March 19th – Judging



It was an argument between a man and wife about a special advertisement offer which seemed too good to be true. ‘The trouble with you is that you have no judgement. You believe any old rubbish. You swallow any old sales pitch’, said the man. The woman replied ‘That’s because I’m a Christian. I don’t judge people because Jesus said that it was wrong’. ‘Judge not, for the judgement you give will be the judgement you get’.
‘That’s a load of rubbish’ the man replied, ‘you can’t go through life like a nodding dog in the rear window of a car, agreeing with everything. That shows you’ve no judgement. That’s the trouble with you …’ And so it went on.
You can imagine the rest. Another argument raged which had nothing to do with the sales talk and shifty salesmen. The problem was a confusion between two vastly different things, but each using the same word, ‘judgement’.
When Christians are commanded not to judge their fellow man, they are not being ordered to be gullible idiots, swallowing any old propaganda – they are not being told to suspend their critical faculties, and have no opinions, and be taken in by every trick in the con-artist’s book. The command not to judge should mean one thing to Christians. You are not permitted to set yourself up as God. You are not the judge of all the earth. You don’t know the secrets of other people’s hearts, so you are forbidden adopting fault-finding, superior, critical attitudes about them. Perhaps we should reserve the word ‘condemn’ for what we do wrong in judgement. We are not to be self-righteously critical, except about ourselves. That’s what Paul meant when he said, for example, when at the Lord’s table, each one should judge, i.e. critically examine himself to avoid coming under the judgement of God. As for using your capacity to exercise judgement. Then never blame the Bible if you choose to be a nodding dog, mindlessly accepting any old pack of lies.You are to judge between anti- Christian behaviour, and what is true and good. You are to recognise a tree by the fruit it grows. You are to test the spirits to see if they be of God or not, for false prophets are always plausible. Christians are commanded to have their wits about them, and also to remember that they may reject the ’sales pitch’ but never the salesman. Jesus said in Matthew 7: 1-5, 15-16. : Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way as you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 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?
A Prayer: Lord, this day guard me against a prejudiced, critical lovelessness which judges unfairly. Grant me this day to be as wise as a serpent but as harmless as a dove.
Now read Colossians 3: 12-17

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Before Christ, a man loves things and uses people; after Christ he loves people and uses things. (H. Wood)

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