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The Rewards/Penalty System And Human Character Judgments

The Rewards/Penalty System

I've tried to depart from living by the rewards/penalty system that I was raised up with, and which is performed in the corporate realm. Dangling carrots or issuing threats to get people to perform. I guess I view the rewards/penalty system (which I was taught in corporate management classes) as a manipulation tactic intended to coax lesser minds into a set of performance requirements. If you do bad, you'll be punished (you'll go to hell) but if you do good, you'll be rewarded (you'll go to heaven).

Although I sincerely believe in heaven and hell, I nonetheless view that the reality of their existence should never be used to manipulate people according to a performance-based system. We ought do good works despite the rewards, whether or not we recieve a reward. And those who seek after purely reward will surely come short of it, when dealing with eternal matters.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21 NAS95)


Shall The Doctor Play The Judge?

I believe that the rewards punishment system was a former system.
Chronic smokers may develop lung cancer or chronic drinkers may develop liver illness. But I do not view these as punishments. Shall the doctor also play the judge?

Is divorce a punishment? Or war? Or illness? Or slavery? I don't view them as such.

If God never got involved with people's eternal souls, sinners would still go to hell by default. Likewise, saints enter the heavenly kingdom solely by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, as opposed to anything that they've done.


The New Versus The Old

I suggest that the old is passing away and the new is being revealed. However, the new may not yet be fully manifest to our senses.

Elijah pulled fire from the sky and Moses pulled fire from the ground. These were judgments of God according to the old law. Whether a person was consumed by the fires of heaven or the fires of hell, the result was the same.

If one is still subject to the mandates of the old law, judgment is imminent. However, the message of the grace of Christ was later manifested upon the earth.

1 John 2
7 Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard.
8 On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining.

1 John 2
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.


Grace And Love Motivation

I believe that the true Christian is motivated by grace....

Ephesians 2
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

....and love....

1 John 4
16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.


Psychology Of A Judgmental Person

Two particular groups of people who judge others are often those who first originate from any of three categories:

1. Those who are first guilty of sin themselves but cannot conscience it, so they engage in a projected guilt transference upon others, instead of repenting of their own sins; or

2. Those who have been directly victimized by the sins of others, and who therefore vindictively seek painful justice upon the wicked; or

3. Both.


Different Types Of Judgment

The word "judge" can possess different definitions depending on the context of the passage. One context of the word "judge" may merely involve fact evaluation, whereas another context of the word may imply accusatory condemnation.

Is it biblical to render character judgments upon the souls of others? If so, then when and how?

For example, here is a verse from the book of Matthew in the context of disciplinary excommunication.

Matthew 18
16 "But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED.

I would ask concerning the judgments rendered here. Are these judgments made simply concerning the facts of a case, or are they issued as a character judgment toward a human soul? The differentiation would be between judging lifeless things versus judging a living soul.


Human Character Judgments Fall Short

I believe that human character judgments typically fall far short, of how we should view people spiritually, through the eyes of God.

Matthew 7
1 "Do not judge so that you will not be judged.
2 "For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.

Humanity's natural tendency is predisposed to sin, if we are strictly referring to the sin nature, as opposed to humanity's inherent design, as authored by the Holy Spirit.

Psalms 51
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.


Humanity Was Made In God's Perfect Image

It may seem a contradiction of terms that I'm presenting here, but I view the sin "nature" as being quite "unnatural". At least in contrast to God's perfect inherent design, which is written deeper than the very DNA of every human being.

Genesis 1
27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

We are created in God's perfect image. Should we better understand this reality, we would become cleansed of our consciousness of sins, so that we may begin to live in spiritual freedom.

Hebrews 10
2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins?

The Law of Moses serves to justly educate our carnal conscience, by imparting a consciousness of sins. This sin consciousness likewise imparts death, via the burden of guilt and fear that it inherently carries. We become aware of our sin nature, wherein we lack any true desire or capacity of repentance, within our carnal state of consciousness. With this Law knowledge, we then also become aware of the judgment which imminently awaits.

Conversely, the Gospel of Christ serves to cleanse us not only of sin, but also enlightens us regarding our inherent divine image, cleverly fashioned by the Holy Spirit of God. This new spiritual awareness, concerning our divine identity as children of God, thereby frees us not only from our own sins, but also from the consciousness thereof, which otherwise imparts only death.


Comparing Ourselves One Against Another

If indeed we judge the character of others, are we not then merely comparing ourselves one against the other? But if we judge ourselves and others, as compared to the righteous character of God, then we shall all stand condemned.

James 4
1 What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?
2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.

Proverbs 22
2 The rich and the poor have a common bond, The LORD is the maker of them all.


Mortal Judgments Are Blemished With Bias

Perhaps if we could offset the biases and prejudices in our judgments of others, then we could more readily use our information in a positive way. I'm not aware of how one would come to a positive active result, when biases and prejudices blemish the discernment.

But I must agree that biases and prejudices are part of the carnal human instinct. I just would not attempt to negate the destructive influence that they play into our judgments, and therefore our subsequent actions toward and/or interactions with other people.

2 Corinthians 5
16 Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.


Subconscious Psychological Suffering

For example, something much deeper is going on with kids on a subconscious and/or unconscious level. To think that kids are violently assaulting each other on the streets on the mere basis of obtaining a pair of shoes would, in my opinion, be rather naive. This may be true on a mere conscious level with these kids, but I greatly suggest that deeper issues are transpiring within them, of which they are not even aware.

Nor do I dismiss the involvement of ego in the slightest. Rather, I suggest that these core subconscious and/or unconscious thought modifiers only serve to amplify the ego-complex that various scripture references mention.

There is indeed a nice list of very fine scriptures that demonstrate the reality of sin and human ego, but I was never really refuting this reality. Rather, my initial comments are toward dynamics that unerringly transpire on a deep psychological level. These deep transpirings do not, however, negate the reality of ego and sin.

I view it as a rather dualistic philosophy that human suffering and ego cannot and/or do not transpire simultaneously. Rather, I suggest that human suffering and the egocentric sin nature are indeed inseparable.

Many children are obviously suffering quite deeply and will continue to suffer into adulthood. Even if their conscious minds shut out the awareness of their own suffering from their early youth and for decades to come. Nonetheless, the deep inner suffering may manifest in many violent ways and beyond the perpetrators' own conscious awareness. I don't believe anyone's behaviors originate from strictly a conscious level.

Jeremiah 17
9 "The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?

Jeremiah 17
9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?


Internal And External Influences

Again, I do not view internal and external influences as being two polar opposites. I suggest that they both play a role to influence both children and adults, each one reinforcing the other.

Please understand that I am not arguing against the fact that environmental influences have an adverse effect on people. Rather, I believe that internal things (such as pride, hate, pain, fear) also possess a vast influence on people.

Again, I reiterate that many of these things occur on a subconscious level. Although children may appear extremely superficial at times, and therefore easily manipulated by their environment, I believe that it is only fitting to bring them to a greater conscious awareness of what transpires within them, if and when they may be ready.
This a very informative thread . Now please explain how you take all this info , and operate through our sinfull natures to bring forth the truth of Gods word ? Brother Mike