Are You Finished With Judging? John 8:9
“...being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one beginning at the eldest, even unto the last. “ John 8:9
I have often wondered why the eldest left first. In recent years I have have observed a pride among the young single men in the church. A blinding pride. The young adults have learned to judge. Their parents have faults and have hurt them. They see injustices in the world, but how many have realized their own shortcomings? As elders, we should be all the more humble, realizing Gods mercy over us for so many years. Being aware of so many of our own faults, we should learn to not judge, lest we we be judged also. Matt 7:1 Whatever measure or standard we use on others will be used on us, true? If so, why judge at all? We are only condemning ourselves when we point the finger. Jesus said, “ I judge no man.” John 8:15 In another place it is written, “ The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the son. So if Our Father is not judging, and Jesus is not condemning any one, why do we pass judgment on others?
This is the enemies plot to trap us into condemning ourselves. This is the temptation to not help another person. Most of the time, judging a person will not help. Let me give an example. I worked in the woods falling timber with a wise man, Dale Norling. We worked on the buddy system falling timber for a large company run by a compassionate man who would, at times, hire “low rents” and drug addicts to run his equipment. Dale showed me an example of imparting truth and wisdom to these young men just by asking questions. Out there hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment could be damaged, and our lives could be hazarded every day by operator error. Rather than yell at them “Hey, you could get killed doing that!, or its gonna break if you keep doing that.” He would ask them questions, several questions, to make a point about their attitude, wrong conduct, or to offer a better way to operate the equipment. As I noticed his way, and complimented him, he said, “ If they can't get it and figure out the answer for themselves it won't do any good to tell them what to do.”
This is true in parenting. At a toddlers age, you just command them, “don't touch the hot burner!” With a teenager, coaching not command is more appropriate. With young adults, and especially my married and grown children, counsel, when asked for, is the most common way of bringing a correction or insight to one that may be bringing harm to themselves or others.
There is a time for discipline, and correction and consequences must come if parents love their children. I tried to make it clear that the spankings were only correction for getting off the path, not condemnation and punishment.
Employers and legal authorities all have the responsibility to uphold the standards and civil laws and pass sentences and fines on those who break them. In the church there will be times that determination has to be made when some one has crossed moral lines and we need to expel them from the assembly. This is a grave and sober decision that elders and Pastors must make, for the health of the body. Amputation is a severe trauma to a body, but often necessary or a life will be lost. We must consider the parameters of 1 Corinthians 5 and follow what is written in the whole cannon of scripture. Jesus could have said, “Yep, the law says stone her, but lets get the man here also, and any and everyone else that we know that deserves this sentence.” If he could not have differed these teachers of the law, and the stoning would have occurred , Jerusalem would have been cleansed of one adulterer. In pardoning her, and extorting her to sin no more, how many more lives may have been saved by her living testimony?
May we practice discernment, even in our own life, if there is any thing infectious to the body of Christ. Not only sexual immorality needs to be cleansed but greed, drunkenness, idolatry, rebellion, and swindling. How many of us need cleansing in one of these areas? May God give us grace to keep his church clean. Paul said, “ I don't even judge myself, but I let the Lord judge me.” Start with me Lord. You are the only law giver and judge. You are able to save and destroy. James 4:12 Give us grace to quit judging and be occupied with interceding with you for others. Hebrew 7:25 G.W.