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
Let’s move on in our consideration of this testy topic. We have considered the reality that the person who discerns thoroughly examines him or herself before evaluating others. We have also considered the truth that the person who discerns seeks to verify the accuracy of all the facts before reaching a conclusion. Now, let’s move to a third consideration.
THE ONE WHO DISCERNS – Deals as privately as possible with the problems they see.
If you put everything you see and hear on the street, Facebook or other Social Mediums you do great harm and make restoration and reconciliation virtually impossible. Paul addressed this in 1 Corinthians 6:5-6 – “I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge (diakrino) between his brethren? 6 But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers!”
The objective of Love is always Restoration! The one who judges publicly exposes those they condemn and seek punishment, not restoration. Tragically, the person engaging in public judgment often fails to realize that their actions may result in others condemning them for having the same problems. Luke 6:37 addresses this, “Judge (krino) not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
In our first devotional on this subject, we mentioned a family member expressing a view about the newly appointed Sunday School teacher. That family member, it appears, judged according to appearance and gave a bad report to those not directly involved with the problem. If that person had been discerning, they would have privately investigated the matter, gathered all the facts and factors and gone to the teacher before addressing it with anyone else.
I heard about a pastor who asked a college student to give him a report on the spiritual life of another church member who was attending the same college. The student said, “I haven’t seen much of him, but he doesn’t seem very interested in spiritual things. He has dropped out of our fellowship group and spend quite a bit of time with friends who I don’t think are helping him spiritually.” That seems benign, right? Was he judging or discerning?
Let’s consider several points. He did not have recent contact with the individual, therefore, he was not qualified to give an accurate report. Yet, he left the pastor with the impression that the other student was in a backslidden condition. Judgment involves opinions that are unverified to determine their accuracy. Discernment involves a desire to restore and seeks all the facts before giving the report.
I suggest he should have said, “Pastor, I have lost touch with him, but I believe a contact from you would be beneficial and appreciated.” Christianity is not simply shouting the victory in a church service. It involves spiritual growth and development in ourselves and in others. I plead with each one to resist the temptation to be judgmental and refuse to allow the devil to tempt us to give ‘bad reports.’ If we become involved in judgment, we will likely participate in gossip and slander. True Christianity seeks to restore the fallen.
Galatians 6:1-5 – “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For each one shall bear his own load.” NKJV
My prayer for myself and each of you is, “LORD, help me seek restoration, not judgment. Help me discern the need and seek to provide help rather than rendering judgment and creating a divide.”
Have a great day in Jesus!