Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"I did not come to judge you!"

I have said on many occasions that there are two subjects you can teach or preach on that will always generate guilt to any sensitive listener.  They are giving and evangelism.  No matter how much of either one we do, we still feel like we should do more.  That, of course, doesn't apply to those of us with the innate ability to deflect, ignore, and rationalize.  After closing out my series of lesson last Sunday on Living a Life That Counts, I would add one more instant guilt producer to the list - judging others.  We all do it and we've all had it done to us, yet we keep on doing it regardless of the fact that we have been so grossly wrong in our judgments of others and they have been equally wrong about us.  Jesus challenged his followers to be non-judgmental but rather live by the "Golden Rule" when we find ourselves tempted to do it.  His classic comparison in Matthew 7:1-5 about pointing out the specks in the eyes of others when we have planks in our own eyes, is not only a great sarcastic hyperbole, but a incredible memory tool.  None of us will ever forget it - though we may temporarily ignore it.
So, principle #12 is, "A life that counts is a life that chooses to not judge others."  My lesson was again simple and direct.
1. Judging:  Some things to consider!
   A. There is a fine line between evaluating and judging.
     1. Evaluating is making a quick conclusion from life experiences, but we must recognize  they are surface, shallow, and often wrong.
     2. Judging is forming an opinion and choosing to be critical and condemning. (Jn.7:24)
   B. "Fruit inspection" is not a license to judge!  (Mt.7:15-20)
   C. Judging comes from and leads to assumptions not the truth!
2. Judging:  Some things to avoid!
   A. Comparison: the source of most judging (James 4:11-12)
   B. The need to feel superior = source of racism, bullies, poor self-esteem, etc.
   C. Self-righteousness = comparison w/o spiritual integrity (Lk.18:9-14)
        "Being right does not mean being better!
   D. Judging is letting others control your peace & contentment!
3. Judging:  Some things to try!
   A. Try only comparing yourself to Jesus!  (James 1:22-27
   B. Try giving grace! Eph.4:29; Rom.14:1-4&12-13; Lk.6:37-38
   C. Try to grow a fearless faith rather than a fearful faith!  It's you & God not what others think!
Conclusion:  Since we misjudge so much, how much have we misjudged the love of God?  How wrong have we been in how we see and understand Him?  What about our judgments of Jesus?  After all, some Pharisees called him a "drunk" and a "glutton".

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