May 22, 2012

Judge carefully

Article first published as Trust No One! on Blogcritics.



"Trust no one" seems to be the motto of people today.  We cannot take people at their word. We are so judgmental, we automatically assume the worst of people.  My oldest son once said that when we look at people and decide who they are by what they do and not by taking the time to get to know them, it only makes us stupid.  I agree. I have seen it more over the past few years and it saddens me.  

We each need to consider that we all struggle with some kind of sin in our life.  No one is blameless (Romans 3:23).  Being judgmental is sinful and God warns us about doing so.  You would think that those who judge would heed God’s warning, For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  Matthew 7:2 but sadly they dismiss it.

When we form our opinion of someone based on their actions or appearance, we are being judgmental.  When we assume we know motives because of choices made, we judge.  No one has ever walked in another person's shoes.  No one has ever lived inside of another person's marriage.  No one has ever lived within the walls of another person's home.  This being the case, no one has the right to make judgment calls.  PERIOD!

“He told them, “Consider carefully what you do, because you are not judging for mere mortals but for the LORD, who is with you whenever you give a verdict. Now let the fear of the LORD be on you. Judge carefully, for with the LORD our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery.”
2 Chronicles 19:6-7

All around us people tear apart other people because of judgement.  They condemn.  They gossip and judge.  It is like a cancer.  Why you ask?  That kind of sin, eats away at the human soul.  When you view the world and the people in it through judgmental eyes, you are the one who suffers.  You lose joy because all you can see is judgment.

Condemnation is not of God.  Those who condemn are being used by Satan to harm.  His mission is to steal, kill and destroy and that is what he does when we choose to succumb to his tactics.  He does his best to rip apart families and relationships. He uses our judgmental attitudes towards one another to accomplish this very thing. Those who condemn are great at pointing out the problem but cannot seem to help find a solution.  Condemnation points out failures and calls us losers.

Now don’t get me wrong, I believe as Christians that we are to hold one another accountable.  When we notice another brother or sister in sin, we should confront them in love and help them find their way back but I believe that is where our job ends.  It is NOT our job to condemn…but we do. Only God can change a heart.  ONLY GOD!  It is our job to love not slander.  It is God’s job to convict.   Conviction points us to an answer. Conviction reminds us that the blood of Jesus washed away our sins. Conviction is God’s job.

Jesus says, If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.”  John 12:47  When we walk with Christ, we are free.  Not free to sin but free from condemnation.  It is Satan who uses our past, our scars and our regrets as ammo against us.  He uses those very things through those closest to us to remind us of our past. Those whom the enemy uses, becomes our enemy as well because even believes can be used by Satan to discourage other believers. Satan attempted this very thing by using Peter to try to discourage Jesus as He announced His impending death to His disciples.  

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Matthew 16:23

Because Jesus has the mind of God, He recognized the schemes of Satan but that is not always the case for us.  We do not have the insight to know when someone is being used for evil instead of good.  Someone we know and love approaches us with words and we take it to heart.  We think, “They know me and love me so they must be speaking truth.”  Guess what?  NOT always true.

We have to grab hold of truth and claim it!

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” 
Philippians 4:4-9 

We must learn to think on what is true.  When we focus on God’s truth, there is peace.  When we focus on God’s truth our hearts and minds are guarded.  This is how we can test what we hear from others.  If is brings about hurt (not conviction) or doubt, turn to God’s word, HIS Truth and allow Him to speak.  Only God knows the heart.  Only God knows the hearts of those in our life.  It is not our place to make a judgment call based on what we see or hear.  Though we may not agree, we do not know the battles faced by others or the hurt they have experienced.  However, we do know that God loves them and we are called to love them as well.  We cannot love with God’s love if we love with a judgmental spirit.

I fully suspect I will receive some unhappy emails or comments after this posting but you know what, it needs to be said.  It needs to be addressed.  Judgmental people, both friends and family, have hurt me.  Judgmental people have hurt my very close friends.  People I love and care about have walked away from church because of judgmental  people.  I stated earlier that we as believers are to hold each other accountable.  That accountability extends to every sin, not just the ones that we consider “bad”.  Every sin, both great and small (in our opinion) nailed Jesus to the cross.

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