When we look at nature around us, it proves something about God – He is creative and detailed! He created such an intricate design on little flowers, large trees, insects, humans – all of His creation is very detailed and amazing!! But there are some things He didn’t share the details on… God didn’t tell us how the sun and earth relate to each other, how the tides work, or how a solar eclipse happens. He didn’t share all the details of the human body and everything that goes on inside the brain! Although men try to, and do understand things in part, the wisdom of man is foolishness to God! He must wonder what humans are trying to prove, believing they know so much about something.
In the same way, God does not lay out exact details on how humans are to live. Just like He doesn’t give all the details on planets and stars, He doesn’t give exact, practical details on how we are to obey Him. To make my point, God wants us to keep a day special for Him. He said in His Ten Commandments “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” But He doesn’t tell us exactly what we can or can’t do on the Sabbath, or on the day we choose to set aside for Him. Paul says in Romans 14:5 “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” So who are we to judge another Christian for how they chose to honor God on Sunday?
Or, He didn’t tell us exactly how to love our neighbor. He told the lawyer the story of the Good Samaritan, but we all know that we won’t be traveling the road to Jerusalem to Jericho, so we’ll need to find practical ways to be a neighbor ourselves.
What we choose to do on Sunday, or how we love our neighbor is not the point I’m making here; rather, I want to think about judgment. We as humans like to think that we know exactly the right way to obey the Bible.
I’ve been thinking so much about having a balanced view. We have so many strong opinions floating around about different things. There are strong feelings on grace and works in relation to salvation, opinions on what type of church you attend, what version of the Bible you read, how you raise your children, what health journey you choose to be on… Everyone, it seems, has an opinion and loves to share with you how they think you should be living life.
Especially in Christian circles, we are very quick to assume we know why someone is doing what they’re doing. We judge a person’s status by how they dress, do their hair, or what kind of vehicle they drive. We so quickly jump to conclusions and say, probably not out loud, “Their children are so bad. They should do a better job at discipline!” “She always looks so put together. She must be kinda stuck up!” “Why isn’t she talking to me? I must have made her mad!” You know what I mean?
When we look at a picture, there are often details that are in focus, and part of the photo is blurred and not in focus. Also, we know that there’s a lot more around the photo that we can’t see. There might be a beautiful flower in focus, but behind it, all fuzzy, there are a few weeds. When we have the camera focused on the beauty, we don’t even notice the weeds too much. Now, if we change the focus of the lense to the weeds, the beauty is blurred by the ugliness of the weeds.
So when we are tempted to judge and criticize others for doing it differently than we think they should, perhaps we should stop and change our focus! There will always be things we don’t agree with, so why would we choose to focus on others’ little bit of junk when there is so much beauty that we could find in their life?
It reminds me of what Jesus said in Matthew 7:
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
We only see part of life, like one moment at a time actually. We only see part of people. We only can see partial circumstances. So if we see someone make a decision that seems questionable or maybe is direct disobedience to God’s Word, let’s not write them off and assume they are a lost cause. Maybe it was just a moment.
People often make mistakes and then feel so terrible that instead of coming to a loving God for forgiveness, they give up and continue making the same mistakes. God welcomes us with all our imperfections! Think of Jesus, he didn’t condemn the adulterous woman whom the Pharisees brought to him. He told her to sin no more, but he did not condemn her. Rather, He allowed truth to speak for itself. “He who is without sin among you, cast the first stone.”
Jesus calls us to love him and others, therein are all commandments combined. It is not about the small things that we are so quick to judge and yet… if we love God, we will love each other. If we love each other we will not judge them but rather be a helper; a prayer warrior for their soul. We will think of creative ways to actively show and express the love of Jesus to everyone we come in contact with.
This brings me to another aspect of judging… Sometimes when we see a fellow human make a mistake, take a wrong turn in their life; instead of reaching out in love and a desire to help, we are tempted to think, “Oh, it’s too messy. I don’t want to get involved because what if people would think I support the choice they made!”
How selfish. How proud. When we are more concerned about our own reputation and what people will think of us, that is wrong indeed.
If our hearts are consumed with loving Jesus and others, we won’t even have time to judge or worry about others judging us. When those judgmental thoughts creep in, we can always turn it around and rebuke the thoughts in Jesus’ name, and then pray for the person whom we were tempted to judge. God calls everyone by name, and He knows the strengths and weaknesses of each individual soul. He can do so much more about situations than we can.
Judging people is a result of our eyes being off of the One whom we claim to serve. Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus and love like He loves. Jesus spoke truth to people, in love. He dined with sinners. He touched and healed the sinsick. Let’s speak healing words of hope and truth about and to those around us.
Wishing you a week filled with the presence of Christ.