You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
Thoughts for Today:Not long ago one of my daughters called with news she had met a new boyfriend and would I mind if she brought him to church on Sunday (with lunch following) to meet me and the rest of the family. Before I could say anything, she added, "Oh and by the way, you will like him, he doesn't have any tattoos or body piercings." While I have to admit I was somewhat relieved to hear she seemed to have left the "rescue the bad boy" phase of her life, I was a little concerned about the "tattoos and body piercings" comment. Especially because of my familiarity with our passage today and Paul's comment on self-condemnation when we pass judgment on others. Have I been guilty of pre-judgment?
I decided to ask the ultimate source of information regarding my behavior -- my wife Sherry. "Do you think I am hard on our daughter's boyfriends?" Sherry simply replied, "Yes." I then asked, "Do you think I pass judgment on them because of tattoos or piercings?" She answered, "I think it can make you a little cautious -- so you ask a lot of questions and sometimes that comes across wrong -- you might want to smile once in a while -- just so they don't think you hate them." I thought back to my college days, of my own shoulder length hair, full beard and feet that never saw the inside of shoes (I always wore sandals). I wasn't too keen on meeting a girl's parents for the first time either. I knew they would look at me like some kind of "hippy, pot-smoking, free love, freak" -- but that wasn't me no matter what my appearance might indicate.
Jesus said in Matthew 7:16, "By their fruit you will recognize them." And Matthew 7:15, "They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves." I think Jesus has clarified this question of judging others -- it is has to do with the condition of our own heart -- are we judging to condemn or to identify and protect? It is a very fine line. However, I believe we all know the difference: identifying a behavior that is wrong versus condemning the person with anger and hostility.
Questions to Ponder:Identification or condemnation, who is guilty? It is not up to us to decide guilt or innocence -- only God judges. James 4:12, "There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?" It is a common fault within the church to look down our noses at those who seem to live more sin-filled lives. The Bible tells us we are all in the same boat -- we all deserve the harshest sentence possible because we all have sinned and death is the penalty. The only difference is salvation -- which is a free gift offered by God to everyone. God did not call us to be judges. Have you been guilty of passing judgment on others?