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Stepping Stones: How Should We “Judge” One Another?

Stepping Stones: How Should We “Judge” One Another?
May 19, 2011 Lighthouse Network

Transformational Thought

Yesterday, we opened up the topic of judging others. We saw how we are called not to judge but yet called to judge. We tried to differentiate between these two seemingly contradictory callings. The main element that clarifies the confusion involves looking at the heart of both the judger and the judged. You see, we are to judge others behaviors, but not their heart.

So what right do we have to condemn others? We are not perfect. Jesus made this clear to the crowd condemning the woman caught in adultery (John 8:3-9). They were clamoring to stone her, but Jesus asked, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” One by one, her accusers disappeared.

Condemnation is such a final judgment, and we don’t have the right, authority, or power to condemn anyone. Only God has the perfect slate and is the author of the standard to declare, and, more importantly, carry out the final judgment of “Condemned!”

But according to the Bible, we are called as parents to correct our children … to pick elders and church leaders with certain character … to vote for Godly leaders … to be a third party helping settle a dispute between two brothers. So again, the permission to judge rests in the motivating engine in our heart that drives our criteria and actions as we judge another person.

If the motivation for judging someone is to condemn, shame, mock, belittle, or somehow, lower them … or to exalt ourselves, then obviously, this is not the kind of peer judging God calls us to engage in. But isn’t this the definition of what our flesh, that inner core of our insecure being, all about? Satan certainly does all he can to accentuate this mentality and tempt us to fall into lazy, me-centered behavior.

On the contrary, our motivation needs to be one of compassion, love, service, and encouragement. Trying to help someone avoid reaping the perilous fruit of the flesh that continued wrong behavior produces. Being the vehicle or mouthpiece of God, trying to direct them to God and His Word as their source of direction, healing, and transformation so they can overcome inappropriate or sinful behavior.

Another component to consider is how we approach the behaviors in question. Since we don’t know their motivations, we need to ask questions. Help them recognize the misconduct and start to help them search their hearts for the motivations, fears, issues, and me-centered process that led to the wrong behavior. We also want them to know God’s forgiveness, and His desire to receive them back into a transforming relationship with Him.

Today, jot down on a piece of paper the names of people in your life whose behavior God allows you to monitor and judge. Examine your heart and motivations in this assignment. If God has put you in a special position to speak into another person’s life, do it with love and with the motivations described above. You can be a great catalyst in their spiritual walk … or a major stumbling block … depending on where your heart is as you handle this assignment from God and for God.

Prayer
O God, I know I am sometimes quick to judge … and to condemn. Please forgive me. Help me to really see how you want to partner with me in ministry and have put people in my life for me to “judge”. Help me recognize the seriousness of this responsibility and guard my heart from my flesh and Satan. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One slow to judge, always a servant, and quick to forgive, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!

The Truth
The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.
John 8:3-9

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