I’m an opinionated person. I’m not afraid to take contentious positions on contentious issues. I find that in heated debates, it is a favorite of secularists to pull out the “Judge not, that you be not judged” argument (Matthew 7:1). Now I won’t take time here to fully address the issue of folks who don’t know, don’t care about, and don’t want anything to do with Jesus using His words to defend their secularism. I will however, use the argument to pull apart their own arguments in favor of heavy government involvement in the name of “societal good”.
Ultimately, there is this looming question as to who is qualified and able to judge what is right. Clearly, we Christians put the Lord in this class. Yes, God is able to judge what is right – in fact, He can’t judge other than righteously. But, as we know, Christians will often disagree about various issues (usually not major issues). So, who then is to judge?
Well, let’s refine the problem space a bit. Suppose I have to make a decision about what I should do. Now, I’ve prayed about it. I’ve sought wise counsel. I’ve processed the relevant issues. The question is, am I better qualified to make the decision for myself, or is my neighbor? (By the way, we assume that my neighbor is uninvolved and unaffected by the decision.)
This is what most government programs boil down to. Elected officials, or the electorate themselves, will see a difficult issue (health care, homelessness, drug addiction, etc.) and consider options to address it. We live in a free country – and these people are absolutely free to contribute their own resources to helping address the problem. Some of them do, some don’t, but things almost never stop here. Next, our do-gooders will go on to decide what others should do with their resources. (In case you missed it, ALL government-run social programs are somebody else deciding what to do with YOUR resources.)
Are they qualified to do this? Are they better equipped to make decisions about what you should do to help your neighbor than you are? Having taken this responsibility on themselves, will they stand for you at the judgment an indicate that they will take credit and blame for what your resources were used to accomplish? (I doubt it)
It’s a whole lot easier to demand sacrifices of someone else than to make them ourselves. But this is the cheap way out. The image of the final judgment in Matthew 25 shows the Lord judging our own actions relative to those in need … not the things we demanded (or mandated) that others do for those in need.