Like it or not, we are judging something all the time. Someone’s clothes … hair … car … house … cleanliness … weight … attitude. Some say it is wrong to judge, and we are not to judge … that judging is up to God. He is the only one who has the right and authority to judge. So they will often quote, “judge not lest ye be judged.”
But in 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 judge false Bible teachers … to confront gossiping, addiction, or adulterous behavior … even to be a third party helping settle a dispute between two Christian brothers.
How can we carry out these duties without judging the individuals? What a dilemma … to judge or not to judge. How do we know when to judge and when to sit tight? Sorting out these contradictory instructions and scenarios is complex, and I don’t want to oversimplify, but most can be boiled down to this: what’s at the center of your heart motivating your behavior, either as the judge or the judged?
Only God can see into hearts and truly judge the full scope of an event. We can judge conduct, but only hypothesize about the motivation leading to the person’s conduct. God knows everything and judges accurately, impartially, and according to absolute truth. We are too limited to make the same quality judgments. We are called to judge conduct (tomorrow we will look at that element a little more), but not to judge someone’s heart. We do need to make sure our motives for judging conduct are focused on God and serve the person we are judging.
Today, try to determine whether you are judging a person’s heart or their conduct. If you are judging heart, that is a dangerous area that needs to be approached with extreme caution. If you are called to judge a person’s conduct, examine your heart and motives. Then glorify God in how you present that assessment to the individual you are called to serve.
Dear Father God, I know I am sometimes quick to judge … and to condemn. Please forgive me. Help me understand my own issues better, and resolve my needs so I don’t feel compelled to judge and ridicule others to lessen my fears, anxieties, or insecurities and inadequacies. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One quickest to forgive, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;”
There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?