A parable for thirsty souls. Drink at your own risk!
Once there was a severe drought in the land. A rancher noticed that his herd was gathering at one of the few remaining waterholes, being driven by desperation by their thirst. He began to yell at them and wave his arms to keep them away from the water. The animals were not responding, so he had to get physically aggressive with them. His neighbors noticed his behavior and said to themselves: “Look at how that man is mistreating his herd. He is being so harsh.”
The animals persisted in trying to drink from the pond. The rancher eventually had to resort to an electric shocking device to get them to stay away from the water. His neighbors were outraged. They had enough and called animal protection. The rancher was arrested. After the rancher was gone, the neighbors rushed over and petted the herd, encouraged them, and loved on them. That night they called their friends and told them how glad they were that the law had dealt with such a horrible man. While the man languished in jail the herd drank deeply from the water, and the neighbors were quite happy that they had behaved so kindly toward the animals to spare them the rancher’s mistreatment.
Months later when the rancher’s day for judgment finally came, he explained to the judge that what appeared as severity was actually kindness, as the rancher was aware that the pond had been contaminated by a deadly virus. He was acquitted. Unfortunately, even though he was acquitted, all his herd died. The animals’ deepest instincts of what was right and needed, drove them to kill themselves. His neighbor’s good intentions were influenced by what they did not see or understand. They said nothing to the rancher, and did not offer to reimburse him the costs of his loss due to their intervention, being too embarrassed to face the error of their judgment. They could not find the humility to embrace the fact that they did not have understanding of the situation.
QUESTION: WHO REALLY LOVED THE HERD THE MOST?
The folks in social media who regularly say things like: “We are all sinners, let’s stop all the judgment;” “Why can’t we just love each other and get along;” “Why focus on the negative, let’s just focus on the positive;” “No one is perfect;” “Let’s not argue about doctrine;” “Things are wonderful, why don’t you focus on the good things?,” and so forth, are just like the neighbors in this parable. They are like the people in Israel of old who loved the false prophets, encouraged them to prophesy only pleasant things, would not tolerate their judgment “negativity,” and threw God’s prophets into prisons.
Hugging a steer while its drinking poison is not love. Calling attention to the virus in the pond is not negative. The only ones who would think so, are those who do not believe there’s any virus in the pond. The person who is relationally invested in the well-being of the herd will know if it’s poison or not, not those who merely have a philosophy about water and want to argue about an animal’s right to drink it. If someone knows there’s virus in the pond, and says nothing, or yields to the well-intentioned, but misguided “do-gooders,” that person is morally guilty, and unloving. They are themselves guilty of erroneous judgment.
Judge Righteous Judgment
I am so tired of people who quote one passage concerning judgment (Matt. 7: 1-3, judge not, etc.) as if it was the sole rule of the universe, and ignore John 7:24 (judge, but do it rightly)–from the same lips of the same Savior. Talk about “selective hearing!”
What is the difference between prohibited judgment encouraged judgment?
The context of Matthew 7 is hypocrisy, not evaluation between good and evil, death or life. Jesus is dealing with those who want to “speak from behind the mask,” those who present themselves as something other than what they are, and measure and condemn others for the same sins they secretly engage in word, thought, or deed. Discernment is not being prohibited in Matthew 7. What is being prohibited is condemnation (the decree of final sentence) not evaluation of thought and behavior! Click here for more on this topic.
Frankly, we would have no new testament if the misguided had their way, enforcing their do-nothing, say-nothing, only-be-positive ethic! The bulk of the new testament was written to address what was wrong in their midst in both doctrine and behavior! We have been so encultured by the no judgment, “don’t judge” ethos of our society and an overly pastoral, prophetically inert, and emasculated  view in the church of who Jesus was and is, that our spiritual acumen has been turned into a bowl of mush and our self-worth and emotions are as fragile as a wet tissue in a hurricane.
The notion that we should never address sickness or deviation, and always avoid judgment in the body of Christ, that doing so is “negative” and judgmental, is absurd–misguided at best, and unloving at worst.
 I am referring to the stereotype that most people think Jesus is some version of Mr. Rodgers with a beard, a limp-wristed, platitude spitting, pale cleric, who speaks in soothing hushed tones, whose all encompassing concern is the perpetual maintenance of your happiness and good feelings. Such as: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjWertXdxFE
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