Thursday, August 12, 2010

Are You the Judge?

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way. Romans 14:13

“Judgement” comes from more than one word in Scripture. We are instructed to “judge not, lest ye be judged” (Matthew 7:1), but also that the “spiritual man judges all things” (1 Corinthians 2:15). So, which is it? We can’t judge everything and judge nothing.

One Greek word for judgment is the idea of sizing things up. This is the thought behind judging all things. The spiritual person sizes things up. The purpose is not to condemn the other person, but to help them. If we see something that is out of line in the life of another believer, it is our responsibility to point that out to them (Matthew 18). The result could be that we win our brother over (Matthew 18:15).

The other side of the coin is that we also have spiritual folks who are sizing us up. In turn, we should also be open to their insights. What is obvious to others is not necessarily obvious to us. It’s wise to listen to the insights of others.

The judgment that is prohibited is pronouncing final judgment on someone. “See that’s just the way he is. He will never change.” We don’t know that. Only God knows whether or not a person will ever change. It’s only God’s place to judge people in any sort of final sense. He’s the only one with all of the information. God knows our thoughts and our motives (1 Corinthians 4:5).

In the family of God, we are not allowed to write other people off based on their past performance. That doesn’t mean that we continue to allow their bad behavior. But, we do extend grace and patience to them much like we would want to be treated.

Judgment creates a stumbling block. Who are we to reject the same people that God accepts? Some of us have been deeply wounded by religious people who were so busy policing the boundaries that they forgot to show us the love of Christ.

If we are truly concerned about our brother’s behavior, then we need to sit down with our brother and try to figure out why he does what he does? We need to help our sister figure out why she gets involved with the people that she does? Not because we are better than they are, but because we are the same.

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  1. I find myself so confused sometimes.Confused on when to judge and when not to.Lets face it, when we look at people we judge them as safe or unsafe to a certain degree. I try not too but sometims i see someone and things they wear or expressions trigger a reaction. I had a woman tell me thank you the other day for smiling at her as I walked by. Most of the time people look down when they walk never having eye contact. I know this woman thought to herself....hey look at this white woman smiling at me a black woman.She smiled back and said thank you for that wonderful smile .Yes, it made me feel good.

    I find it hader not to judge my family who has hurt me repeatedly with words and bad behavior.I can smile with ease at a srtranger but put me in a room with my family and I find the air difficult to breath. People who supposedly love me...please .I feel so uncomfortable that judging every commit becomes a focus on a subconscious level.Judging and trust must go hand in hand . I guess this is what i have to work on. Each day I read the devotion and try.

  2. This is a tough one. We know that no one is beyond God's help, yet there are people who so consistently demonstrate the same behaviors over and over, it's a little hard to believe that they might ever change. There's definitely a tension between the two.

    I think that discerning or sizing things up goes hand in hand with trust. There are some folks, who based on their track record and our discernment, are not worthy of our complete trust. I wish it wasn't that way, but that's actually the way that this is supposed to work. If we have some reservations about them, then we can't trust them implicitly. We also can't just write them off. So, what do we do?

    In a message a few weeks ago, I recommended: BLP - Boundaries, Limits and Prayer. We don't have to go for everything they want. We don't have to be available every time they want us to be. We can trust them to a point, but not all of the way. That's not your fault.

    Then, we can pray for them and ask for God to help them understand the truth. Ask for God to work in their lives. Maybe even ask God to save them.

    While we really can't write off people that God hasn't given up on, we can use our God-given common sense in how we trust someone who has let us down.