Father, my thoughts can be critical,
my heart not always pure,
I need Your wisdom Lord.
Help me to know the difference
between Your ways & the world’s!

Focus of the month: “You have heard it said…”

Browsing the shelves at a local bookstore a few weeks ago, it hit me that most books don’t jump out at me. In fact, I discovered I am rather picky about what draws my attention and what doesn’t. Does the title sound interesting? Have I read other books by this author? Do I really need what this book is selling? Do I need the help this book promises to give?

Maybe that’s the way you feel every Monday morning when this post is released…will it provide what I need to hear? After all, the author’s seem convinced that it will. So, if we don’t judge a book by its proverbial cover, how should we judge it? Well, that’s for another blog…but I Made You Look….didn’t I?

Since we are on the topic of judging, we might as well explore some scriptures on it. As we move further into Jesus’ sermon on the mount, we come upon one of the most widely quoted of His messages,

“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.
Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye,
but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” 

Some of us will use this verse to silence others from correcting us. Many will fear the thought of judging others harshly because they won’t want God to judge them harshly. And while Jesus does say “Do Not Judge”… there is more to this than simply that statement. He is reminding us that we are all guilty of some type of sin, or wrong-doing. Not one of us can speak to another person’s sin while we wallow in our own. We must examine ourselves, repent, and turn away from the sin and then God is just and fair to forgive us. Are we just and fair?

This command not to judge others doesn’t mean we shouldn’t discern right from wrong. Jesus wasn’t saying “anything goes.” He reminds us over and over in the scriptures that following Him means turning away from wrong doing and living a life that is honoring to God. A life honoring God is a life that is reverent to His Word.

In the book of John, Jesus says, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” (John 7:24) We can confidently say that superficial judging is wrong. Appearances can be deceiving…just like a cover of a book. Harsh or unforgiving judgment is also misplaced. God judges us with grace and mercy…forgiveness! We are called to be humble in our corrections of others, not prideful. God sees the heart of the person. He refused to forgive the Pharisee’s sin because of the self-righteous prideful correction.

It is true that as a Christ follower Jesus’ very words can be used against you as you seek to reveal a sinful behavior of another person. Be mindful, be fair, be gentle in your words and stature. May we look in the mirror to examine ourselves, measure our words and contemplate our actions before we go out into the world in judgement.

After all, if we haven’t read HIS book we don’t know what He is teaching.

Holding Fast to Hope,
Jen

Scripture References: Matthew 7:1-6; John 7:24; 1 John 1:9; Proverbs 18:13