Friday, February 6, 2009

Judgment or Discernment

Chuckle: As Shadrach said to Meshach and Abednego, "Is it just me or is it hot in here?"

Good Quote: "Righteous indignation is often nothing more than self-righteous irritation." --William Arthur Ward


"Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. Stop criticizing others, or it will all come back on you. If you forgive others, you will be forgiven" (Luke 6:37 NLT).

Aren't we quick to find fault and render judgment on others? Because of our pride, It's so much easier to judge others than to deal with our own shortcomings. In dealing with this subject, we must understand the difference between being judgmental and discerning what is right and wrong. Only God knows the hidden motives behind a person's actions and only he is can decide if that person deserves to be punished. Ultimately, we, as Christians, will all be judged by Christ on the Day of Judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10).

I believe a key motive behind Christ's warning against judging others is his knowledge that there's no way we can be judgmental and redemptive at the same time. After all, as Christians, we are God's ambassadors and his messengers to lead others to Christ. When you are judgmental, you usually are angry or bitter toward that person you are judging and criticizing. If you find yourself with such a critical attitude toward someone, before judging try praying for that person. You will find praying for someone difficult, If not impossible, as long as your harbor your critical attitude. You will either stop praying for them or God will remove your critical judgmental attitude. If you continue to pray, you will find yourself loving that person rather than judging him or her. Jesus clearly tells us that we will be judged if we persist in judging others.

You may say, "OK, Jerry, I understand that I am not to judge others, but how do I deal with those I know are conducting themselves contrary to the standards set forth in God's Word?" This is a good and important question. It's answer deals with what the Scripture calls "spiritual discernment." Jesus tells us that we will know the spiritual condition of a person's heart by the way he or she lives -- by the way they act -- by the fruit they bear (Matthew 7:16). It is the Holy Spirit who gives us spiritual discernment. As we grow in our own spiritual wisdom, we will become more and more adept at discerning between good and evil; between true and false; between the spiritual and secular. As believers, we are to observe the actions of others and discern whether or not they are pleasing to God, not so we can judge or criticize, but so we can, in love, help them become what God wants them to be.

Simply stated, God wants us to see others as he sees them. That is, we discern a persons sins while viewing that person through the filters of love, compassion, and forgiveness. Always have as your goal to reconcile that person to Christ. "And God has given us the task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others. We are Christ's ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you" (2 Corinthians 5:18b-20a NLT). My prayer is that you and I will see others as objects of God's unconditional love, mercy, and grace, and that God will give us the ability to see everyone through the eyes of our Lord.

Love, Jerry & Dotse