The photo below is the Donner Memorial.
That story demonstrated the horrific dangers of judging incorrectly... on so many levels...
Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?”
“You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?”
Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed. Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath?...
Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”
At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Messiah? But we know where this man is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.”
Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.”
At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. Still, many in the crowd believed in him. They said, “When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man?”
Reading and thinking on these words for several weeks, now, I'm confident of one thing: I'm not, at least in the immediate future, going to be able to study through all of the hundreds of references to judging in the Bible. I can, however, look at a few well-known ones that are often "thrown" around. Each one of these, in my opinion, in context includes a similar statement to what John wrote in his Gospel. Be sure that when you judge, you judge through God-colored glasses.
"Do not judge so that you will not be judged. "For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.…
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat.
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.
1 Corinthians 4:5
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.
And the problem that I see is the same thing that is highlighted in John's gospel. God is very clear - If you are going to judge, make sure you judge correctly.
And that isn't just correctly as in the way we mere mortals consider the word correct. It means we have to see things the same way God would and judge from that perspective... from that total understanding alone. It means I can't default back to what I've always thought was right (or for in the missionary perspective - what is culturally comfortable) without first examining what God thinks is right and doing so thoroughly - no knee jerk reactions or even first studied impressions. Judgement must be based upon careful research and unbiased discernment guided by the Holy Spirit, and Him alone.
Yep... I can see why people would definitely just not judge at all... never call actions into question... never confront another with behavior that does not appear to match up to God's Word... never examine motives or try to understand the why in things that don't make obvious sense - once they've realized this:
Choosing to judge means choosing to accept a huge responsibility - that of judging correctly... the way God would... and not just forming an etched in stone opinion based upon cursory or initial study and some gut-level intuition or re-activity to a situation.
Sinfully, most times I judge, I do the second.
Or I throw out judgment with the proverbial bathwater, and refuse to judge at all - and I really don't think that is what God is commanding us to do.
In fact, I don't think we just can't not judge. In fact, we make judgments all the time disguised in other words - an opinion, an evaluation, a discernment, a value... Most of the times, the ones crying, "Don't judge!" should really be crying, "Don't judge me or that person I care about or am invested in... or our actions." Yet what about all those times we welcome favorable judgment and a complimentary critique?
So I think the big question remains: "Can I learn to judge like God does? Can I discern correctness from Him and His leading, or will it always be colored by my finite perspective?"
What do you think?
this week's gratitude list
(#'s 4312 - 4331)
a very long and much needed Sunday afternoon nap
an 18 year old in the family
a getting healthier 18 year old (although he was a bit sick for his birthday)
buying bus tickets so that I get so see that boy in a few weeks
fun potluck after church yesterday
talking with a young couple very interested in missions in Africa
a long-awaited The Mentalist episode aired
hanging out with a friend for the day
beginning of basketball and cheerleading practice
hoping for a job for a certain girl
health insurance questions for the kiddos answered
the gift of venison shared by friends
learning to play euchre - and lots of laughter
planning a Christmas trip
6th grader choosing to clean the kitchen... on her daddy's kitchen clean up day
looking forward to Thanksgiving and a visit from the Cali-clan
new friends willing to help in surprising ways
being forced outside my comfort zone
having friends from the past (one of Tim's AWANA leaders) show up at our church meeting yesterday - it was such an encouragement
Ten most recent posts in this series:
- Wanted "Every When"
- Bread of Heaven... Bread of Life
- "gong-good'-zo" - Go ahead and say that, just like it looks like it sounds.
- "Stop grumbling among yourselves!"
- Not so much about filling tummies... but lives...
- To Whom Shall We Go?
- Learned? Schmearned!
- Instead judge correctly (part 1)
- Instead judge correctly (part 2)