Angry e-mails pour into my In Box quite often if something I’ve written gets published in a national venue. This isn’t unique. Actually, I appreciate such feedback, because such hostile responses reassure that God’s message is reaching beyond the choir, as they say. It’s not that I enjoy being hated, but it is somewhat validating to know the Lord’s Word still is as described in Scripture: “For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).
We can know that our efforts to disseminate truth from God’s Word, the Bible, are being effective when those efforts encounter fierce opposition. And, we are in the very best of company in that regard. Here is what the Lord, Himself, said about that kind of encounter: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me” (Jn. 15:18-21).
Several years ago, anger from one particular person screamed with rage while my JAWS synthesized voice program read the e-mail to me. (I must listen to, rather than see, text because of being blind.) The issue she had with my venue –and with me in particular—was based upon one excerpt from a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) found on our website. That excerpt was printed in The Village Voice. The FAQ dealt with God’s right to judge mankind. Here’s what –in part– she said. Hers is one of the milder responses we often receive:
“The only salient and honest assessment one can come to is that the people connected to your [site] are in it for the bucks. You are in a word hypocrites and posers and are shamelessly using the name of Jesus to sell your product. You are one of the false prophets Jesus warned us about. Terry James has lost all sensibility as well as all spiritual, scholarly and intellectual grasp of reality. The assertions of your site WILL NOT GO UNANSWERED by either the religious community OR the secular, so search yourselves for precision of message before you DARE to assert others should be incarcerated or killed because we do not agree with you!!”
She accused me of being the writer of the answer to the particular FAQ. She was wrong on that count –although I did agree with the person’s answer to that FAQ, upon reading the answer in its totality, and in considering the biblical context. I tried to explain the context of the answer by giving her Scripture to show that we, as Christians, certainly have no right to judge others, but that sin must –and will– be judged by the God of Heaven. No one can enter His presence for eternity until sin has been judged and dealt with. Jesus did that on the cross for all who accept His supreme sacrifice for their sin. I pointed out that Jesus, Himself, will judge those who reject God’s grace gift offer.
She launched, then, in her reply, the same sort of argumentation we hear time after time when matters of judgment and sin are angrily addressed. Here’s what she said, in part:
“You are NOT commanded in any way shape or form to condemn others by the Word. It isn’t there Terry. You are commanded to love thy neighbor as thyself, irrespective of whether they are a sinner in your view or not. That is the highest law. It is not your place to sit in judgement [sic] against others. That is the highest CHRISTIAN LAW. You radical xtians who believe yourselves to be THE JUDGE have totally maligned the Word. Not only are you not ‘loving thy neighbor as thyself’, you are proposing to HURT AND KILL YOUR NEIGHBOR, and then try to justify that with scripture that doesn’t exist.
Three crusades, the inquisition, mass murders and genocide, the destruction of cultures, languages and whole societies based on the wrong notion that the Bible gives them the right to condemn. Men wanting to BE GOD is nothing newsy, but when you stand in such judgement [sic] you are diametrically opposed to the Word, and you are something other than CHRISTIAN!
My Jesus is forgiving, merciful and meek, my Jesus speaks to the heart from a closed closet door, my Jesus walked in the light and not once condemned a single person. Ever. My Jesus said “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” If you are gonna preach the Word you better remember this. It is not at all a surprise that your strange reading of scripture could not hold up to scrutiny.”
I apologize for including that much of her retort to my attempt to give her Scripture about God’s judgment on sin, but had to do so to get to the part of the whole e-mail encounter that needs addressing in this commentary. I will let you form your own opinion about this particular case. I don’t want to judge her –as she has already charged.
There is a profound false perception about the love of God. Sometimes the false perception is out of ignorance; sometimes it is deliberately rebellious and steeped in hate-filled luciferian sophistry.
The accusation by those who claim their own brand of Christianity as centered in a Jesus who never judges anyone most always charge that we who say God does, in fact, judge sin are somehow guilty of wanting to murder or physically harm all who disagree with us. By this, they do what they accuse us of doing. They judge us –and, falsely, I might add.
Jesus, who is God, doesn’t judge sin, huh? Hmmm… Let’s see about that by having a look at the Scriptures I sent another of the angry e-mailers who wrote me, accusing the website, and me of judging them, their proclaiming that judging, or condemning was something Jesus would never do. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (Jn 3: 17-21)
Jesus won’t judge sin, huh? I suggest those who believe that lie from the great deceiver read Revelation 20: 11-15!
Most of earth’s inhabitants don’t recognize Jesus Christ as deity, of course. It is not to those that this commentary is addressed. Those, however, who claim Jesus as the heart of their belief system need to grasp the truth about His love. It is the same as God’s love. That is because Jesus IS God! God’s Love (Jesus’ Love) is not the Lord’s refusal to judge people in some Eternal Politically Correct Way. God’s (Jesus’) love is His offer of redemption from the sin that separates people from Him. Judging their sin through judging Jesus as the Lamb that takes away the sins of the world –that’s the love of God toward us. But, one must recognize that he or she is a sinner, thus acknowledge that he or she needs salvation. The person must then repent and ask the Savior for the grace gift of love available to each and every person in the world.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16).