Making Righteous Judgments
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. - Matthew 7:1-2
"The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether." - Psalm 19:9
Each day and throughout the day, we are making decisions that require us to make judgment calls. We must determine whether something is right or wrong, appropriate or unfitting, or whether something is desirable or not. The Bible teaches us all about God's judgments and how He reveals what is good and acceptable in His sight. Therefore, the judgments that we make should always be based on the judgments that God has already made and should carry His heart of truth, righteousness, and mercy.
Since we are always in a position to need the tender mercies of God, it is wise for us to be ever merciful to others. For the measure we use will be measured back to us. This is why Paul teaches, "For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged" (1 Cor. 11:31).
The golden rule of 'doing unto others what we have done to ourselves' should be our highest rule in all of our dealings with people, and this combined with Christ's emphasis in His new commandment to His disciples to "love one another as [He has] loved [us]" (John 13:34). When we are judging all matters by the truth of God's Word and the enduring love of Christ, we are sure to make righteous judgments more often.
Now as sure as there are right ways to judge, there are also wrong ways to judge a person or a situation. We must avoid limiting ourselves to judging merely by outward appearances or by human standards, preferences, or any degree of partiality. We must allow mercy to triumph over judgment and ask God to give us a humble heart of understanding with godly discernment in all things. There is often much truth beneath the surface and it is wise for us to consider our own hearts first and then to discern the greater context of any situation that we might be helpful to others and pleasing to God.
David knew that he had judged poorly when he gave into sinful temptation and remembered that God desires "truth in the inward parts And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom" (Psalm 51:6).
So when it comes to making a judgment, there are THREE THINGS NEEDED:
DISCIPLINE: to learn context and the facts
DISCERNMENT: to see beneath the surface
DELAY: to not hastily draw a full conclusion
We must be led by the Spirit of God and allow His love to flow out of us as we see the imperfections of those around us. The standards of God never change but the attitude that we have toward other people must adapt to a measure that we ourselves would desire to be shown toward us. We want no planks in our eyes and no tolerance for any false ways being shared to others or stored in our own hearts.
Jesus warns not only of poor judgments but also of false prophets. We need to judge the content of all things that we are hearing in these times and see if it is consistent with the inspired text of Scripture or if it is being spoken to attract those with itching ears. There are many things that sound good at first but leave a bitter after taste if spoken by the flesh.
In summary, let us judge based on God’s judgments and seek to treat others how we would want to be treated. Let us humbly focus on where we need to change and then seek to help others to change. After all, Jesus took our judgment for us when He was nailed to a tree to wash away all of our poor judgments over our lifetime. As 1 Corinthians 4:5 teaches, "Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God
- Think back to times where you have made a poor judgment call. What have you personally learned about how to avoid coming to the wrong conclusion.
- If your judgments should be based on God's judgments, how does this affect the way you approach and study God's Word?