March 19, 2015

Refrain From Judgment

Written by Wisdom Hunters

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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Comments

  1. Janet Ferraro says:

    Good morning, Boyd!
    I am in total agreement with the word today on refraining from judgment and on adding fuel to someone’s fire. There are times when it’s easy to jump on the bandwagon of ‘righteous indignation’ in the name of ‘truth and compassion’.
    We sometimes take on another’s offense in trying to stand with a brother or sister in Christ and end up helping them justify their sense of injustice rather than leading them to a place of trust in God for their situation.

    There is something I hope you might address at some point~
    that is ‘Righteous judgment’.
    I think I might call it, ‘calling a spade a spade’ or recognizing sin for what it is and not being afraid to call it sin.
    I think it stems from the trend that says there are no absolutes or that anything goes and to recognize sin for what it is, is a form of condemnation.

    I’m sorry I’m not giving you a scripture to base what I’m saying on but I know the Word refers to a righteous judgment that God’s people have authority in using.

    It seems many only want to hear the ‘feel good stuff’ these days. They only want to hear about a God who loves and accepts all and is okay with whatever path they choose to Him or whatever lifestyle than choose to walk in.

    I want to explain to people that God expects us to ‘judge’~ not in a condemning way but in a way that assesses a situation.
    It seems that once people hear the word ‘judge’, their backs go up!

    I’m probably just venting here but maybe you could speak on the difference between righteous judgment and judging to condemn sometime.

    Thanks so much for your faithfulness to the Truth!

    May the Lord pour out a blessing on you that surprises and amazes you!

    Always in Jesus’ Name~

    Janet Ferraro

    1. Gwynne says:

      Dear Janet~
      Thank you for reaching out to us and sharing your very thought-provoking comments about “righteous judgement” and “judging to condemn”. I read your response several times and appreciate the conviction and sincerity in your words.
      In the devotional, “Refrain From Judgement”, Boyd stated “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 judgement-I model humility, not pride.” Perhaps this is the necessary step we must take to prevent “the time when we jump on the bandwagon of ‘righteous indignation’ in the name of ‘truth and compassion”.
      When you commented that “God expects us to ‘judge’ not in a condemning way but in a way that assesses the situation” I believe you are speaking to the great order we read about in God’s word: speaking truth in love.
      Ephesians 4:15 says “Instead speaking truth in love, we will in all things grow into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ.”
      Janet, Boyd wrote a devotional back in January 2013, “friends Warn Friends”, that may speak to what you are saying. Take a look and see if it answers some of your questions.

      https://www.wisdomhunters.com/friends-warn-friends/

      When you stated, “people only hear the word, ‘judge’ and their backs go up” clearly describes a common response that many people have when someone is addressing someone about a “concern”. Only by God’s grace and praying to our Father for His words, are we able to speak truth in love without sounding judgmental.
      Throughout your response, I can “hear” the love and concern you share for others.
      Janet, I hope you take a moment to read the past devotional, “Friends Warn Friends”. If you would like to continue this conversation further, please feel free to contact me gwynne@wisdomhunters.com.
      We are so thankful for you and appreciate your insight. We look forward to hearing from you again.
      Believing and trusting~
      Gwynne

  2. Trina says:

    I understand we are to take the log out of our own eye before approaching a fellow believer about their intentional, habitual sin and we are NOT to judge those outside the faith. My question is where, in 1 Corinthians, we are told to put he who (believer) sins outside of the church, so that he may see the sin ravaging his life, turn away from the sin and be saved for the day of the Lord. Everyone has the thought shalt not judge perfected in this world…problem is if no one lovingly shows them the sin they are practicing is wrong, this world will do nothing but affirm their sin as being acceptable.

    1. Gwynne says:

      Dear Trina~
      Thank you so much for your thought provoking and sincere comments. You are so right when you say that there are many people (believers and non-believers) that may not step up to “lovingly show” a brother or sister that “the sin they are practicing is wrong”. With God’s grace, we can speak truth in love to our brother or sister without being judgemental. Withought God’s grace and prayer beforehand, we could be in trouble as we reach out to the person we are concerned about.

      We are called to be salt and light to the world, not judge and jury. Trina, Boyd wrote a devotional on Jan. 15, 2013 called “Friends Warn Friends” that speaks to this clearly and I would love for you to read it.

      https://www.wisdomhunters.com/friends-warn-friends/

      In this past devotional, Boyd states, “If so, you may be God’s instrument to instruct them in the way to go.” He also states, “Most importantly, friends warn friends to not forsake their faih in Christ. A friend loves at all times is able to tell the truth in love.” Speaking truth in love can be uncomfortable some of the time, but with God’s grace and praying to our Heavenly Father for His sweet words, we are able to “loving show them the sin they are practicing is wrong” WITHOUT seeming judgemental.
      Thank you Trina, for your feedback. Please let me know if you would like to speak to this further. My email address is gwynne@wisdomhunters.com and I would be happy to continue the conversation.
      We are so thankful for you and look forward to hearing from you again.
      Blessings to you and yours,
      Gwynne
      “You are the salt of the earth.” Matthew 5:13
      “You are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:14


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