English: Indian Spectacled Cobra, Naja Naja Fa...

English: Indian Spectacled Cobra, Naja Naja Family, one of India’s venomous snakes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The sixth and final universal habit common to man is judgment and hypocrisy. This is the most venomous one because it’s the cumulative effect of the five we sampled in Parts 1-5.

Those are anger and contempt, adultery and divorce from God, swearing, score-keeping and payback, and image.)

Judgmentalism

There are different kinds of judgment. Krisis is the Greek word for the kind that leads to a turning point. (In English, crisis.) When Scripture refers to God’s judgment of man, this is the word. The idea is to bring about a change, to restore and cure, even if by painful measures. The spirit and motive is love.

Then there’s the kind that’s simply analytical—to evaluate or assess differences. Biblically, that’s called discernment, good judgment. When Jesus says you can recognize a tree by its fruit, that’s discernment. When you weigh pros and cons without the will to do harm, that’s good judgment. So it’s no sin to make observations, form opinions, and make decisions based on them. In fact, we’re called to learn and practice this kind of judgment.

And then there’s the condemning, acidic kind: judgmentalism. The difference between judgmentalism and discernment boils down to motive. The spirit behind judgmentalism is scorn, ill will, and the wish to do damage.

For example, when my mechanic says that my car’s transmission is going bad, he doesn’t condemn me as a terrible car owner. His motive isn’t to accuse me of a crime or rake me over the coals, but to get maximum benefit out of my car. His attitude will reflect that, and I won’t react as if attacked. This kind of judgment doesn’t deny wrong, but neither does it spout off. It seeks no harm even if the message is unpleasant, for love does no harm to neighbors (Rom. 13:10).

But when you use criticism as a weapon to attack and condemn people, or deliberately use differences to stir up ill will, that’s the sinful kind of judgment Jesus refers to. It carries a mean-spiritedness that always escalates because the receiver, usually as poisoned as the next person, turns to tear you to pieces with payback. They can’t react any other way because they don’t know any other way. (more…)

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DVD cover of the Region 2 Essential Collection...

DVD cover of the Region 2 Essential Collection release. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Parts 1-4, we sampled four of six habits, common to people of all cultures and time periods, that Jesus warned of in his Sermon on the Mount: Willful anger and contempt, an adulterous mind-set, swearing oaths, and score-keeping.

Each fortifies the next in a chain reaction that creates a toxic spirit incapable of loving anyone, including yourself and enemies, as Jesus does.

The bad news is that these habits are often seen as right and good, so people protect them the way a drug addict protects his supply. But the more the poison builds up, the more conditioned you are to react negatively at the slightest provocation. It owns you.

The good news is that as you flush each one and God blesses your obedience, the clearer your vision and mind become, and the more conditioned you are to not return insults with better ones. You’ll soon be blessing those who curse you and loving enemies the way Jesus does.

Poison #5

So, the fifth sneaky habit Jesus warns of is outer appearance, reputation, and the need to look good for public approval. In a word, image. The old fashioned term is “vanity.” (more…)