Friday, March 12, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. Matthew 7:1-5
First off, let's think about the crowds that Jesus was talking to. These were a very religious people, taught by the Scribes and the Pharisees, two religious groups that are well-known for their legalism. They were concerned with the correct religious appearance on the outside, not about their heart attitude toward God. Judging with a wrong attitude is wrong.
But that doesn't mean that all judgment is wrong. Take a second look at verse 5 again. Most people just see the beginning part "First take the plank out of your own eye..." and miss the second part "...and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." It's assumed that eventually you will remove the speck from your brother's eye. You're not going to just leave it there.
What Jesus is saying in this passage is NOT "You're not perfect, so don't judge anyone" like so many people think He's saying. What He's actually doing is warning us about judging. As is said in verse 2, others will judge us the way we judge others. If you get onto somebody about not spending time in the Word daily, people will hold you accountable to be in the Word daily. If you question people's choices of friends, people will scrutinize who you choose to befriend. Be sure that you are right with God in a particular area before making a moral judgment about someone else in that same area. Beware the plank in your eye before judging the speck in your brother's.
So if you're disobedient to your parents, don't confront your friend about his or her disobedience to their parents. First, deal with your sin before confronting someone else about theirs. But don't use this passage to avoid confronting fellow brothers and sisters in Christ about their sin. And definitely avoid using the passage in order to justify not using discernment at all.
As long as your motives and behavior are in line, making judgments about others behavior is not just okay, it's required. Sometimes you won't come to a definite decision--you may decide that it's a gray area. But you need to be exercising discernment.
And if you feel that someone else has been judgmental of you, it may be time to step back and re-evaluate. Too many times, people put up walls and refuse to listen to other people, saying "Don't judge me" and using the Bible improperly to justify their defensiveness. If you feel that you have been judged, there are a few questions I have for you:
Is it possible that they're right? Or at the very least, that they see something that you don't? Even if they are being wrongfully judgmental, we should always be looking to see if their's some truth in what they're saying.
Have they actually changed how they're treating you because of your choice? Are they treating you disrespectfully? Most of the time, people haven't changed their behavior. We just feel like they have because we expect their disapproval. If they have changed their behavior, is it justified? For example, have they stopped hanging around you because they are uncomfortable with a behavior, such as excessive drinking or cussing?
Have you changed the way you've treated them? Have you given them a reason to be wary of you? I have had people tell me outright "Don't you dare be judgmental of me" right after telling me about something I don't approve of. To put it bluntly, that puts me in a really difficult spot! Especially if it's a brother or sister in Christ. Notice that you're doing the same thing you're accusing the other person of doing--being judgmental! If you change your behavior or attitude towards others, of course they're probably going to change their behavior and attitude towards you.
There is a lot of judging going on in this world that is wrong. A lot. But our culture has gone to the opposite end of the extreme in teaching that all judgment is wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is okay to be judgmental. Don't be scared of morally discerning other's actions. As long as your motives are right and your basing your discernment upon God's Word, judge with confidence. If you feel that you've been judged, it may be time for a paradigm shift on your end.
Judge with right judgment.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
However, if we take those opportunities to develop Christlike character, we will develop joy, which is superior to happiness. As I said, happiness is an emotion. Thus it is fleeting. Joy, on the other hand, is a character quality, and thus is constant.