My strongest spiritual gift is the gift of criticism. What’s that? Criticism is not a spiritual gift? You could have fooled me with how naturally it comes to me, especially when I got my Christian on. I cannot only inspect some fruit, I can tell you how it was planted, on my worse days that is.
Being judgmental is so easy, it’s like I have a fault radar that sweeps out to a range of 50 miles finding all the faults of others all the while me being at the main bang (the center of the radar as we air traffic controllers call it) and missing any notice of me.
God just reminded me of this a few minutes ago as I was taking a shower. I have a habit of checking someone’s Christian credentials and establishing mine prior to or soon after the conversation begins on Biblical matters. I did it yesterday.
So God reminded me of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and His message on judging others:
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)
That’s me, Ol’ Plankeye, or as the Casting Crowns song “Jesus, Friend of Sinners” says:
Always looking around but never looking up I’m so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided
Knowing that I will be judged by the standards I set for others should be enough to keep me from being judgmental, but alas the gift just keeps on giving. Oswald Chambers warns against this and the meaning of Matthew 7:2:
This statement is not a haphazard guess, it is an eternal law of God. Whatever judgment you give, it is measured to you again. There is a difference between retaliation and retribution. Jesus says that the basis of life is retribution – “with what measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” If you have been shrewd in finding out the defects in others, remember that will be exactly the measure given to you. Life serves back in the coin you pay. This law works from God’s throne downwards (cf. Psalm 18:25-26).
I don’t want any part of living up to the standards I set for others; I want grace and more grace. But the standards I set for others would be good for me to abide in because I am using the Bible as my standard. The problem is I’m just not living up to them. The Apostle Paul warned the Roman church against judging others:
“Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?” (Romans 2:1-3)
Yes Paul, I do think that I “will escape the judgment of God,” or at least I live like I do, even though I know better.
But at least the Lord as shown me a way to stop being so self-righteous and judgmental. He taught me through His Word to turn that around:
“So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.” (Romans 14:12-13)
I need to become righteous and self-judgmental, surrendering to the Will and Word of God and allowing Him to judge.
Please pray for me that I will be mindful of this always. I’ll be praying for you too.
And I’ll be watching too…
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Copyright © 2012 David Jeffers