Reasons For Guarding Against Relying on the Judgments of Men
1. Have you ever wondered why some people fall into the temptation of relying on the judgments of others?
Illustration:It was F.B. Meyer, I believe, who once said that when we see a brother or sister in sin, there are two things we do not know: First, we do not know how hard he or she tried not to sin. And second, we do not know the power of the forces that assailed him or her. We also do not know what we would have done in the same circumstances.
Stephen Brown, Christianity Today, April 5, 1993, p. 17.
Many times people use judgments for their own selfish purposes or to discredit those who make them look bad. We are given several reasons in this passage to guard ourselves from relying on the judgments of men.
First, men tend to see not as God sees. Tertullus used several lies and one partial truth to attempt to discredit Paul before the Governor. He accused Paul of instigating a rebellion among the people – obviously an attempt to stir up the anger of the Roman Governor. The Romans were afraid of anyone who might loosen their tenuous control over Palestine. Tertullus also claimed that Paul was a self-proclaimed false Messiah who tried to whip the crowds into a frenzy.
The Romans were wary of any false Messiah who might cause a bloody insurrection. Thirdly, Tertullus accused Paul of defiling the temple – the most serious charge. The Romans did not want to lose an ally in the Sadduccees who helped to keep the Jews in check.
These false judgments, accusations and insinuations are an example of the faulty thinking of men without the Spirit of God.
Ask the Lord to help you take up the full armor of God so you can stand in the evil day of men’s faulty judgments.
2. The judgments of people tend to be incomplete, partial and not based on all the facts. Only the Lord is able to render judgments that are completely true, just and holistic.
Only the Lord is able to judge with perfect impartiality.
Only the Lord is able to apply His omniscience to perfectly judge all things.
Trust the Lord to judge all people in a way that only He can.
3. The judgments of people are often based on faulty assumptions. Tertullus and the Jewish religious leaders assumed that Paul wanted to overthrow them.
Whenever our judgments are based on faulty presuppositions our conclusions will always be faulty.
Ask the Lord to help you to set aside any biases, prejudices or faulty assumptions.
4. The judgments of people fail to remember the warnings of Jesus. The Lord Jesus once said, “Do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves.
For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be condemned and in accordance with the measure you use to deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you.” (Matt. 7:1,2)
Some people forget that serving God does not involve taking on the role of God.
Ask the Lord to help you avoid trying to pretend to be God by judging, criticizing or condemning others.
5. The judgments of people tend to be controlled more by emotions than facts. The crowds cried, “Not this man (Christ Jesus) but free Barabbas.” Polls tend to be based on the whimsical moods, emotions and vicissitudes of peoples’ feelings. Trust the Lord to help you to practicing discernment that is based on Biblically based facts, reasoning and Spirit led intuitive senses.
6. The judgments of people tend to reveal more about their immature sinful desires than obedience to God. Festus held Paul in detention because he thought he might extract a bribe for his release.
The accusations, allegations and criticisms of Paul are classic examples of men’s disobedience to Christ’s command to seek first His kingdom and righteousness. Both the Jewish and Romans leaders were interested in seeking the preservation of their own kingdom and their own standards of what they thought was right.
Ask the Lord to help you to tighten the belt of truth, put on the breastplate of integrity and use the shield of faith in defense of faulty judgments.
Conclusion:Just before the death of actor W.C. Fields, a friend visited Fields’ hospital room and was surprised to find him thumbing through a Bible. Asked what he was doing with a Bible, Fields replied, "I’m looking for loopholes." Do not make the same mistake.