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Tuesday, 12 April 2016

J is For...

When it comes to the Bible, there are lots of good ‘J’ topics. Jesus immediately comes to mind, as does the issue of Justice. In fact, it was justice that I was going to write about today, but for some reason when I started looking up scripture verses, Judgment is the search term I entered. So…J is for Judgment it is.

The book of Ecclesiastes has a lot to say about the state of the world as a place of meaninglessness and injustice. Sounds much the way of our world today; certainly gross injustices continue to exist. The writer, Solomon, is nearing the end of his life and wants to share his wisdom with others. He speaks of judgment three times:
I said to myself, “God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.” (Ecclesiastes 3:17)
You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. (Ecclesiastes 11:9)
For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:14)
The New Testament affirms that ultimate judgment belongs to God, in the person of His son:
Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,  that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. (John 5:22-23a)
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)
 Christians have gotten a bad rap for judging others and this is not without justification. Perhaps it is a particular trap for those who have spent all of their lives in Christian environments and don’t feel that they’ve ever committed any heinous sins or crimes. Or a severe case of forgetfulness. But the reality is that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory” (Romans 3:23). Otherwise, we would not need a Saviour. To say we are without sin is to deceive ourselves (1 John 1:8). If we ask God to sift our hearts for sin and to expose our sins to us, He will show us plenty. Therefore,
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. (Matthew 7:1)
Furthermore, why do we expect non-Christians to act the way we, as believers, are supposed to? They’re called unbelievers for a reason! As I’ve heard one pastor say, “Judge the believin’, not the heathen!”
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? (1 Corinthians 5:12)
Even when we do judge those inside the church, it is not meant to be an ‘aren’t I holier than thou?’ type of judgment, but one that identifies an issue, and approaches with love the person who has gone off track, in an effort to encourage repentance and a return to the ways of godly living. This is probably best done by someone who knows the person well and has a platform to speak into their lives. But if that doesn’t work, it is the responsibility of the church elders to intercede.

Remember, Jesus was, and is, a friend of sinners. Leave any judging up to Him.

Today’s prayer: Thank You, God, that I am no one’s judge. You and You alone are able to judge perfectly. Unveil the wickedness and sin in my own heart that no wrongdoing of mine would remain unconfessed or unrepented of. Thank You for being my friend when I was walking in sin, and for loving people enough to save them from themselves and from the evil one.

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