Monday, March 22, 2021by Reverend Dan on March 22, 2021
“Judge not, lest ye be judged.”
I know what you’re thinking. I really do.
You’re thinking, ‘Haven’t the last five devotionals been just one big judgment of people who judge? You’re a hypocrite, preacher!”
First . . . yeah, you’re totally right. You could completely read these as judgmental invectives. And I admit, I am writing them as someone who is part of the problem.
But when it comes to judgment, Paul makes it clear we are not to judge the world, but we are to practice discernment in the church. And there is a distinction (at least in my mind) between judgment and discernment.
Now granted, it’s a very fine line, and I’m back and forth over it all the time. And because of that, this entire little series could be a complete failure in what it sets out to accomplish.
I guess what I struggle with the most in the church today is that we rush to judge outsiders and rarely look in the mirror. That’s the exact opposite of what Paul instructed us to do.
The reality is that people’s lives are plagued by problems. People struggle every day with addictions, failed relationships, bad decisions, emotional outbursts, and so many other things. But sitting in judgment of them doesn’t help. At all.
We need to reach out to people because we have been reached out to ourselves. We need to stop judging each other, whether someone is exactly like us or the polar opposite because as long as we’re judging, we’re not helping.
True judgment is reserved for God. Discernment is a human trait and seeks to help.
Discernment says there is a problem, but lovingly, humbly, prayerfully, empathetically tries to help instead of judge. And the person on the receiving end of the help senses it. They know when they’re being judged, and they know when they’re being loved.
That’s why I spent so many days on this topic. I want to help. I want these devotionals to help. You see, they were written for me. You just happened to get to read them. I need to do better. I want to stop judging and start helping. And I hope you’ll join me.
Finally, if these devotionals seem a little harsh, remember that Jesus’ harshest words were reserved for arrogant, judgmental leaders inside the faith. At times, we’ve probably all been that insider. I know I have.
Jesus was rarely harsh to people outside the faith. We’d be so much better as people – and as a church - if we were the same.
O.K., I’m done. Court is recessed.
Father very simply, help us to stop judging others . In Jesus’ name, AMEN.