Monday, November 7, 2011

Judging Others (A Biblical View)

A couple of weeks ago, stated "even those who are transformed are not fully transformed... (sin tendency).... so don't be surprised at ungodly/unChristian behavior"

Which leads to: Are we to overlook ungodly behavior? Ignore it?, or make a judgment call concerning this behavior????

Which leads to: Judging others (A Biblical View)
(previously addressed in '99, '04, and '08)

So.... to judge or not to judge?? On one hand, scripture says "don't judge". Matt. 7:1, Rom. 14:4 (a), Rom. 14:13 (a)

On the other hand, scripture says "do judge" - Matt. 7:6 (a), Matt. 7:15, Titus 3:10, 1 Cor. 5:12-13

Or compare: James 4:12 to Lev. 19:15

So, does the Bible contradict itself????
OR, do we need a better understanding of the subject???
We believe there is no contradiction in the Bible, we have a faulty understanding of what it says.

So.......... how to properly judge others???

Some helpful observations:

#1. The Greek word has broad application. It is translated "to judge", but ALSO translated.... to think, to examine, to investigate, to weigh, to form an opinion, to discern between, to decide, to determine, to try, to conclude.
ALSO: to pronounce judgment, to pass sentence, to vindicate or to condemn.

Point being:
A. we must examine the word in context
Example: "don't condemn/pass sentence" doesn't mean "don't think, investigate, form an opinion"
B. We must not determine by one scripture alone, but by scripture as a whole.
Example: Matt. 7:1 (America's favorite scripture). We cannot build a Biblical view of judging on this scripture verse alone.

#2. The Bible (mostly) calls us to judge actions, not people. We can judge action, behavior, lifestyle.
We cannot know the heart, motive, reason, intent

The problem is that it's not always easy to distinguish between behavior and the behaver. (between the action and the actor)
Example: church leaders: 1 Tim. 3:1-12 - conduct or character? BOTH!!
or, candidates for public office: judge behavior, plus beliefs plus character!!

#3. We must all make judgment calls from time to time. (sometimes on the action/ sometimes on the actor

#4. Christians are called to do it right!! John 7:24 Amplified Version: "be honest in your judgment and do not decide at a glance - superficially and by appearances; but judge fairly and righteously"

So...... HOW to judge properly? HOW to get it right??

3 Key ingredients/basic steps to judging others properly:

#1. Weigh (examine) the facts. On one hand, we can't get all the facts. BUT, we can get some of them. So... ask, listen, go slow, be open because the judgment you are called to make may be contrary to how you feel, or what you want to say.

#2. Weigh the facts in a proper scale.
A. God's Word - which puts you at odds with many, or with most others.
The pre-modern age said: "this is truth" - (God's Revelation)
The modern age said: "is that the truth?"" (reason)
The post-modern age says: "there is no truth" - (rejection). This is where the world view is today.
pre-modern - "these are the rules. By this we judge"
modern - "are those the rules? How can we judge?"
post-modern - "there are no rules. We cannot judge"

B. God's Word properly interpreted. - don't assume because you scripture you have the answer." Example: the Pharisees. They knew the letter of the law, but had it all wrong as Jesus repeatedly told them.

C. .... with a healthy dose of mercy.
An objection: don't need mercy/grace to do math. (determine right from wrong)
Answer: true, but we're not doing math (we're doing people/lives/souls)
Judging others requires:
1. determining right/wrong
2. loving people in spite of right/wrong
3. without justifying/ignoring wrong
Example: Jesus - Matt. 9:10-13

#3. Weigh them with a humble heart (considering self)
Objection (again)! don't need humility to do math (determine right/wrong)
Answer (again):
we're not doing math!!! We're doing ministry.
B. You're no calculator!! Our calculations are skewed by our heart! Matt. 7:3-5

So...... Micah 6:8
A. "act justly"
B. "love mercy"
C. "walk humbly"
Three ingredients???? Really there are 4 and, most importantly, your relationship with God!! - "walk with your God"
Won't get judgment calls right if not walking humbly with our God, because the point is: not your opinion, your decision, your judgment...... it's GOD'S!!!

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