Here Comes the Judge by AChuckAllen
To judge means: to separate, to pick out, select, choose. By implication, it means to condemn, punish—avenge, conclude.
Our culture often uses Jesus’ words in Matthew chapter seven (“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.“) to promote a tolerance that often encourages acceptance of behaviors that the Bible forbids. We know that wasn’t Jesus’ intention. So, what did Jesus mean when He told us not to judge?
The Bible says we can’t judge what is in someone’s heart. We may assign bad motives to someone who ignores us when, in reality, they are fighting hidden battles. They may have just learned their spouse has been in an affair, or their child has cancer—or both.
Jenny and I were at her garden the other day and noticed a woman about 40 years of age in tattered clothing and a delapidated car parked at the garden park. I made a few assumptions like, “she is going to need money,” and “what’s she doing here?”
A few minutes later, she exited the junk car and walked our way. I asked Jenn if she had any cash, and honestly, I thought, “here we go again.” She stopped and gave us a lot of helpful gardening tips, showed us her thriving garden and then asked about our faith. For a pastor, I was convicted beyond undersatanding. I had assigned to this kind, gracious new friend an assumption that carried with it some significant judgement. Shame on me!
To judge another person shows our degree of selfishness and pride. Only God knows what is in a person’s heart and the effort it takes to function where they are. We might often assume that the late mom is irresponsible. But she may be a single mom working a couple of jobs and caring for a special needs child. We might not know what’s going on and not attempt to know simply out of the terminal certainty of our assumptions.
We can make vast assumptions without caring enough to know the story, heartache or need. The further we are from a problem, the easier the solution seems to us. Just nuke em! Until you realize there are children behind those closed doors, being educated by a missionary from the west. You see, a really good reason not to jump to our preferred assumptions is that the closer we get to a problem, the more complex the solution becomes.
John’s Gospel says “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” We aren’t to judge other Followers of Jesus who practice their faith in ways different than us. We may decide someone is spiritually immature because they don’t pray, dress, or practice faith in the way we do. But we do, don’t we?
Somebody is blasting away at another believer out on Facebook or Twitter about how they teach, preach, dress, sing and far too often we jump on the bandwagon of the mean string of comments. I really cannot find anything about that action that honors the Lord. Has it ever occured to you that you too could be blasted? As a person that gets blasted regularly, it’s often a matter of no significance, but rather, preference.
Maybe you don’t like the tattoo she wears on her ankle or that he has a cold beer when he comes in from cutting the grass. Maybe you think that neighbor that cuts their grass on Sunday morning should be in church, but you don’t really know if they worship at some other time.
Paul wrote, “You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat… So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister” (Romans 14:10, 12, 13).
When we stand before God, He won’t ask us why our friends, neighbors, co-workers or family members did what they did.
He will ask us to give an account of ourselves. To manage ourselves is a full-time job. The Holy Spirit doesn’t need us to do His job.
The scales of justice, God’s justice are not blind at all. You are not to judge others because you have an entire lifetime – and it will take that entire lifetime – to work on you. For every minute you spend judging and criticizing others, you are losing 30 minutes of self-help.
As a Follower of Jesus, what we see in the mirror, and more importantly, what the Lord points out in our time of meditation is more than a lifetime’s worth of effort and surrender without wasting a second on judging, gossiping and critiquing others!
If we truly want a better nation, state, county, city, community, school or home, we might should start by working on a better us.
“Judge not,” like all of Jesus’ commandments, is summed up in love. “Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10).
Let’s lay down our gavels and hang up our robes. Let’s grow up spiritually and know the ways of God. Let’s be wise, be loving, be filled with grace, and let’s be overwhelmed by the mercy of the Divine.
Judge not, lest you be judged.
Go in Peace,