Saturday, November 16, 2019

Judgement vs Discernment

“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”Luke 6:37 

There is a significant difference between judgment and discernment. God sees people's hearts and knows their motives (Prov. 16:2). Only God can accurately judge those who deserve punishment. Ultimately, Christ will sit in judgment upon us all in the day of judgment (2 Cor. 5:10). Our problem is that we like to sit in the judgment seat and pronounce condemnation upon those whom we think have sinned! Scripture commands us not to judge or condemn others, for we cannot be judgmental and redemptive at the same time. It is difficult to pray sincerely for someone while we are judging them. Scripture reminds us that God will treat us with the same grace or severity with which we treat others (Luke 6:38). God commands us not to judge others, but He does want us to be discerning. Jesus said we would know people's spiritual condition by the fruit of their lives (Matt. 7:16). He said grapes are not produced by thorn bushes. If a person's life produces thorns, we can assume that person is not a grapevine! Are we being judgmental? No, we are being discerning. Scripture commands us to avoid associating with scoffers or fools (Prov. 22:10; 17:12). Unless we are able to identify scoffers and fools, we cannot obey God's command. As Christians, we have been instructed to observe the lives of others so that we can help them while avoiding any sinful influence. You will be helpful to others only if you see them as God does. If you have been judgmental of others, ask forgiveness and pledge yourself to let God use you as His minister of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18).

I was going to include a portion of this excerpt from Experiencing God Day by Day, but Blackaby just wrote it so well. 

It's the easiest of things to sit in judgment on someone else.  For that matter it's the easiest of things to do in sitting in judgment on ourselves.  Consider this, just as Blackaby has shown, there is a significant difference between judging and discerning. 

A stove may or may not be on. You SHOULD cautiously approach it until you are sure.  That's not sitting in judgment, that's discernment. 

A man who hasn't faced his accusations on television, enrages you by his purported actions.  You do not have the right to state He needs to hang! He deserves the death penalty!  That, my friend, is sitting in judgment. 

Extremes? Not really.   You drive along and you judge people by how they drive.  That's not discernment.  They weave in and out of traffic.  Must make them an idiot. They deserve a ticket.  Welcome to judgment.  The discerning person sees someone in a hurry for some particular reason.  A judging person pronounces their judgment.  They deserve a ticket.  Well it may be true, doesn't make it our place to pronounce it.  Of this I am eminently guilty.  I, after all, drive in the United States.  

So what should be the reaction?  Jesus wasn't joking when He gave examples.  We certainly should be a discerning people.  You need to know how to approach people.  You need discernment to know if they are a thorn, thistle or something else other than a grape on the vine of Christ. 

We shouldn't mentally watch the news and judge that which we know not the specifics of.  Scripture backs the notion that as long as a person is breathing the hope of Christ is possible in them.  Only death permanently separates a person from Christ who chose against Him. 

I do not wish anyone to die. I am not that good. I do not have the all encompassing knowledge of God to do that person justice. But they killed someone!  Yes, they may have.  But they deserve to die!  Yes, but who was on the cross along side Jesus?  Who STILL was with Him that day in paradise?

God will not allow someone who is a murderer to escape His justice...who never will repent.  Even those who do repent may still lose their lives, He may yet use them to reach someone else.  God is THAT kind of God.  Even in the life of a murderer who repents He causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. 

We do not have the right to deny them Christ!

So as I cringe when someone says "you shouldn't judge!" I know they are imminently wrong.  When I hear someone lash out that so-and-so needs to die!  I know that isn't my call or theirs.  

Show discernment, Scripture says to pray for our enemies.  That's a command of God, not a suggestion.  There is how you should react.  That is how I should react. 

You realize when you don't pray, you give no room for God to work in His Spirit?

Scripture also says to pray expecting God to work.  If we don't believe when we pray,  why pray?  But they hurt you that bad?  Didn't you hurt God that bad?  Forgive, let go, draw near to God and He promises to draw near to you.  Then the peace of God which passes all understanding will gaurd your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. 

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