Judging or Discerning

Todays readings are 1 Kings 9 and John 7:1-24.

“Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgement”. (John 7:24).

Today, one verse is worthy of some reflection.

Jesus opponents had been judging by mere appearances. Jesus makes the point that they should stop judging and work much harder at making a right assessment. One can refer back to the OT and see many similar parallels in Dt 16:18-19 and Is 11:3-4. Both these passages deal with the  administration of public justice.

However, here Jesus appeal is far more personal. Yes, before you jump to conclusion I am very aware of Matthew 7:1 (Do  not judge, or you to will be judged). This verse forbids judgmentalism but not moral discernment.

In John 7:24 what Jesus s looking for is more moral, ethical and theological discernment. This is not about heresy witch hunting as one writer said. Nor is it about self righteousness either.

If those who were being quick to judge, used the approach of faith, they would be able to quickly discern that Jesus is not a Sabbath breaker, but the one who fulfils both Sabbath and circumcision requirements.

In today’s world, the man or woman on the street has probably become more aware of the call not to judge even more than the great John 3:16 passage. The challenge is, that if we try and be discerning in today’s world, most people are very quick to say stop judging others.

However, we are called to be discerning. Yes and not being quick to judge the actions or motives of others. We are called to make a right judgment abut issues that are presented to us on a daily basis. Look beyond that which we see and think a bit harder on the issues that we do face.

May it be that we seek to grow in wisdom as endeavor to make right judgments.

Pastor Barney





One thought on “Judging or Discerning

  1. Thank you Ian. Spiritual discernment ultimately has to do with wisdom and the ability to distinguish truth from error. This is why we must know our bibles and keep asking God for wisdom. That when something is false comes along it will be recognized straight away. Even when the preacher is quoting the scriptures we are not to take his word for it – sorry Ian – we are to follow in our bibles ourselves. This is why we take our Bibles to church!! And when he makes a mistake there is no need to correct him – providing its not a salvation issue – just be thankful that you found truth yourself.
    If we are truly humble we wont see the faults in others (great quote). When Ive been judged by another the first thing i do is a heart check. To ask the Holy Spirit if there is any truth to what I’m being judged for. This is a great exercise because it stops us from taking offense and the Holy Spirit will do a check in your spirit if there is truth to whats been said. We are encouraged to be open to correction but if our hearts are in the right place we can just let it slide – the judgement that is.

    I feel the need to write this wonderful excerpt. May it be a warning;

    Pastor Jeremiah Steepek transformed himself into a homeless person and went to the 10,000 member church that he was to be introduced as the head pastor at that morning. He walked around his soon to be church for 30 mins while it was filling with people for the service. Only 3 people out of the 7 – 10,000 people said hello to him.
    He asked people for change to buy food ….NO ONE in the church gave him change. He went into the sanctuary to sit down in the front of the church and was asked by the ushers if he would please sit in the back. He greeted people to be greeted back with stares and dirty looks, with people looking down upon him and judging him.
    As he sat in the back of the church he listened to the church announcements and such. When all that was done, the elders went up and were excited to introduce the new pastor of the church to the congregation.
    “We would like to introduce you to pastor Jeremiah Steepek”. The congregation looked around clapping with joy and anticipation. The homeless man sitting in the back stood up and started walking down the aisle.The clapping stopped with ALL eyes on him. He walked up the altar and took the microphone from the elders (who were in on this) and paused for a moment. Then he recited:
    “Then the King will say to those on his right,’Come you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.Then the righteous will answer him,” Lord when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? “The King will reply,”Truly I tell you whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine you did for me”.
    After he recited this he looked towards the congregation and told them all what he has experienced that morning. Many began to cry and many heads were bowed in shame.
    He then said, “Today I see a gathering of people not a church of Jesus Christ. The world has enough people but not enough disciples. When will YOU decide to become disciples? ” He then dismissed the service till next week.
    Being Christian is more than something you claim. Its something you live by and share with others.

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