John 7:24

Everyday with God

What Jesus Said

'Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgement.'
John 7:24
To judge or not to judge? For hundreds of years, Christians have debated the definition of 'judging'. Many Christ followers will argue that we must not judge one another, and by doing so, we are sinning. It is true, that while we are not intended to judge others without first doing the difficult work of self-examination, all judgements are not wrong. Another term we use might be more descriptive -  'discernment'. The scriptures are clear that we must engage in wise and honest evaluations in many areas of life, relationships, and work.
 
This verse, spoken by Jesus at the temple, gives us clarity.
 
- Stop judging by appearances. Judging by appearance is one form of judgmentalism. This is the sin of making assumptions about the whole based on only what the outside looks like. This was a consistent sin of the Jewish leaders of Jesus' time - focusing on external things while interpreting the law as they saw fit. Jesus condemned the hypocritical judgement of those who held others to a high standard, higher than they themselves were willing to live by. Our conclusions about others must not slander them and instead, must be true and must protect their reputations.
 
- Judge correctly. We must discern between what we are supposed to do, and wisely and honestly evaluate without hating, condemning, and without slandering another. So, while we are not to judge others to boost our own self-concept, we are called to carefully, and thoughtfully, distinguish evil and light.
 
The key to understanding Jesus' teaching is to look at the condition of our own heart. We are to make proper judgements about right and wrong, but not out of pride or self-righteousness. We cannot take God's place in judging. However, we are to be discerning and act appropriately on truth.
 
Today, refuse thoughts of judgement against a friend, spouse, co-worker, or politician. Refuse to slander another either verbally or mentally. Pray that God will work in you to be more focused on your own heart, rather than assuming the condition of another's.
Linda Miller | Ministry Development 

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