GET THE LOG OUT 28.05.19
GET THE LOG OUT 28.05.19
“Stop judging, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matt.7:1,2). Does this mean that we should never judge anything? Not necessarily. Scriptures quoted about not judging, are invariably used in isolation of other passages relating to the same issue, and thus taken out of context.
If you look at the passages immediately following (the above):
3 “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?
5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
What is being spoken of here is the critical spirit, fault-finding in others, while over-looking one’s own faults, vices, errors, weaknesses, etc. We are being directed to tend to our own wrong thoughts, words, ways, and actions, rather than blaming, criticizing, pointing fingers at others’ shortcomings. That is not to say we aren’t to discern/judge immoral, unethical, dangerous, and/or criminal activities and behaviour, for our own protection.
Now, let’s unpack some related passages:
47 “If anyone hears My words but doesn’t keep them, I do not judge him; for I came to save the world, not to judge the world (again, if applied in isolation, often taken out of context. .. continue reading).
48 The one who rejects Me and doesn’t receive My words has a judge; the word I spoke will judge him on the last day.
49 For I did not speak on My own, but the Father Himself who sent Me has commanded Me what to say and speak.
50 And I know that His commandment is life everlasting. Therefore what I say, I say just as the Father has told Me.”
We see from these passages that: (a) God’s Word stands as judge. His Word judges all; (b) thus, by not receiving/subscribing to God’s Word, one automatically brings oneself under condemnation. So He is saying that, although He did not come to judge, His Word will judge all. His Word judges; and His Words came from the Father; and that is the final Word; © so if we are going to do the right thing (pertaining to anything in our lives, whether work, relational, or recreational) it is imperative to know His Word. We discern truth from error, by His Word. We discern boundaries through His Word; we discern, select, and make decisions regarding friendships, and life partnerships by His Word. We must discern and judge behaviours on an ongoing basis.
14 But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.
15 Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others.
“Who can know the Lord’s thoughts?
Who knows enough to teach him?”
But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.
What we are given to understand here is that believers are to discern all things. Of course! Because how else would we walk in righteousness/holiness?! We must know what is in His Word, first of all; then we must be able to rightly discern if what we see lines up with His Word, so we do not transgress His Word. His Word provides boundaries for what is acceptable/unacceptable in behaviour, relationships, as well as spiritual matters. Thankfully, we are not on our own in this, for the Holy Spirit grants a spirit of discernment for God’s own to be able to identify, distinguish, discern all things, to know what is right and what is not right. So, yes, we must judge the behaviour/actions of the world, in order to rule out those things which we should have nothing to do with, for “God’s judgment comes on the children of disobedience.Therefore do not be partners with them. For once you were darkness, but now in union with the Lord you are light. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them” (Eph.5:6-11). Notice, however, that in all of these statements we are given to discern/judge behaviours/actions, not individuals. God will judge all people in the end; we leave that with Him.
Heb.4:12: “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword—piercing right through to a separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
God’s people are to apply His Word to all things in their lives, separating that which is soulish from that which is spiritual. This requires discernment, and good judgment, the leading of the Spirit.
Heb. 5:12-14: “For although you ought to be teachers by this time, again you need someone to teach you the basics of God’s sayings. You have come to need milk, not solid food. For anyone living on milk is inexperienced with the teaching about righteousness—he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who through practice have their senses trained to discern both good and evil.”
Paul is telling his people that although they should know better – they should be able to pass on their knowledge to others – however, it appears they still need to be taught. .. . Mature believers should be able to discern both good and evil, truth from deceit, moral/immoral, etc.
Using good judgment, having discernment, based on God’s Word, is for our own benefit, to prevent getting caught in the traps and snares of the world/enemy. Although it is not our job to judge others – indeed we leave that to Almighty God – God’s people must discern between what is in God’s Word and what isn’t, in order to avoid deception, seduction, and all manner of false doctrine. So behaviours and actions must, in fact, be judged, while leaving the people involved to God Almighty Himself. Therefore, we do not look at others with a critical eye of judgment; but we do want to know what of their behaviour and actions are not that to which we would subscribe, concur, align with, or want our children to emulate. Such discernment also guides us in our relationships. Paul advises: “Do not be deceived! “Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Cor.15:33).
Prov.16:28-30 has some really good advice in this area:
28 A perverse person sows strife,
and a gossip separates close friends.
29 A violent person lures his neighbour,
leading him down a path that is no good.
30 One who winks his eyes schemes deceit,
one who purses his lips is bent on evil” (Prov.16:28-30).
We can see from these passages that there are certain types of individuals that we are advised to avoid. They will only deceive, and perhaps pull us into their ways, leading us astray.
So, yes, we must examine, judge, and discern all things, just as Paul said. “For if we were judging ourselves thoroughly, we wouldn’t be coming under judgment” (1 Cor.11:31). We must introspectively examine what is in our own hearts and minds, and clear out the rubble from our own lives, before examining those of others. Our job is to die to self; to clear out the logs/beams/specks from our own eyes, the things that get in the way of our ability to discern what is in error/at odds from within ourselves, before concerning ourselves with the rest of those around us, while at the same time, being aware of what we do not want to partake of, or emulate. And if we have the mind of Christ, we do not wish to partake of those things which are not sanctioned by Him.
Discernment of behaviour needs to become part of our automatic response system. It will protect us from being led astray. Distinguishing between what is and is not acceptable for ourselves, enables us to block wrong influences from our lives, including weeding out of our social network those who would wrongly influence, or attempt to lead us. Any and all things that get in the way of serving our Lord completely and exclusively and with all our hearts, must be dispensed of. Let us be wise, and extract the logs, beams, etc. from our own eyes, and prevent the Good Lord from having to do it to/for us. It is important to use good judgment, wisdom and discernment in choices of social settings, activities, and relationships, to avoid being led astray or influenced by those who do not share Godly beliefs, principles, and morals.
© 2017, revised 2018, 2019 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.
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