God loves me and I love God are not the same use of ‘love’ as
I love ice-cream.
Today a very popular excuse for not doing the Christian thing from want of courage is to come up with the first part of a verse
from the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 7
Do not judge and you will not be judged;
The context of the bandied about truncated quotation makes it clear that one is not to ‘sit in judgement’ or condemn hypocritically, or self-righteously. BUT Scripture constantly urges the believer to exercise judgement, meaning discernment, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which enables the believer to evaluate, and to discern between good people and bad people, good things and bad things.
A spiritual man, on the other hand, is able to judge the value of everything, and his own value is not to be judged by other men. (1 Corinthians, 2:15)
Discernment is what is required from a Christian, not criticism. And after discernment, for which praise God, comes action, which almost invariably requires another gift of the Holy Spirit, fortitude. After that come yet more gifts: piety and fear of the Lord, two which hardly anyone comprehends because hardly anyone reads the new Catholic Catechism – already some decades old – or can be bothered with such ‘extras’ as the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Why not just let everyone do what he or she likes and all have a merry feast?
Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls in front of pigs, or they may trample them and then turn on you and tear you to pieces. (Matt. 7:6)
Jesus was not afraid to say to some of those he cured, “Go, and sin no more.” Another much bandied about phrase is ‘unconditional love’. God is said to love unconditionally, and all will be forgiven, all will be made welcome. When put to the test of reasoned argument and the Gospel accounts of what Jesus said, this maxim needs to be very carefully defined. Else, we should expect to find Stalin, Hitler and their like playing harps in heaven. It makes nonsense of the deposit of faith that we have received – or should have received – from the earliest years of our lives.
Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. (25)