like.  If we are hateful, intolerant, and self-centered it is because our soul is hateful, intolerant, and self-centered.  If our soul is hateful, intolerant, and self-centered, will God want our company or we his?

If the world is not interested in what Christianity has to offer, it is because our soul is not like God.  Mahatma Ghandhi was very impressed with Christ and his teachings.  His problem was with Christians who he said were so unlike Christ.  How can we claim to be Christians if our soul unlike Christ?


In the next blog, we will describe how we Christians should deal with those fellow Christians with whom we have disagreements.


[1]   Dan Merchant.  Lord Save Us from Your Followers.  Nashville, TN:  Thomas Nelson.

[2]   Paul Marshall,  Heaven Is Not My Home (Nashville:  Word Publishing, 1998) pp. 207-208.

[3]   Jonathan Star, translator, Tao Te Ching (New York:  Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 2001), p. 62.

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