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

As we delve deeper into this testy topic which some may consider more meddling than preaching or teaching, I ask that you carefully and prayerfully evaluate what I offer and allow the Holy Spirit to bring you to His desired conclusion. 

THE PERSON WHO DISCERNS – Thoroughly examines himself before evaluating the actions of others.

In Galatians 6:4, we read, “But let every man prove (dokimazo) his own work.”  He is to test, examine, interpret and demonstrate it based on the principles of God’s Word.  That would is used again in 1 Corinthians 11:28 – “But let a man examine (dokimazo) himself.”  It is used again in v. 31 of that Chapter, “For if we would judge (dokimazo) ourselves we would not be judged.”  Then in 2 Corinthians 13:5, we find it again, “Examine (dokimazo) yourselves… prove your own selves.”  That reveals that it is God’s desire that we clean up the inside of the cup before judging other cups.

It includes a willing submission to God’s examination.  We will be examined by God whether we are willing or not but if we willingly submit to His examination there is redemption.  We should each, daily, seek to place ourselves under the spotlight of God’s Love and Word.  We should eagerly seek to have the Holy Spirit examine the minute details of our lives and cleanse us where cleansing is needed.  We should seek purity before we seek power.  Too often, we justify our own deficiencies by looking at those we see in others.  That dog won’t hunt with God!

The person who judges condemns others for their visible problems but usually fails to realize that their own attitudes stem from inner problems that the judger has not yet overcome or dealt with.  I call to mind the words of the apostle Paul in Romans 2:1 – “Therefore you are without excuse, every man of you who passes judgment (krino), for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.”  Also, in Romans 14:10 – “But you, why do you judge (krino) your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.”

The motive of judgment is to expose and condemn whereas the motive of discernment is to restore and resolve!  That is a critical distinction that we must never lose sight of.

THE PERSON WHO DISCERNS – Assures the accuracy of all the facts and related factors before reaching a conclusion.

That is addressed in 1 Corinthians 2:15 – “But he who is spiritual judges (anakrino) all things, yet he himself is judged by no one.”   In 1 Thessalonians 5:21 we read, “Prove (anakrino) all things; hold fast that which is good.”  Then in 1 John 4:1 we are told, “Beloved, believe not every spirit but try (anakrino) the spirits, whether they are of God.”

This is not to gossiping with every wagging tongue in town or the church, it is going to the individual and the word.  God to the source, not the gossip to make a judgment or discernment.  The person who judges ‘forms opinions’ based on first impressions or hearsay, then looks for evidence to confirm those opinions even when the evidence may be taken completely out of context and slanted wrongly.

We are warned in John 7:4, “Judge (krino) not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”  In verse 51 we read, “Does our law judge (krino) any man before it hears hm and knows what he is doing?”  I ask that you consider the stern warning and admonition of James 4:11, “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges (krino) his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.” 

How can we know what a person meant unless we go to that person and discuss it?  Would you want to be judged by the same hearsay and circumstantial evidence?  Before you exercise judgment against another consider how you would feel if you were treated the same way.  The Golden Rule is applicable – “Do unto others the way you would have them do unto you.”

I want to address this one more time so I will pause and wait until the next devotional to conclude.  I ask that you seek to verify the accuracy of the evidence or charges before you reach a conclusion. Hear the whole matter and examine all the facts.

God bless you as you enjoy this day in Him!