harp’s page

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Judgment, Please

Posted by jbharp on December 2, 2007

Lately, it seems I keep hearing a disturbing quote. And more often than not it comes from Christians. When I hear this expression I cringe, if not visibly then at least on the inside. The words come from Matthew 7 – “Do not judge.”

The words themselves do not bother me, but the way they are used – in an end all fashion; with a no question, no contest delivery. For someone to hold these three words as a complete philosophy in themselves they would have to ignore the complete nature of a just God, the appointment of judges in the Old Testament, and the few verses that follow these words.

Here’s the entire passage:
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. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

This passage uses the action of removing a speck from your brother’s eye to symbolize judging. It ends with the way in which we are to carry out the action of removing the speck (i.e. judge).

There are certain elements of God’s nature that we are incapable of imitating: omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. But there are elements of God’s nature that we are capable of imitating and should: justice, love, and mercy. Often we focus on love and mercy. These are the ‘feel-good’ aspects to center around. However, neither love nor mercy can even begin or have any power without first calling on justice. Mercy happens only after pronouncing judgment on something that is wrong. And an element of love comes through corrections and rebukes, which require some judging.

We only have what we can perceive with our humanly senses…that is actions and words. We can not see the state of each person’s heart. That is why the judgment of hearts is ultimately in the hands of God. The day will come when God will be on the throne as the almighty, infinitely wise judge. In the meantime we should partake in the practice of judging, otherwise love and mercy are rendered useless.

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One Response to “Judgment, Please”

  1. Kels said

    Some good thoughts Jared. 🙂

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