These words from Christ’s Sermon on the Mount are quoted (wrongly, I might suggest) whenever people are asked for their opinion on what have apparently become graying ethical issues in our society. This includes the recent decision from the Supreme Court to make same sex marriage the law of the land.
Christ was right when He warned about judging others. Who am I to say whether someone’s motivation for their actions are pure or not? How am I to know whether their actions are born out of love or hatred or out of jealousy or envy? For example, when I am given a gift, is it from appreciation for work I have done or an attempt to buy my favor? It is often impossible, at least initially, to make that judgment. So discernment (“judge not”–as we misuse the word) is the order of the day and excellent spiritual advice.
But with issues of morality such as homosexuality, the use of this message from Christ Himself is not applicable with the decision of the court. Scripture clearly names homosexuality as a sin, no different than stealing, adultery, or murder. We would never say murder is permissible and that we shouldn’t “judge” (meet out punishment) for the offender. Murder is sin, every time.
The same principle exists with homosexuality and subsequently, same sex marriages. I don’t believe we are guilty of “judging” (discerning) when we call it a sin or refuse to accept it as just another way of life.
But after the Supreme Court decision, the issue now for those of us who are in the ministry of loving others and demonstrating Christ’s love, is for me to love homosexuals even more, not strike out against them. Judging? Yes, it is still sin. Condemning them and meeting out God’s wrath? That’s not my job.
Even Christ said He didn’t come to condemn the world, the world is condemned already. Jesus hung out in bars, among the drunks, and homosexuals, and thieves, and adulterers, and… not to participate with them in their sins but to show them their need for His love. I need to do the same.