Command Of Christ #15

Hello friends, I will start off by saying that Oregon has to be one of the most beautiful states... I have actually only been to a handful of states, but Oregon is so beautiful!

Anyway, back to the subject of Command #15, which proves to be one of the most convicting commands every time I read it. Command #15 is to Judge Not, "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 thy eye and behold a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite! First cast out the beam that is in thine own eye and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye" (Matthew 7:1-5). Ouch, that was painful to read.

I think this is such a good command for Christians, because for one we are constantly accused of judging (even if we are just holding standards), and two because we often can be the most critical to non-believers and especially to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. The main thing we need to understand is the difference between judging and discerning. Is the following example judging or discerning?:

A family was driving home from church and one family member commented, 'Based on who was put as the new teacher of our class, our church obviously has some serious spiritual needs. His marriage is in trouble, his children are in rebellion, and his clothing and hairstyle are offensive to many people.' (example taken from IBLP's 'Instructions for our Most Important Battle')

To discover the answer let's take a look at the differences between judging and discerning:
Discernment: to test, examine, interpret, evaluate, investigate.
Judgment: to sentence, mentally or judicially condemn, decide, determine.

1) Discernment involves thoroughly examining one's own life before evaluating the actions of another. Judgment 'condemns others for their visible problems, but fails to realize that their attitudes stem from root problems which he himself has not yet overcome.' (Seriously, this is painful to even write about!) Judging is rooted in pride, because we have exalted ourselves above others, to the place of God, where we think we have the ability to know all the facts and judge them. "But let a man examine himself.." (I Corinthians 11:28).

2) Discernment checks all the facts before coming to a conclusion. Judgment makes a verdict based on hearsay. "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24).

3) Discernment 'deals as privately as possible with the problem he sees' and seeks to find solutions for the needs of that person. Judgment is quick to expose the issue and has no interest in helping the person solve deeper issues. This is one of the huge evaluating factors in whether we are judging or discerning. Do we have any desire to meet their needs or are we just condemning them and not caring whether they reach a solution?

Based on these points, the above scenario was judging. We should be discerning, but we need to have the motive of meeting their needs.

Romans 2:1 says, "Therefore, thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest, for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things." O wretched man that I am! This verse is saying that when we judge someone else, it reveals that we have a similar unresolved issue in our own lives. It is basically an alarm that we need to evaluate our lives for this problem.

For example, I had just read about this command and had asked someone if they wanted to listen to a sermon on CD. They said OK, but wanted to finish something up. It was getting late and the activity they were doing seemed much less holy than listening to a sermon so I began to judge them for putting priority on something that I saw as less pious than my CD. God promptly reminded me of what I had been just studying and I began evaluating my own life for how I have but aside more godly pursuits for my own pleasures. I reconciled with God and not even seconds later the someone said they were ready to listen to the CD, even though they were in the middle of what they were doing. The Holy Spirit is ready and willing to teach us!

-When I see a fault in someone's life, is my first thought how I can help?
-Do I see faults in other's lives as a signal to evaluate my own life?
-Do I cut people off when they are doing something I do not approve of?
-Do I use communion as an opportunity to 'judge' myself?

"Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted" (Galatians 6:1).

Notes adapted form IBLP's Commands of Christ study guide and pocket guide.
Non-Scripture quotations taken from IBLP's 'Instructions for our Most Important Battle.'

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