The Rub of Tolerance and Judgement, or Grace and Truth

By Jeep Collins

 “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  Matthew VII. 2.

In Christian circles,the judge is often judged more harshly than the wrongdoer.  

In Tolstoy’s Resurrection the wealthy Russian prince Nekhlyudov at nineteen was still an innocent boy; three years pass and he is changed.  “Then, (at nineteen) he had been an honest unselfish lad, ready to devote himself to any good cause; now he was a dissoute accomplished egoist, caring only for his own enjoyment.  Then he had seen God’s world as a mystery which with excitement and delight he strove to penetrate; now everything in life was simple and clear and depended on the circumstances in which he happened to be.

For him the change began when he entered the military; for other young people change comes when they enter a new world, college, work; any place that takes them to a new and different society.

The new people Nekhlyudov found himself among may have started like him, or more likely never had the advantage of a Christian upbringing by parents that above all strove to install character, responsibility, ……. all the good things we want for our children.

Nekhlyudov at first “made a fight for his principles, but the struggle was too hard, since everything he had considered right when he put his faith in his own conscience was wrong according to other people, and vice versa, everything which he, believing himself, regarded as bad, was held to be good by all the people round him.”

Nekhlyudov, like so many put the esteem of his peers above his principles.  

Tolerance in our “new country” has come to mean that we should not judge the actions of others because we certainly don't want others to call into question the things we do. If we see others doing things that are contrary to the teachings of Christ the acceptable thing to do is accept it; we can always justify our tolerance by calling it "legalism."

On the surface our scripture not judge....backs up this belief and tolerance wins above judgement.  But scripture can never be understood on the surface.  If we are true followers of Christ our understanding comes from the heart where dwells the Holy Spirit. 

The answer to the rub is found in the gospel of John chapter 1 verse 14 Jesus, as the Word , came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Randy Alcorn in The Grace and Truth Paradox gives us the "measure"
The apparent conflict that exists between grace and truth isn’t because they’re incompatible, but because we lack perspective to resolve their paradox.  The two are interdependent.  We should never approach truth except in a spirit of grace, or grace except in a spirit of truth.  Jesus wasn’t 50 percent grace, 50 percent truth, but 100 percent grace, 100 percent truth.

Truth-oriented Christians love studying Scripture and theology.  But sometimes they’re quick to judge and slow to forgive.  They’re strong on truth, weak on grace.

Grace-oriented Christians love forgiveness and freedom.  But sometimes they neglect Bible study and see moral standards as “legalism.  They're strong on grace, weak on truth.

 The understanding of the balance of these two is reserved for those who have gained wisdom.    The fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.  Proverbs 9:10.