Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 19, 2015
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:36-37
It’s easy to judge quickly before the facts are in, especially if a friend has been hurt. As he describes his injustice—I instinctively want to side with his argument. He may be 100% accurate in his assumptions. However, I can comfort my friend without condemning his alleged offender. Love is patient to hear the whole story. When I take the time to understand the truth I am able to make a fully informed assessment. By God’s grace, when I refrain from judgment—I model humility, not pride. Mercy and forgiveness resist the temptation to feel morally superior.
Jesus writes to an audience of self-righteous scribes and Pharisees who were very rigid in their religion. No joy. No laughter. No smiles. No smelling the roses. Only a hard, firm jawed, uncompromising countenance. Uptight about everything, relaxed about nothing. Always quick to zero in on the faults of others, but slow to see their own. They notice a vague rise of smoke from a residence a mile away and declare the house on fire, only to learn it was a working chimney. Meanwhile they stand in front of their own home unaware it is ablaze behind them.
“Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it” (James 4:11).
The pseudo spiritual often judge with their own version of the truth, but rarely do they validate the truth and personally apply it to their own life. How do you keep your biases and beliefs from becoming a club of judgment? One way is to not ask shameful “why” questions. For example, avoid judgmental probing like, “Why did you go to that movie, read that book, eat that food or wear those clothes?” Moral superiority drives a wedge in relationships and drives away people in need of love and acceptance. Listen to other viewpoints. Disagree without being disrespectful.
We can easily project shame onto someone who does not embrace our preferences. It’s a full-time job to understand and confess our own imperfections without working part-time to point out the faults of friends. Yes, it is easier to be judgmental than compassionate. Like a grenade, we can quickly pull the pin of criticism and toss it into another soul, who writhes from verbal shrapnel as we leave. Or we can ask the Holy Spirit to do spiritual surgery on us, so we are healthy enough to care for the emotionally wounded. Refrain from judgment and defer to Judge Jesus!
“There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:12).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I receive Your grace and mercy, so I can offer Your grace and mercy.
Related Readings: Job 31:14; Romans 2:21, 14:10; Galatians 6:1; Revelation 13:10; 18:6
Post/Tweet this today: Mercy and forgiveness resist the temptation to feel morally superior. #refrainfromjudgment #wisdomhunters
Additional Resource: 5 minute video- Gaithers: Burdens are Lifted at Calvary
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