Epidemic! It seems increasingly that when a person chooses the mainstream opinion on a particular issue and encounters someone who warns of its bad consequences, the majority viewholder inevitably cries “Don’t ‘judge’!”. Interestingly, people most often do not even realize the true meaning of the term – which includes bringing a penalty for a misdeed. By this definition, only those in authority qualify to actually render a judgment. Parents, employers, governing bodies and ultimately God Almighty are able to rightly judge us in the true sense of the word. The latter being the only perfectly just authority over all of humanity.
Perhaps most often, this overused term is utilized in making decisions of right versus wrong choices. In the area of health, we determine whether what we ingest is valuable or detrimental. Both knowledge and experience prove useful in making such important judgments on a day to day basis. However, if people we know are habitually consuming foods and pharmaceuticals containing harmful toxins, would warning them of the negative consequences be considered as judgmental? If in turn the wise advice is ignored, they would not be receiving a penalty from the messengers, but instead from their own choices to continue in the poor health practices. The same is true of one warned to quit smoking to avoid lung disease. – or to avoid liquor to prevent lawlessness and liver damage. There are countless other potential situations which distinguish judging from advising.
One example that has been most recently publicized, is the issue of homosexual marriage. People of faith have spoken against the practice – particularly that of practicing sodomy, with its frequent deadly consequence clearly described in scripture (Romans 1:27). We are strongly instructed to oppose this detrimental behavior – while at the same time loving the offenders enough to warn them of the destructive path down which it leads. The same, of course, is true of all forms of sexually immoral behavior – all of which are dangerous to both the body and mind.
Undoubtedly, some who read these words will persist to label them as judgmental. Often such feelings actually indicate a sense of conviction from the internal conscience. This is one of God’s greatest gifts to humanity. Having been created in His glorious image, we are born with this wonderful deposit in the depths of our souls. Yet, even more extraordinary is the miraculous imparting of the Holy Spirit within the genuine believers of Jesus Christ. This divine presence in the center of our being provides ultimate discernment with any and every issue that life in this world may ever bring. Once receiving this simultaneous power and peace – we are led into useful knowledge which enables us to advise others ‘in love’ what is good for producing a fruitful life of strong character and healthy bodies (temples). Although it is certainly true that without authority to do so, we are not to pass judgment with a penalty upon other people, 1 Corinthians 6:2 informs us that God’s people will one day judge the whole world. For now, however, our role as believers is to continually shine the light of truth and good will toward all people – encouraging them to choose what is beneficial for the most pleasing life possible in thankfulness for what Christ has done for all mankind.
In conclusion, we must understand the importance of always first examining our own lives so as not to appear hypocritical to those we advise. Let there be no similar ‘log’ obstructing our view to see and prayerfully assist with the overcoming of others’ faults. Furthermore, may we always be ready to receive constructive criticism from those who lovingly note any persistent flaws in our own character. Sincere accountability to other people of God is a priceless opportunity for “iron to sharpen iron”. Whether in the area of physical health or social decisions which impact our spiritual condition, may each of us become effective servants who admonish everyone to prepare for the fast approaching day of final judgment and eternal salvation!
Encouraging Word: “The wonderful news is that our Lord is a God of mercy, and He responds to repentance.”
– Rev. Billy Graham
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