I have a question for you? What is the
one Bible verse that you hear most often quoted by non-Christians? I
will wait patiently here as the theme music from Jeopardy plays in my
head and you ponder my question...okay. Given that I only have 800 words
to work with here I will go ahead and tell you. The one Bible verse that
every non-Christian believes comes from Matthew 7, verse 1, where Jesus
says: "Judge not, lest ye be judged." People who don't believe in the
Bible dearly love quoting this verse.
How many times have I heard that come
out of the mouths of people who are otherwise clueless about the Bible?
I can be watching the most godless reprobate on some television show
talking about the vilest things he has done and when challenged about
his behavior he will inevitably say: "Well, you know what the Bible says
-- judge not, lest ye be judged."
This is the heathen's trump card. It's supposed to end all discussion. A
verse from a book they otherwise scoff at. He doesn't have any regard
for what that same Bible says about the wrongness of his behavior in the
first place, nor does he read or study the Bible -- yet he knows
somewhere in the Christian scripture it says something about not judging
others...and that sure comes in handy.
Another verse more commonly used among Christians themselves when
someone is caught doing something contrary to the teachings of the Bible
is this -- again the words of Jesus: "Let him who is without sin among
you be the first to throw a stone at her."
This was a theme used at the recent funeral service for slain football
star Steve McNair in Nashville. We all know that McNair was murdered by
a young woman with whom he was having an adulterous affair.
"Drop your stone the
next time you write about Steve McNair. Drop your stone the next time
you text somebody. Drop your stone the next time you twitter. Drop your
stone, those of you in the barbershops, the beauty shops. Those of you
walking the streets, on the corner -- drop your stone," Bishop Joseph W.
Walker III told thousands of people, among them family members, fans,
and more than 50 former teammates, gathered at Mount Zion Baptist
What are your thoughts on this article?
I once heard a pastor give some good advice about reading the Bible. He
said when using a verse to make a point, always read the paragraph where
the verse is found. In other words, put the verse in its right
perspective. By understanding the context of a verse, we can better
understand the real meaning or point of what is being said or
The point of Matthew 7:1 about not judging others is that we should each
guard against self-righteousness, understanding that we all are weak
human beings and capable of the same wrong-doing we are condemning in
others. We must constantly examine our own hearts, attitudes, and
actions and compare our lives to the standards that God expects us to
follow as laid out in the Sermon on the Mount and the Ten Commandments.
And when we sin -- that is, when we fail to live up to those standards
-- we must repent before God and strive, with His help, to do better
As for the admonition of Pastor Walker at the service for Steve McNair,
you talk about a man put in an awkward position. Here he is, trying to
console the wife and children of a man who died while cheating on them.
What do you say to the family that feels betrayed -- and what do you say
to those watching the funeral?
The verse about stone-throwing is found in the beginning of John 8. Here
the Hebrew scribes and Pharisees were trying to stump this new teacher
-- Jesus, a Jew -- into contradicting the Law of Moses, which stated
that the woman caught in adultery should be stoned. Jesus turned the
test around on them and used that experience to teach her accusers a
lesson, again, about self-righteousness. But he also told the woman,
after saying he did not condemn her, to "...go, and from now on sin no
He called her adultery sin. Notice he did not say, "Go, and make no more
mistakes." When we call sins "mistakes," we diminish the seriousness of
what has occurred that the sinner is responsible for. Jesus came to
Earth to die on a cross to pay the price for our sins, not our
Notice also, Jesus did not say to her, "Go, it's only sex." No, he
called adultery "sin" and ordered her not to do it anymore. This is what
Jesus did -- he judged the wrongness of the action, but he did not
condemn the person. He offered her an opportunity to be repentant and
start anew. He is our example.
Steve McNair's ending was a tragedy in many ways. Let's at least learn a
lesson from it. Stay away from sin.