Christians can be guilty of playing sinful, deadly games

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Religion column by George W. Smith

By George Smith

Some years ago, a book was written entitled, Games Christians Play. These were games played in the name of the Lord. The deadliest game of all was the game of playing God. In this game, Christians judge other people.

Judging others is unchristian. James says we are all part of the same family (4:11) and should not rejoice when a brother stumbles. Satan and slander comes from the same word. We are most like Satan when we slander someone.

James says, “He who judges speaks against the law (4:11-12). What law? The Royal Law: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

He says also, “There is only one Lawgiver and one Judge” (4:11-12). Lawgiver refers to God. Only God has a right to judge. This is not in our job description.

There are many places in the Bible where it says it is wrong to judge. Romans 2:1-3 says it is wrong to judge others when I am practicing the same sin. Matthew 7:3-5 records Jesus saying that it is wrong to condemn someone for the splinter in their eye when I have a plank in my own eye. Jesus went ahead to say, “In the same way I judge others, I will be judged” (Matthew 7:2).

We are not to judge others on outward appearances (John 7:24). Usually this is judging by looks. Samuel found out this was wrong and that God judged by what was in the heart (I Samuel 16:7).

We are not to condemn someone before we have all the facts (John 7:51). As someone put it, there is always more than one side to a story – your side, their side and God’s side or the right side.

It is wrong to judge when it causes you to speak evil against your brother (James 4:11). We are to hate wrong and love people. Paul says in Ephesians 4:29 that we are to build others up. Christians should be known as encouragers.

How do we break the habit of judging? We should remember that we will be judged by the same standards we use to judge others (Matthew 7:1-2). We must not forget that each of us is accountable to God, and think about how much God has been merciful to us (James 2:13). I have to be patient with you because God has been merciful with me.