QUESTIONING MOTIVES AND JUDGING OTHERS
In several of our Spiritual Nuggets we have shared about God calling us to walk
in holiness. We have shared that He wants a bride that reflects the character of Christ.
The Lord is taking many of us through the fire to purify us. God Almighty is
calling individuals and the corporate church to holiness. More churches need
to preach the message of holiness and repentance. And at times there needs to
be more biblical discipline in local churches. It grieves God's heart when people
say they are Christians and they are committing grievous sins and the church
'closes its eyes' to the sin. However, there needs to be a balance in regards
to the topic of holiness.
In this nugget we are going to talk about judging others.
Have you seen a Christian who did something that was illegal, sinful, or a poor
witness for Christ? Have you seen a Christian say or do something that disturbed
you greatly, even offended you? Of course, you have. I am sure you have done
one of these things yourself. All of us fall short of the glory of God. We all
are sinners. None of us is always walking in the fruit of the Spirit.
Maybe you have seen a Christian who is extremely overweight; one who has
a frown on their face and always looks unhappy; or smoking a cigarette and drinking
a beer; a woman who appears to be sexually flaunting her body; a man screaming at his
kids; young person dressing worldly or strange; a Christian who seems to
always offend someone; someone who goes to church and then curses all the time at work.. The list could go on and on.
What are your first thoughts? What are your thoughts when you see the same behavior
repeated? Only you know your thoughts, but I would guess that most of us have
at some point judged the person. Some of us may do this with a total stranger,
but if it is someone we know, we may be even more critical because we may have seen
the behavior repeated many times and we start to question the sincerity of the person. We
start to make judgment calls. We may ask a question to ourselves like, 'How
can that person love Jesus and keep overeating'? We may even go one step further
and say, 'They don't love Jesus because they overeat'. Or have gone a step further and said 'They must not be a Christian.' We start to question motives by the behavior we see. And guess what? We may be right. However, we may be totally wrong. Only God knows the heart.
1 Cor. 4:3-5
"But to me it is a very small thing that I should be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself.  For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.  Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God."
Some may argue that we are not judging the person, only their actions. These are great words, but in all honesty, how many times are we questioning motives and judging the heart of the person. The truth is we have no idea what God is doing in the persons life (and their response to His work) unless we have sat down and talked with them. We may see a young lady with tattoos all over her body, body piercing all over her body, orange hair, and scantly dressed. How many Christians would immediately jump to the conclusion that this person must be using drugs, is sexually immoral and in total rebellion. The reality is there is a good chance that this individual probably is walking in sin and rebellion. But what does God see? Maybe this person has been deeply wounded emotionally, raped by their father, and ostracized from their church. Or, hear this, maybe they are an angel sent from God to show us the ugliness of our judgmental heart. And instead of us showing them the love of Jesus, we point fingers at them and think we are 'so much better'. Or we don't know what to do, so we do nothing instead of asking God how we can show them the love of Jesus.
Have any of you felt judged by other Christians? Your relationship with God questioned? The next nugget will be for you.
I know the words shared in this nugget have been direct. Please understand that I have been guilty of being judgmental and very critical. This message applies to me just as much as anybody else.
Some would argue (rightly) that there are times for judgment. We will discuss this in another nugget.
Copyright © 2001 Richard D. Dover. All rights reserved.
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Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations used are from the New American Standard Version (NASB).