May 29, 2012
Yesterday, we opened up the topic of judging others. We saw how we are simultaneously called to judge and not to judge. We tried to differentiate between these two seemingly contradictory callings. The main element that clarifies the confusion involves looking at the hearts of both the judger and the judged. You see, we are to judge others’ behaviors, but not their hearts. 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. Only He declares, and more importantly, carries 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. As we discussed yesterday, certain behaviors, like homosexuality, abortion, addiction, overeating, gossiping, and your own pet vice are wrong. So how do we “judge” those behaviors and bring God’s love and forgiveness to help heal the person with the sinful behavior? Again, the permission to judge is contingent upon the motivating engines in our hearts. We need to ask what drives our criteria and actions as we judge another person. In a recent radio interview I tried to communicate hope and love to those who struggle with homosexuality.
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 forbids and detests. But isn’t this the definition of what our flesh, that inner core of our insecure being, is all about? Satan certainly does all he can to accentuate this “me first” mentality by tempting us to fall into lazy, me-centered behavior.
Instead, our motivation needs to be one of compassion, love, service, and encouragement. We are to help others avoid reaping the perilous fruit of the flesh that continuous wrong behavior produces. We are to be the vehicle or mouthpiece of God, trying to direct others to God and His Word as their source of direction, healing, and transformation so all of us can overcome inappropriate or sinful behavior.
Another component to consider is how we approach the person. Since we don’t know his (or her) motivation, we need to ask questions to help him recognize the misconduct. We can lovingly help him identify the motivations, fears, and issues, and the me-centered process that led to the wrong behavior. We also want him to know God’s forgiveness, and God’s desire to receive him back into a transforming relationship.
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 his spiritual walk … or a major stumbling block … depending on where your heart is as you handle this assignment from God and for God. See our curriculum Into My Arms, which helps heal people who experienced the trauma of abortion, and pass it on to someone you know needs healing. Judging is your decision, so choose well why you do it.
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. Help me to recognize the people in my life whom you call me to “judge”. Teach me 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 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