May 16, 2017
Like it or not, we are judging something all the time. Someone’s clothes … hair … car … house … cleanliness … weight … attitude … work performance … chores … addictions … or overall behavior and conduct. Some say it is wrong to judge, and we are not to judge … that judging is up to God … that He is the only one who has the right and authority to judge. So they will often quote, “judge not lest ye be judged.”
Elections, referendums, and significant social policy issues are being decided almost every week on the local, state, and national level. Many controversial issues are under the microscope. We want to know what our potential leaders and state governments really believe in and what kind of laws will they support. You see, the laws and policies they advocate reflect their judgments of right or wrong, moral or immoral, Godly or sinful. The declaration of absolutes regarding right and wrong has been replaced in our society by a relativistic view. Relativism advocates that everyone, really anyone, has the right to determine a personal standard of right and wrong, then impose that on others.
On the surface, this relativism appears to be in line with America’s manifest destiny … an independent, autonomous, individualistic mentality. We allow everyone the right to pursue and develop a standard of right and wrong. But do we possess the knowledge, abilities, expertise, and foresight that will allow us to distinguish right from wrong? What happens when people’s standards clash? Whose standard is the bottom line arbiter? The standard we choose has ramifications for the quality of life people will enjoy (or suffer through) on this earth. But more importantly, that standard will determine our eternal destinies as well.
Our Designer and Creator is the only One credentialed to take on this task. And He clearly states His standards in the instruction manual He wrote for us after He created us. Physician-assisted suicide, abortion, Right of Conscience, Same Sex Marriage, denying heterosexual therapy to those with unwanted same-sex attraction, and legalizing marijuana are powerful issues revealing our fundamental beliefs. But one specific issue that affects the very core of our society, the family unit, is under intense scrutiny lately, same-sex marriage. At the core of this issue is whether homosexuality is a genetic condition, meaning something a person is born with, or whether homosexuality is a choice – a learned behavior. Jesus was very clear in Mathew that marriage is between a man and woman. The Bible is clear that same-sex attraction and homosexual activity is sinful. (Listen to a radio interview on Biblical Marriage, May 11, 2012)
So how do we pick our leaders? We need to judge their policies. What about homosexuals, or abortion, or addicts, or people who eat too much? How can we judge behaviors and help people without judging or condemning 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 as the judge or the judged? (For more about Judging, Click here for Stepping Stones series May 21-23, 2013)
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 but not to judge someone’s, heart. We need to make sure our motives for judging conduct are focused on God and serve person we are judging with the goal of helping them grow closer to God.
Today, try to determine whether you are judging a person’s heart or his conduct. Judging hearts 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. Whether you use God’s standards and motivations to judge conduct, or you use your own is your decision, so choose well.
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, insecurities or inadequacies. Help me to use Your standard in living my life and show others how You want them to lead theirs. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One quickest to forgive, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?”
There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?