Tuesday, September 15, 2009

When not to Judge Part 2


"You pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, "You sit here in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit here at my footstool," have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?" James 2:3-4 (NKJV)


Secondly, don't judge by outward appearance.

We are not to judge a book by its cover. Do you remember Susan Boyle from Britain's got Talent 2009? She came onto the stage looking like an eccentric old maid and everyone turned up their noses at her when she said she wanted to be a singer like Elaine Paige. Well, as soon as she opened her mouth to sing the entire audience watched on in amazement, many dropping their jaws in wonder, many ashamed that they had judged her so harshly.

This kind of judgment is wrong because it is not based on any sin of the person, but our sinful, judgmental perceptions of that person. Often, the root is pride or conceit ("I’m better than they are"). Racism falls into this category because we are judging merely on the person’s appearance and our preconceptions as to what they will be like.

We have no right to judge on a person’s appearance because, even though marred by sin, all people are made in the image of God. So we are really judging God’s choice of skin colour or His choice of looks. Even if we are judging people on the outward appearance due to the effects of sin (such as severe deformities), it is not their own fault and we are really still judging God as He allowed them to be born in this manner.

In the passage of Scripture quoted above James presents the Churches he is writing to with a very real issue that was plaguing their gatherings. There was a division between rich and poor and the rich were taking the better places in the Church meetings and ordering the poor to sit on the floor! To James the issue was not that they were judging but that they were judging "with evil thoughts". In this case the evil thoughts were thoughts of pride and haughtiness where the rich perceived themselves to be more important than the poor.

We are all created equal and have no right to judge others by appearance alone, especially in the Church. The Church should be a place where all are treated equally and this should be a powerful witness to the world.


Do not judge a book by its cover,
You never know what you may discover
As you humbly love and accept one another
As did Jesus towards us as our Divine lover.


"Yes Father, give me the strength to accept others who seem unlovable on the surface. Let me never judge a book by it's cover, but accept others as You do. Amen!"

No comments: