Recently, while leading a group of businessmen in a Bible study, I had the uncomfortable feeling that I was being scrutinized…and judged, as several of the men projected a supercilious manner in icily quizzing me:
“With what group are you affiliated? What is your educational background? What is your theological position on such and such…?” etc..etc..
In reflecting back on that encounter I am reminded of Paul’s admonition:
“…Why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat?” (Rom. 14:10)
Here, “judging” conveys a censorious attitude toward others without first possessing the facts. That is not to suggest that we should avoid the practice of carefully looking for the evidence of godliness in professing believers’ lives: “…By their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matt. 7:15-20)
The Scriptures inform us that judgmental people:
- Tend to be blindly self-righteous:
King David, for example, piously condemned the man in Nathan the Prophet’s story who had stolen another man’s lone sheep, while he himself had stolen Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba:
“David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die!.’“ (2 Sam.12:1-10) (Also Rom. 2:1-4; Jn. 8:1 – 11)
- Tend to be harder on others than they are on themselves:
Christ admonished us, “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?” (Matt. 7:3)
- Await God’s judgment:
“…When you, a mere man, pass judgment on them…do you think you will escape God’s judgment?” (Rom. 2:3)
Isn’t it Christ’s way to accept people by assuming the best of them until they give us good reason to believe otherwise? After all, “love looks for a way of being constructive.” (I Cor. 13:4. J. B. Phillips)
Certainly this is how Jesus treated Peter the day they met. Christ, knowing full-well of Peter’s future instability, gave him a name that conveyed strength and solidity: “Thou shalt be called Cephas…a stone.” (Jn. 1:42b)
My prayer is that you are having a great week!