Earlier today, I had an amazing conversation with some Christian friends about judgement. This can be a hot topic and many are reluctant to discuss it because of the political correctness of our society. Many are afraid to offend or be accused of being harsh or unloving. Judgement isn’t a popular conversation because it means that someone or something is sitting in the judgement seat.
When I was a girl still living at home, my parents each had a favourite chair in the living room. My mother’s living room was not somewhere you took your toys or hung out with friends. It was a place she had set aside in her house that was to be kept clean and uncluttered. It was her grown up space. My brother and I sat in the living room if there was company or if we were summoned. When we were summoned, my parents each sat in their armchairs and we sat across the room on the chesterfield. In these situations, we often referred to the sofa as the judgement seat. I can honestly say that neither one of us ever wanted to be there.
When we were called to the judgement seat, it was for a time of rebuke or instruction that was rarely comfortable. I can distinctly remember some squirming going on during these times.
As a parent and in retrospect, I understand that the intention of my parents was to teach me or correct me or even protect me. Was I responsive? It depended on the day, the situation, their delivery and my heart.
Scripture tells us that we are not to judge others.
Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
The same message is repeated in Luke 6:37.
Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned.
So for a Christian, if we are not to judge, how do we separate ourselves from what God does not want us to do?
2 Timothy 2:15 (YLT)
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God – a workman irreproachable, rightly dividing the word of the truth.
What does it mean to divide the word of the truth?
The definition of the original Greek word, orthos, is to dissect correctly [the Divine message].
It is so easy to point a finger, identify a sin, hold a brother or sister to account but the reality is, God has called us to love our brother and sister. He has called us to live a life worthy of the gospel of Christ (Philippians 1:27).
So does that mean that we cannot judge right from wrong? Absolutely not. God admonishes us to live in such a way that we will draw closer to Him. In the Bible, He has laid out instruction that will protect us and if obeyed mold us more into His likeness. What God does not call us to do is judge the world around us. He has called us out of it and told us to be separate from the ways of the world but He has also called us into it to be salt and and light on His behalf.
You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world…Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.
In a world that does not live by the standard of God’s holy Word, our ‘judgement is not pertinent. What will make a difference in leading others to the redemptive work of Christ?
Consider 1 Corinthians 10:31-33
So whether you eat or drink or
whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God –even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.