Thursday, May 4, 2017
Sometimes referees have to make a judgment call. That call may result in one team losing. With the stadium divided between two sets of fans, some will charge the referee with bad judgment!
It’s easy to make a judgment. If it wasn’t there wouldn’t be so much of it. Jesus warned, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” Matthew 7:1-2 (NLT). Paul added to it in Romans 2:1.
Sometimes a judgment may seem necessary. Called for or not, the giver feels justified in offering it. Some judgments seem so believable that any doubt appears to deny truth. Judgments are easy to listen to. Even easier to pass on regardless of their merit! Jesus or Paul’s words seldom slow down the passage of such “information”!
Delivering a judgment may be added to or subtracted from with an inflection of speech, raising an eyebrow, or putting it in question form! All is fair in what is told, especially if the news is about someone else.
Some judgments may be good. If not, all of us would be condemned! Jesus nor Paul are condemning judgment per se. Paul made a judgment to proceed to Jerusalem in spite of the Holy Spirit warning him through brethren what would happen (Acts 21:4, 11-14). We all make choices based upon our judgments which may bring a smile or frown without either being sinful. Judgments without all the facts, which result in a lie, harming another’s reputation, falls within the parameters of Jesus and Paul’s warning. Paul informed the Jews of the folly of judging others when they were just as guilty (Romans 2:1). When a lie is spread as truth, each one who “gospelizes it” bears some responsibility. Jesus and Paul warned us to be careful. Many are unaware of the trap they set for themselves! When a person righteously approaches an elder with “A lot of people are upset about . . .” or “I don’t want to get involved, but . . .” it should warn the informant that he is stepping into that trap!
Some form judgments due to misunderstanding what has been said. Others may believe an incident is wrong when the error is in their perception. Some make a statement but the hearer “stretches” it out of context going beyond what was meant.
How many of us hear something but never go to the source to see if it is true? I once had a young preacher come to my office to see if charges made against me by some West Tennessee ministers were true. He named off three or four things. I did not believe nor had I taught any of them. Those who told him never came to me. In fact, until that young man approached me, I did not know such gossip was being circulated. In the judgment of those preachers I was guilty of being a false teacher when I had never believed nor taught what I was charged with. Who started it or how far it had spread I do not know. How many heard it and continued to tell others, without checking with me, I do not know. Even the young preacher was unsuccessful in getting it stopped!
“You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.” Romans 2:1 (NLT).
It’s not difficult to judge. Each of us needs to make sure that neither Jesus’ nor Paul’s statements are directed at us!