October 7, 2009

Part VII: Judgmental

Too Political

Kinnaman's Thoughts

There are two points of Kinnaman's that I think are incredibly valuable. First he identifies 4 types of judgmental attitudes:
  1. Wrong Verdict: Simply coming to an erroneous conclusion about a person or situation. This is usually what it is that we think of when we think of being judgmental.
  2. Wrong Timing: This is when you come to an accurate conclusion about something, but express it at an inappropriate time. Why is this judgmental? Because , you are passing judgment on the person without thinking about communicating to them. Essentially, you are only passing judgment. You aren't trying to achieve anything with that judgment.
  3. Wrong Motivation: I think this one is pretty obvious. It is when we are right about our judgment, but act out that judgment in an inappropriate fashion. Are we acting out of a sense of justice, or vindictiveness? Is it about doing the right thing, or about revenge?
  4. Playing Favorites: This is the opposite. This is giving grace only to certain persons, while showing sternness to others (sound like any theology?).
All of these attitudes get in the way of reaching out to people. Being insensitive demonstrates to people that you don't really care about them. In the end, that's the biggest problem. If we are trying to reach out to people, then it has to be about them, not about us. If it isn't motivated by love and an honest desire to save them, than what is it?

That is the other thing that Kinnaman talked about: Pride. Often, instead of love, we are motivated by pride. We automatically think that we are better than the people around us. After all, we're saved and they aren't. However, we should never confuse being in a superior place with actually being superior. I found the translation of Romans 2:1,4 that he uses interesting:

You may be saying, "What terrible people you have been talking about!" (see Romans 1) But you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you do these very same things... Don't you realize how kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Or don't you care? Can't you see how kind he has been in giving you time to turn from you sin?
My Thoughts

I think the fundamental problem that much of evangelical Christianity has right now is realizing taht being correct isn't the same thing is being right. Often we think that the accuracy of our opinions justifies how we present these opinions.

Now is there a place and time for speaking harshly, and critically? Yes, there absolutely is. Being it is only within the context of a relationship that gives you the right to do so; a relationship that we currently do not have in the general population. A credible report needs to be established that lets a person know that what you say matter. This cannot be assumed simply because we had it in the past.

Now, I'm giving some Christians more credit than they deserve here. Let's face it, there are a lot of jerks in the church right now, many of them in leadership. But, I'm not speaking to those people here because they (A) would never read this blog anyway and (B) wouldn't recognize I was talking to them even if they did.

I think it is more important for us who honestly mean well to recognize that we need to be careful how we say things. Being correct isn't good enough. We need to stop and consider how a person will understand what it is that we are saying, and adjust how we say it accordingly. This means that we need to listen to them, and know where they are coming from before we speak.

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