Dear Gospel Loving People Who Love People Because of the Gospel,
Last week the U.S. was embroiled in a conversation about bigotry because of the comments of radio and TV host Don Imus about the women’s basketball team at Rutgers University. If you watched or read any news last week you couldn’t have missed it. The comments and the stored-up anamus against Imus cost him his job.
Don Imus, author of the best-selling novel “God’s Other Son”, has spent his more than three decade broadcast career hurling insults at everyone and receiving them back in kind. I met Imus and his broadcast team several years ago when they did their show before the Super Bowl was played here in Tampa. And I’ve listened and enjoyed his show for years. It was a mix of satirical comedy and political and cultural interviews. Imus is not a racist. He has helped and promoted minority people his entire career. But the thing that always came across was his arrogance. He simply seemed to think he was better and above the people he made fun of and commented on. Nothing and no one, including himself, his family and wife, were off limits. He was an equal opportunity offender. Some of the strongest commentary came against people who found themselves in the type of scandalous situations he found himself in last week.
On our Web Cast last week we spoke about Imus’ predicament in the context of “judge not lest you be judged”. Jesus said that with the same intensity that one judges, an equivalent intense judgment would come back on you.
Jesus saved His harshest criticism for the religious leaders, who among other things were called “hypocrites” by the Lord. To Jesus, hypocrisy was not defined the way we usually define it.. We say one is hypocritical if you say one thing and do another. Jesus knew we all do that. Therefore, we all would be hypocrites. But to Him, hypocrisy is when you judge someone for being guilty of the very same thing you are guilty of. Religious leaders, and religious folks, past, present, and future do that all the time. And this crosses all religious lines, even for people who do not belong to a particular denomination or religious persuasion. Anyone can take on a religious overtone. “Holier than thou” attitudes cross all political, economic, and belief systems. If you engage in judgment, judgment is eventually going to overtake you. But, obviously, it is not the judgment of God. Jesus took all of that on Himself on the Cross. God has no more judgment to give. But this “land of judgment” is a place where unfortunately a lot of people live.
On last week’s Web Cast, Michael pointed out that this kind of judgment may not be “cause and effect”. Still, by communicating the way Imus and others do, they have actually already told us what is going to eventually happen to them. They are living under the cloud of the effect of judgment and the law, and what a shame it is because the judgment and law of God are no more. It would be like living in today’s Germany under the same laws that the Nazis instituted 80 years ago, even though Nazism was defeated and a new and freer Germany rose from its ashes.
Most of our lives do not play out the way Imus’, Jimmy Swaggert’s, Ted Haggard’s, Bill Clinton’s, Michael Richard’s, Mel Gibson’s, or any other high profile person’s does under the glare of the public’s spotlight. But play out they do. Still, to whom much is given much is required. When you have a bigger platform, and take that platform for criticizing other human beings for being less than you are (as opposed to criticizing what they think or teach), then your “fall” will be greater
We cannot recommend living a life of condemning others as less than ourselves. We tried. It is not a positive existence. We are not holier than anyone. Neither is anyone holier than we. Because all of our potential and perceived evil was paid for by the Blood of Christ. Plus, all of our holiness has been imputed to us by Him.