By What Standards Should We Judge?
Judge's gavel

You know, I’m really getting tired of hearing people use the wrong understanding of judgment, and they often use it as a means of criticizing others, or they will jump to the conclusion that somebody is judging them, and because the are, they’re bad people. Really? Maybe you need to be judged? Maybe you shouldn’t trust this person. And how interesting how, in a world that continues to say, “Trust no one” can be so critical against people who judge the character of another. Are you not judging them when you decide not to trust them? What if we trust everyone? Is that really a good idea? What if they’re not trustworthy people, should I still trust them? It’a touchy topic, but I think it needs to be addressed.  For instance:

During the summer of 2011, my wife and I had been shopping for a good, used car. We had gone to a good number of dealers in the area, some a little distance away, but all major dealerships. But the problem wasn’t the selection of cars…the problem was the sales people, for we’d hoped to be working with somebody we could get an honest deal from. You’re probably chuckling now at how foolish we were to think this, and you would be right to do so, for in our search, we had quickly come to learn that every used-auto salesperson was a liar, schemer, trapper, and they all played the same game…basically, Satan’s tactics. They would also use the same common terms, they would claim that they were trying to help us, when they were really just interested in how much money they could get from us. Some were ‘smooth-talkers’, many played a version of good salesperson, bad sales manager, and they would all claim the lowest prices, even though we had found several better deals all over the internet. Actually, to help myself from falling into their traps, I actually convinced myself that all dealers are either demons, possessed by demons, or are to just be recognized in the same category, for they behaved in that same way in the sense of trying to influence our thoughts about what to buy, trying to get us to do what we don’t want to do, trying to persuade us into believing that it’s OK to do so, playing on our emotions, and lying and making false promises to our faces.

Now I ask you, are we wrong to judge used car salespeople as dishonest people who are just out to make a profit? Should we just give over our money blindly to the best-sounding deal, trusting that this car really is a great deal? Should we not use wisdom, prayer, patience, research and judgment in deciding on such a huge investment?

Do you really think that though they act like they’re trying to befriend you that you’ll hang out after you buy a car from them? Do you think they will even acknowledge you on the street and invite you to their cookouts at home? Do you really think they expect to even see you again except for when you bring your car in to their garage for expensive or routine repairs?

Are they not just trying to make money off of you…because that’s what they do?

Look also at some Pastors of big and famous churches, or churches where lots of money’s coming in: Big cars, big homes, fancy clothes, bling, kids go to expensive schools and give off rich-kid images…if the Pastors a man, then his wife’s all decked out in nice clothes, expensive accessories, and are usually wearing more makeup than a clown. Yet, even though their fruit don’t match that of Christ, the reason they have all that money and stuff is because when they speak, people listen and believe them. And the message is often so smoothly communicated that people don’t realize how non-biblical it is…and it makes sense because they don’t know any better anyway. I knew a kid once who spoke of this one guy who spoke so persuasively, sounded so holy in his speech, that he had everyone believing that he was so much more blessed.

They’re not in it for your sake, they’re in it for themselves.

There are 3 types of judging that I can think of at the moment: Judging in the sense of condemning (as done by a judge), judgment in the sense of holding somebody accountable, and discernment.

First, holding one accountable. For instance, in 1 Corinthians 5, Paul is addressing a congregation that has allowed a spiritual leader who has fallen into a great sinfulness, to not only continue in his leadership, but also to rub off on them. In his response, Paul explains that we Christians are not to judge those outside the church, but inside the church, and in the sense of holding one another accountable for our actions…keeping each other in check so as to not fall into sin and infect everybody else. So right here, we learn that Christians are not to judge people outside the church with the condemnation-type of judgment, for such are in the jurisdiction of God. We are only to hold one another (those of us in Christ) accountable. But if somebody is to reject our authority in such, then we are to pass judgment (the condemnation type) upon them, but again, only upon those inside the church, and as a means of church discipline and righteous judgment.

The third type, I believe, is what people mistaken for the condemning judgment. For example, when somebody attempts to either hold one accountable or discern for themselves about another, the one passage that many will bring up is the Matthew (7:1-6) text: “Just not lest you be judged.” And when they quote this, they often will also say that Jesus is telling us not to judge one another. But the problem is that they leave out the part that is DIRECTLY AFTER, which says, “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.” But wait…how will you know what is unholy unless you first judge for yourself? How will you know who the pigs are if you don’t first judge them?

Luke goes another route in chapter 6 (:37-45) when he tells of Jesus saying, “A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thorn bushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” Now how would you know if evil flows from somebody’s heart unless you judge for yourself by their actions?  How could you tell if they produce good fruit or bad fruit?

Paul often reminded his readers that, unlike other speakers, he never charged them anything. Instead, he made his living by making and selling tents honestly. Others, on the other hand, talked with fancy speech because it helped to persuade people into believing their lies. Paul spoke with simple, easy to understand, straight-forward, every-day words. “I don’t use persuasive speech,” he said, “unlike these others who are trying to lead you astray.”

People believed the false teachers over Paul, even when these false teachers tried to discredit him as an Apostle. They didn’t care about the Christians who they preached to, they even required a fee to speak, for their speaking was their way of making a living. If they were not believable, they starved. Yet, people believed their lies over God’s Truth, which was taught to them with simple words, for free, by Paul.

Why do people continue to believe the wrong, the lies, the deception? Used Car Salespeople: The fact that they all continue doing / saying the same phrases shows that it works! People actually believe them.  Their trickery is fooling people into buying cars, and they, like leaders of cults, false teachers, false prophets, false miracle-workers, etc…are getting rich off of us! Is it wrong to judge for ourselves if this is right?

So you see, we need to judge people and their actions to see what type of fruit they bear. But by what standards do we use?

Jesus didn’t come here to be glorified, but I do believe He hoped more people would believe and believe in Him. Remember, Jesus said that He didn’t come to be served, but to serve, and gave a great example of this service. Jesus also came for the sake of us. Nobody goes through what Jesus went through for themselves, but only for the sake of others.

Jesus was speaking the Truth. He backed up His claims with proof, and more than enough witnesses, yet the people in his own town refused to believe Him, and actually became offended. Paul spoke the Truth of Jesus for free with simple speech, yet the churches preferred to believe the liars with fancy speech.

Reflection:

  1. What standards do you use to judge if somebody’s from God or Not? Which of the 3 judgements do you use most often in this?
  2. What standards do you use to discern if somebody is being honest or not?
  3. What standards should you be using?  (Because a lot of the false stuff is getting through, and a lot of the Truth is being rejected.) Why?
  4. Can you think of any other types of judgment? Write them down and explain them in the comment section below.

About

2 thoughts on “By What Standards Should We Judge?

  1. Psalm 119:160–“The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever”. When it comes to standards to use to judge, that sums it up. BTW, Andy, I won’t judge you for forgetting to post this last week (ha ha ha)!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: