Tuesday, September 15, 2009

When not to Judge Part 4


"Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?"
James 4:11-12 (NKJV)


Lastly, don't judge with critical opinions of others.

In this passage in James we learn me must not "speak evil of one another". James does not say we must not judge at all, only that we must not speak judgmentally against others with a critical spirit, even if what we say is true.

When we criticize others, we are placing ourselves in the position as judge and pronouncing judgment upon them when we may not know or understand all the details of why they are doing what they are doing. If we have the authority to judge their situation (such as when they come to us for counsel and we are in the place to counsel them), we need to judge purely from the principles and truths in the Word of God without imposing our own opinion.

Here James is primarily saying that we should not judge others based an outsider's perspective. It was F.B. Meyer, I believe, who once said that when we see a brother or sister in sin, there are two things we do not know: First, we do not know how hard he or she tried not to sin. And second, we do not know the power of the forces that assailed him or her. We also do not know what we would have done in the same circumstances.

At a pastor's conference in Spokane, Chuck Swindoll told of being at a California Christian camp. The first day there a man approached him and said how greatly he had looked forward to hearing Dr. Swindoll speak and his delight at now finally being able to realize that desire.
That evening Swindoll noticed the man sitting near the front. But only a few minutes into the message the man was sound asleep. Swindoll thought to himself that perhaps he was tired after a long day's drive and couldn't help himself. But the same thing happened the next few nights, and Dr. Swindoll found his exasperation with the man growing.

On the last night the man's wife came up and apologized for her husband's inattention to the messages. She then explained that he had recently been diagnosed as having terminal cancer and the medication he was taking to ease the pain made him extremely sleepy. But it had been one of his life-long ambitions to hear Dr. Swindoll speak before he died, and now he had fulfilled that goal.
Unless you have the authority given to you to judge a person in a moral issue (such as if you are their parent or counsellor) then you should always give them the benefit of the doubt and keep your mouth firmly closed and your heart open to them.


What I see concerning others
is only one small part,
I tend to look only on the surface
But God looks at the heart.


"Lord, help me to see others through Your eyes and not judge others with critical opinions not know their full story. Help me to withhold judgement when it is not right to judge and release love and mercy instead, giving others the benefit of the doubt rather that gossiping and speaking critically of them. Amen!"

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