Critical thinking…

May 29th, 2019

Don’t judge me!

Most of us don’t really care that much to have judgement passed on us. It really doesn’t matter by whom, we just don’t care to have anyone else tell us we are wrong and point out the error of our ways.

We don’t have to walk in the shoes of those who are living in corruption to appreciate righteousness. Satan would like to convince us that fairness dictates we do exactly that, because from his standpoint unless you experience it, you simply have no basis on which to make a fair and impartial evaluation.

That’s a load of soot and ash if I ever heard it!

First before we get into the issue of judging, let’s get one thing straight.

What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

2 Corinthians 6:16-18 (ESV)

The fallacy that “it takes one to know one”, is garbage. We need not experience what someone else does to qualify ourselves to discern good from evil and righteousness from sin. We are not to take part in unrighteous acts or behavior, period!

The moment that Adam and Eve partook of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, humanity could now judge those things which were good and evil in the sight of God. Denying that which we know to be truth isn’t a means of avoiding the consequences of that truth. It becomes nothing more than a slippery slide to the depth of condemnation without recompense.

The truth is, we need not walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, to know if they way they are traveling is outside what God, the ultimate judge, sees as right and good.

No, the experience idea has nothing to do with understanding truth, it’s only an excuse to do those things which we have abundant reasoning to know are wrong. The concept that ‘You just have to try it to understand’ is a lie.

Judging from the looks of it

Conversely, we can’t always know at a glance just what is right or wrong in another’s life. True there are certain absolutes that are too far out of bounds from good behavior to be anything other than sin. The taking of an innocent life is right up there to the top of that list. Cold-blooded murder is nothing but cold-blooded murder. It doesn’t matter how we attempt to contort the facts, the willful taking of the life of another, is sin.

So, there are settings where we can judge by the appearance of the situation. There is nothing wrong with doing that so long as our observation is complete, and our consideration is based on that which God has made known to us in His Word.

The thing that gets us out on a limb at times is that we want to go back to our experience and use that model, as a lens, through which we look at things.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)

If we are to be Disciples of Christ Jesus, then we can’t use our own understanding as the prism through which we look upon issues. The very concept of a disciple, dictates we do our very best to do as Jesus does, say what Jesus says, and behave in a manner in keeping with what Jesus would do.

Jesus isn’t a dead prophet whom we respect and attempt to follow the teachings of. He IS the risen savior, the Messiah, and the Son of the Father. With Him and His Word as our guide we have the necessary discernment to evaluate and distinguish good and evil.

It is amazing how many who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ, wish to infer that anyone other than God is a qualified judge. Scriptures make this clear, but scripture also points out we are to judge the spirits and fruits.

God is the final judge in all things! He is also the only one who assigns condemnation. Humanity isn’t condemned by the identification of evil, God has already condemned evil and designated the punishment for it. Our pronouncement of evil and calling it out, doesn’t cast condemnation on the act, God and His Word does.

We have been giving direct reference to determine good and evil. These references are His Word, His Spirit, and the fruit which is produced.

Word, Spirit, Fruit

You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

Matthew 7:16-20 (ESV) 

We all produce fruit of some sort. Obviously one who has Christ Jesus living in them should exhibit the ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ detailed in Galatians 5:22. But understand while these are the desired fruit, we as believers and those outside the grace of Jesus can and will manifest several other fruits. The Word of God defines many fruits as being either of the flesh, or of righteousness.

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise.

Proverbs 11:30 (ESV)

We’ve all experienced the positive feeling of joy that bubbles up in us when we do something kind for another person, that act of kindness injects an extra measure of life in us from the fruit we are producing at that particular moment. This is the ‘fruit of righteousness’; not to be confused with “The Tree of Life” mentioned in Genesis and Revelation.

Through our actions we could never produce fruit capable of sustaining life forever, that fruit is a gift from God himself only. God has breathed his life into us, and when we are found using that life to forward His goodness there is an extra measure of that life running through us.

So, we all exhibit various fruits and the type of that fruit serves to identify what kind of tree we are.

We are also to judge based on the Spirit too.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

1 John 4:1 (ESV) 

Discernment is very important, but Jesus also taught us, we should pull the plank out of our own eye before attempting to remove the splinter from our brothers.

Christ’s Spirit living in us, bears witness with the spirit of those around us. Those spirits which are not of God will be identified by the shadow casts from the evil within them. Those spirits which are of God will bring with them a feeling of community and communion. This is precisely why when we are with God’s people, we all feel a greater joy and comfort than when we are isolated from them. Likewise, when we are exposed to pure evil, the opposite is true.

Thankfully, the Spirit of God which lives in us, protects and comforts us when we are exposed to spirits which are not of God.

The most important measure is the Word of God.

Our salvation is based on faith through the grace of Jesus. Nothing else. Not works, not anything we can do on our own. Jesus did it all, and he paid it all for us. We have only to accept his grace and place him in authority over our lives to have our debt of sin forgiven and His Spirit come and take up residence in us.

God has provided us with His Word. Through that Word and the Spirit living in us, we have guidance in those things which are good, and discernment for those things which are not.

Matthew 7:1 says we should “Judge not, lest you be judged”. Many will attempt to distort these words of Jesus and attempt to convince us we are in no position to judge around us, but that isn’t what Jesus was saying. He’s given us the tools for discernment, and we are to judge, we must.

We all face judgement and the appropriate condemnation of what God finds us guilty of. God sets the standards by which punishment and reward are handed out. God also provided the standard on which we are to place our faith and hope in to be absolved of our guilt. His Son, Jesus Christ, who took upon himself the sin of the world, so we might have a relationship with God that lasts forever through His grace and mercy.

Judgmental”? Ultimately, God is the one true judge. But we have been given the tools to discern right and wrong, righteousness and sin. We are to use them to identify evil and to avoid the pitfalls of sin in our lives as we live in this flesh, secure in the pardon from the one who gave his life for us, that we might have life with him forevermore.

In the Grace of Jesus!

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