DISCERNMENT or JUDGMENT?


Matthew 7:1-2 – “Do not judge lest you be judged. 2 “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”  NASB

How would you like to live in a society where no one would give a bad report about you unless they came to you first?  The Bible is quite clear about Christians and judging.  We are warned that if we judge the same measure of judgment will be used to judge us.  The Child of God who is an overcomer and fully committed to Christ will be able to make wise discernments.  Sadly, many call their judgment discernment when it is judging with no redemption in mind.

We are told in 1 John 4:1 – “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”  Our primary focus and objective should be to become the best possible Christian we can become and to build qualities in others that will help them become might in God and overcomers.

Let me offer this illustration and hope it resonates with you.  One Sunday a family on their way home from church was having a discussion.  One of the family members said, “Based on the man they just appointed to teach our class, it would appear that the church has some very serious spiritual issues.  This man has major problems in his marriage, his children are rebellious, and the way he dresses offends many in the church.”

The question is, “Was this family member judging or discerning?”

To have true insight as to the meaning of discernment and judgment we need to turn to the Greek and how those words were used in the New Testament.  In the word discernment, we find three verbs that give insight as to its true meaning.

Dokimazo – To test, to examine, to interpret, to discover, to prove, and to demonstrate.  Anakrino – To ask questions, to examine, to evaluate, to scrutinize, to investigate, and to search out.  Diakrino – To make a distinction (between persons); to weight thoroughly each part.

In the word judgment, we find the primary verb used gives insight as to the scope and action of the word.  Krino – – To pass judgment on, to sentence; to mentally or judicially condemn; to conclude, to decide, and to determine.

Based on those definitions, if that family member was investigating the spiritual needs of the church, they would be discerning.  However, if they were simply concluding that there were spiritual needs without taking proper steps to resolve them, they would be judging.  There is a dramatic difference and although the Bible tells us that we know them by the fruit their lives it does not give us a license to become self-appointed fruit inspectors and judges.

I want to deal with some specific aspects of this topic and hope that my meager offering will resonate and inspire you to more carefully consider your own life and attitude.  As I write this, I sense the conviction of the Holy Spirit upon me and some of my attitudes that I glossed over are not pleasing to Him.  Therefore, I am speaking as much if not more to me than anyone else but invite you to come along for the ride.

God bless you and we will address this more in the next devotional.  Have a fantastic day!

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