By Connie W. Adams
In our upside down world one of the greatest compliments is to be described as “non-judgmental.” The “judgmental” person is to be shunned and “judged” (by the “non-judgmental”)as biased, opinionated or worse. While Jesus condemned harsh, unreasoned judgment in the context of Matthew 7:lff, and pointed out that we usually receive the same kind of judgment which we administer, he also taught, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24). Paul rebuked brethren at Corinth for going to law before unbelievers to settle their differences instead of before godly brethren “who shall be able to judge between his brethren” (1 Cor. 6:5). Paul himself said concerning the brother who had committed fornication that he “had judged already” concerning this and that such an one should be “delivered to Satan” and that “when ye are gathered together” (1 Cor. 5:3-5).
But in today’s world, we are not supposed to express our disapproval of people living together out of wedlock. That is judgmental. No onus is to be attached to fathering and bearing children outside of marriage. That is judgmental. The homosexual is not to be criticized. That is judgmental. The drunkard must be judged to be simply sick. Any other assessment would be judgmental. Not one word of criticism is to be uttered about a backsliding brother or sister. They are just going through a tough time and we must not be judgmental. In my judgment (there! I have exposed my real nature) this non-judgmental business is calculated to offer praise to those who have no convictions from those who have about the same amount of conviction — none.
Life Without a Telephone — Almost
Before we moved to our new patio home on December 7, 2000 we were assured by Bell South that we would have phone service from that date and were even assigned a new number. Imagine our surprise (shock is nearer to reality) when we were told the next morning (when I called from a pay phone at Kroger’s) that it would be several days before they could send an engineer out to assess the matter and that I would be notified by letter as to when we could expect service. Calling every day to complain and explain the perils of a preacher, not to mention an associate editor trying to function and do his work without a telephone, got me absolutely nowhere. In desperation we did obtain a cell phone, an action which I had long before determined I did not want. But get one we did. It is a poor excuse for a telephone. I have snickered at people who can’t walk through an airport, sit in a restaurant, or drive a car without a cell phone in their ear. Further imagine my chagrin (I am beyond “shocked” anymore) to receive a letter from such a vast business empire as this phone company that they will be able to install our service by March 1!
All lines were laid underground in advance for gas, electricity, cable television, and telephone. The first three of these were in full use the day we arrived while the last is not yet operational.
Meanwhile, we have a computer without e-mail service and access to the web. It does not help to be told that Paul did not have e-mail. No, and he did not have messages hung up in cyberspace somewhere either. Why, I can’t even keep up with who is angry with me. I am deprived of all the choice articles and jokes forwarded to me by friends who don’t realize that I have already seen them five times!
But then the upside of all this is that there is some tranquility in the fact that the phone does not ring off the wall. I have spent no time before a computer screen since December 6 (the day before we moved). We do have a cell phone for emergencies and if push comes to shove we could send up smoke signals. The mail still runs. My trusty typewriter is working and life goes on. It has made me think of Peter’s admonition to “gird up the loins of your mind and be sober” (1 Pet. 1:13). I have also reflected upon Psalms 4:4 — “Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.” Sometimes the inconveniences of life force us to do what we often fail to do — slow down. So, we’ll count our blessings (and they are legion) and be back in touch, brethren, one of these days. But I am still convinced that this is a poor way to operate a telephone company!
“And Weep with Them That Weep”
While we complain about temporary inconveniences, some of our brethren in other parts of the world face problems some of us could not comprehend. For example, in the Philippines, while the work of the gospel goes on with gratifying results in many cases, life is so hard for some. There is much civil unrest. In the southern islands (especially Mindanao and Palawan) the Muslim rebellion goes on unabated forcing many, including some brethren, to abandon their homes or farms and flee with what is on their backs. They go to cities where they have no means of livelihood and where even friends or relatives are pressed to help care for them. The need for medicine and food and shelter is acute. The government offers some help but not enough. Some live in areas where there is daily bombing by government forces trying to break the back of the resistance. Also, there is the threat to peace from the NPA (New People’s Army), a communist guerilla force. Even on Luzon there has been disturbance in places. At present the nation is undergoing an impeachment trial for their president. Last January the wife of a gospel preacher died in southern Mindanao. Then in November her husband died leaving seven orphan children from age fourteen down to one and a half, six girls and a boy. They are from an area where many have evacuated because of the raging conflicts. Some help has been sent but more will be needed. Julie Notarte, a well-known and respected gospel preacher is helping to administer funds sent to help these children.
If you want to help or inquire about it, write to: Julie D.A. Notarte, P.O. Box 232, 8002 Digos City, Philippines. He has also been besieged by appeals from refugees for food and medicines. “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the Love of God abide in him” (1 John 3:17)?
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