by Dick Buckingham
In our society, we are called upon to make value judgments all the time. Which laundry soap produces the best smelling clothes, which fast food restaurant has the best fries, which auto insurance is the best and most reliable, and on and on. It is a part of life and we all do it based upon a broad variety of factors, some of them having to do with personal tastes and opinions. Many times, we do it simply because we have accepted the hype provided in the commercial or advertisement. Most of these kinds of judgments come with little consequence other than we have to live with our decision and may actually miss out on the best item because we never tried it. No biggie.
However, there are judgments that we make at times, quickly, without any real fact checking or understanding of circumstances that have grave consequences. These judgments involve other people. We have been reading through Job in our faculty devotions and I am reminded once again of the judgment passed on Job by his friends Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar and Elihu. Each in their turn attempts to convince Job of the serious sin that must have been committed to result in his incredible measure of suffering and loss. Much of what these four expound on is good Biblical truth about the calamity that is in store for the wicked. The problem was, they made the assumption that because Job had experienced calamity, it was certainly the result of his wicked behavior, in spite of there being no evidence. In other words, they were quick to pass judgment on another using scripture and truth without fully investigating the circumstances surrounding Job’s situation.
How quick we are to pass judgment on others. I find myself squirming as I even say that because I know this is one of my own besetting sins. But I know I am not alone in this practice. It is easy to pass judgment on those outside of Christ. We know that there is no good in them without the redemption and sanctification that can only come from Christ. Yet we use the same casual approach upon those in the family of God to criticize and critique anything and everything they do. Some of you are probably saying right now, “Yeah, I have been treated like that by others in the church! Finally someone sees it as I see it!” We probably have all been victims of this kind of judgment at one time or another or on many occasions. But I also feel that we need to acknowledge that we are the perpetrators of this spiritual crime.
Job’s friends were not commended by God for their judgment of him. Though the words they spoke were in general true words, God was not pleased with how they had applied them in judgment of another. Job 42:7-9
Can you think of someone right now that you are judging in this fashion? Have you really taken the time to examine all of their circumstances? Do you fully know their heart and their motive? Are you rushing to judgment because it is easier to do and makes you feel somewhat justified because you see what you perceive to be the error of another?
Remember what Jesus said,
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your won eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5
We all need (especially me) to be clothed with humility toward one another. “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another…” I Peter 5:5