When I teach characterization in literature, I use Edgar Allan Poe’s classic, “The Tell Tale Heart”. The narrator in that story starts out by saying, “I’m not crazy!” He repeats that throughout the story – as he’s recounting, in graphic
detail, how he murdered, dismembered, and buried the old man with the “evil eye”. He says, “I’m not crazy!” as he talks about stalking the old man for EIGHT nights, watching him sleep, laughing at how he scares the old man, and pridefully explaining how he committed the murder.
Readers of this story all agree that the narrator is, in fact, crazy. We don’t care what he says. His actions prove otherwise, and we all listen to actions more than words.
Today, we call that “judging” and many get angry. We behave in cruel, selfish ways, and when we’re called out on it, we say, “You have no right to judge me!!” and walk off angry and hurt.
But, folks, “judge” means “to form an opinion.” And if you have a brain in your head, you form opinions! And how do we form opinions? By watching what people do.
I know people who go around saying they love Jesus, that He is first in their lives, that their New Year’s resolution is to know Him better. Great words! But I see how they spend their time, their money, what they talk about, who they talk about, what makes them angry, what makes them excited…and I can tell if their “I love Jesus” statements are just empty words or if they really mean what they say.
And others do the same with me.
As believers in the One true God, we are called to stand out, to stand up, to be lights in a dark world. We are called to have our actions match our words so we aren’t just another hypocrite.
Yes, yes, none of us is perfect, and we need to bear with one another’s weaknesses. I know. And I agree. But I think the pendulum is swinging WAY too far, so far that we allow each other to do and say whatever we want because, to call someone out on sin is “judging” and we have deemed “judging” a far worse sin than anything else.
But, if we believe the Bible, the worst sin we can commit is refusing to acknowledge the supremacy of Christ in our lives, refusing to submit to His authority. And the greatest gift we can give to others is to remind them of that truth so they can walk in it. And, on our part, to be open to hearing from others when we are falling short. Because we will!
Do you love Jesus? Then act like it! Stop justifying your sinful behavior, stop getting angry when/if people “judge” you on it. Be who you say you are.
“Work hard so God can say to you, “Well done.” Be a good workman, one who does not need to be ashamed when God examines your work. Know what his Word says and means.” 2 Tim. 2:15