Mark Driscoll has been in the news quite a bit lately. And to be honest, the press has been pretty bad. Driscoll has been accused of plagiarizing, using church money to increase the sales of his book, and making derogatory comments on his church website under the pseudonym William Wallace II.
Christians have had all sorts of responses to Driscoll. Many Christians are angry. Some call for forgiveness. Acts 29, a large church network that Driscoll started, sent Driscoll and his church a letter removing them from the Acts 29 network.
If you have talked with me about Mark Driscoll over the past few years, you know I have been critical of a lot of what Driscoll has stood for. I don’t agree with many of his views on women, sexuality, and faith in general. We just see the world differently.
If I am completely honest with myself, there was a part of me that felt satisfaction as Driscoll was dragged through the mud these past months. There was a part of me that thought, “Ha, I knew it! I was right about him all along.”
But lately I have been working to change that attitude in myself.
The main reason is it just isn’t very loving.
But also, I think part of my reaction to Driscoll had to do with my pride. I am starting to realize that whenever I look down on someone else, or judge someone else, it usually means I have forgotten I too make mistakes and don’t get everything right.
Looking down on others and judging them was not what Jesus was about. Jesus was about offering grace and mercy to those who needed it (which was everyone).
In one of my favorite teachings by Jesus, he says this:
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from the other person’s eye. (Mt 7:1-5)
In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul makes this same point: You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. (Rom 2:1)
Instead of judging others, Paul recommends we leave the judging up to God.
I think these passages can be used to inform a gracious response to Mark Driscoll. To be honest, I don’t know him at all. I haven’t had a conversation with him. I don’t know his heart. I don’t know his past or his hurts. I want to be in the business of working on the planks in my own eye, rather than judging the specks in someone else’s eye.
So my response is grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
Discussion: Do you struggle with judging others? What do you think about the balance between grace/mercy and judging others for their actions?