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09: One Lawgiver and Judge – Hit the Mark — 7 Comments

  1. [Please post in normal sentence case, not ALL CAPS. Thank you.]

  2. In the context of the lesson, judging means delivering a verdict: without full knowledge of the situation, without compassion, and with the intent to harm. Judging often has a negative connotation while criticism can be positive sometimes. Criticism can be solicited while judgment is almost never asked for. Discernment generally means the ability to understand people/things clearly and intelligently. In the Christian context, it presupposes divine wisdom/revelation. The latter was evident in Solomon's judgement of the mothers who were contending ownership of the living child (1 Kings 3).

    Christian commentary on social issues should always be backed up by the Word of God under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. A non-Christian usually does as he/she pleases and sees everything as relative. The highest authority is self; but for the Christian, the highest authority is God and surrender to His will is a necessity.
    The essential question that one should ask before judging or criticising is, what would Jesus do? It is also important to put oneself in the shoes of the judged and ask, how would I want to be treated?

    It is true that the closer I am to Jesus, the less critical I am. When I look at Jesus, all my faults are magnified. Therefore, I am less inclined to sit in exalted judgement against someone else. I am motivated to be more like Christ. I am encouraged in my quest as this is a mutual desire. Whenever I am unfairly harsh with someone or tempted to be, I am restrained in recognition of the many mercies God extends to me.

    • Sandy, I think you have said it all very well. Explaining the difference between judging and criticizing. The question that I had about this part of the lesson is, when is it judging or observing?
      We can see obvious sins that are a way of life that some of our acquaintances lead. Is this what James is talking about? Is there never a situation that we call sin by it's rightful name? I am sure there is because we are instructed how to handle such a situation where a member is involved. Gossip is another matter.

  3. Thank you for your comments, Curtis, particularly about Matthew 18:23-35. I might add that while we cannot discern motives, we can observe actions. In the context of Matthew 7:1-2, Jesus also said to "beware of false prophets" (those who falsely claim to be speaking for God) and that "by their fruits you will know them" (Matthew 7:15-20). We can see the results of some lines of thought that are being promoted in the church today, as some are depending less on the Word of God and more on personal impressions or the thinking/methods of the world. The result? As one group or another promotes its agenda, one standard of righteousness after another is attacked or ignored by more and more of the church, until the church as a whole looks (and is) united on less and less. We are called to reflect the image of God. But what kind of God will those outside the church see in us? One who has almost no standard of right and wrong? Lord, help us, for the sake of your name, to stand for the right, in the right spirit, in the spirit of love.

    • John, I wonder if we should not be very careful when we judge about "standards of righteousness" being abandoned, because that is surely what the Pharisees would have seen Jesus doing.

      Are the standards we are seeking to conserve biblical injunctions, or are they our interpretation of biblical injunctions? For instance, the Pharisees accused Jesus of Sabbath breaking? Did He really "break" the Sabbath? Or did He break their rules of Sabbath keeping?

      It's very easy to make the same mistakes the Pharisees did - of mistaking our traditions for biblical standards.

  4. lf we understand our sinful nature and acknowledge our need for God's grace,we will not judge others.We will not condemn our fellows.


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