I have so much to say, but today I just want to drive home a simple point that I think is surprisingly counter-cultural in 2011.
In America in general, but in the Christian Church in particular, folk are overusing and abusing and hiding behind the word “judgmental”.
Yesterday, I publicly criticized Bishop Eddie Long for settling a lawsuit for the sexual abuse of teenage boys on Thursday and preaching on Sunday. I did the same thing with Bishop Johnathan Alvarado here in Atlanta when I learned he settled a lawsuit for the molestation of underage boys.
As a religious leader in Atlanta and as an advocate against the sexual abuse and exploitation of children and teenagers, I find it ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE to have two such men in public leadership. It is very gross. It is very wrong. I feel this way with every fiber of my being.
Yet, every single time I take this stand, somebody tells me that I’m being judgmental. They say that Jesus said the words “Judge Not”. Let me ask you this question…
If a raving madman broke into your house in the middle of the night and declared that he was going to rape your loved ones and take your valuables, would it be judgmental of you to tell him no?
Of course it wouldn’t.
I feel like Bishop Eddie Long and Bishop Johnathan Alvarado are raving madmen. They groomed underage boys from a young age, earned their trust and that of their single moms, gave them money and gifts and took them on trips and had sex with them. If me screaming about this makes me judgmental then so be it.
I am all for treating people fair and equitably. I practice this as a pastor of a very diverse congregation daily.
However, Jesus was executed by political and religious leaders because he regularly spoke out against them. In fact, he was regularly a loving, kind lamb to the wounded and disenfranchised of society, but often appeared as a furious lion toward the powerful abusers of religion. In fact, his harshest words throughout the Gospels were reserved for religious leaders.
I will do the same.
- Jesus called religious leaders snakes and “vipers” and said their hearts were full of evil in Matthew 12:34
- Jesus called religious leaders sons of Satan, liars, and murderers in John 8:43-44.
- Jesus furiously went into the temple and turned over tables and called folk names in Mark 11:15-18. It so enraged the religious leaders that they, in verse 18, speak of their plot to kill Jesus.
- Speaking about religious leaders, Jesus, in Matthew 18:6, said it would be better for them to jump in a lake with a heavy rock around their neck and die than to harm young people or cause young believers to sin.
Jesus was not politically correct. He made strong statements against REAL PEOPLE when he knew they were wrong, were misrepresenting God, and causing real harm to folk.
We must do the same thing.
In rare occasions, most often for evil religious leaders, Jesus was judgmental.
I’m not a stone thrower. I, too, am a sinner. However, I will stand up for victims and stand against child predators 10 times out of 10 and not think twice about it.
I hope you’ll speak up too.