Have been thinking about the concept of judging others recently, and again I am guilty. I am sure that it is a trend that we lean to, even without meaning to. I had always thought of 'judging' as rather forming an opinion of someone, or even pronouncing a judgement on them. However, it goes deeper than that.
I was reading Matthew Henry recently, as I have his commentary in a study bible. It has been so edifying, and sometimes convicting. I love the fact that he is so thorough, and biblical. He stated, '' We usurp the place of God, when we take upon us thus to judge the thoughts and intentions of others, which are out of our view.''
That made me think a little deeper. How often have we said so and so did that because of.....I have been guilty of judging my husband like that, and also others. That is why it is very good to think the best of people first, even though human nature is desperately wicked at best.
I have had accusations by others made, like, Oh you broke that because you wanted a new one, or you broke that because you were angry. It can make you angry when someone thinks, and says the wrong thing!
I have heard of long term friendships end in just a few seconds, and usually over something so silly, but sadly often an example of the one judging the other. It happens again, and again, and again, and in Christian circles too. Even in the church.
So, it is not for us to question motives of others. There may be a perfectly understandable explanation, not to mention hidden things which we cannot see. There are two sides to every story. There is a lot of this on the net, as certain preachers are accused of heresy, or gross sin. People jump on the bandwagon, and yet it sometimes turns out that the remark was taken out of context, or the 'gross sin' was rumour. I have had the consequences of rumour, when we were mistaken for another family, and consequently it got a little out of hand. When I explained to one who had believed it, she said she had no idea, but rather assumed. Again....assumption, can be a terrible thing.
So, let's think more about others, especially within the church. corinthians 1:13 (charity in this case = love)
''and though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.''
We will not always agree on things, and it is a good thing we are all unique individuals. However, this should never be in the fundamental issues of salvation and faith. In Phillipians 4, Paul exhorts Euodias, and Syntyche (2 ladies involved in God's work) to be of the same mind. It is important that even though we may disagree, we should never let that interfere with the bonds of love we share as fellow believers.
Also to remember that no one is perfect, and yes, even friends will do foolish things sometimes. We need to be quickly able to forgive and forget. Another thing people do is to bring up past transgressions that happened years ago/months ago. If we are still holding that against people we have not forgiven. The most powerful help we have in respect of forgiveness is the indwelling Holy Spirit, and prayer. If we feel bitter, than pray!
There is a time when judging is taken out of context, and that is often when we say something is wrong, for example fornication. The Bible is very clear on this, Acts 15:20 ''But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.''
Yet, people will often say I am judgemental. These things are clear, and if a person calling themselves a Christian engages willfully in it without repentance, then they need rebuke. These are not my opinions, but the Bible's commands. Some things are not so clear, and in these smaller things we need to be patient, and pray for more understanding, and not to be argumentative. It is good to discuss, but we have to be respectful too, unless serious error is presented.
Let us not think that even though we shouldn't judge, we shouldn't be discerning, as in Phillipians 3:2 ''Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beaware of the concision.'' Strong warning there, as ''dog'' is quite a strong term for the day. The Bible constantly warns that false teachers will come among us. So, what can we do there? We need to KNOW the scriptures, so we can test their doctrine against God's word. So many fall for false teaching, they may be meek, and humble, but those qualities without discernment, and a knowledge of the scriptures are dangerous.
To finish, is this verse true of us? Do we truly love the saints? ''By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Also, let us think next time. Am I judging her/his intention/motive? We would have far less misunderstandings, and hurt if we could only think, and not be so quick to judge! (Me included :( )