Summary: Why we should refuse to judge others.
Iliff and Saltillo UM Churches
Fifth Week of Lent
April 6, 2003
“Do Not Pass: Refusing to Judge Others”
James 4:11, 12
INTRODUCTION: In today’s scripture when Jesus said “judge not” was He wanting his disciples to close their eyes to all evil and error? Did he intend that managers forgo critical performance evaluations of their employees? Or that juries refrain from judgment of the guilty? Should we decline to make any assessment of others totally since none of us is perfect?
Some people are under the impression that the Lord forbids the use of our power to make any kind of judgments. However, scripture doesn’t bear this out. For example in John 7:24 Jesus taught, “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.” Referring to church discipline, Paul said “to judge those who are inside” the local church (rather than outsiders) (I Corinthians 5:12). The apostle, John, taught the people to “test the spirits” (I John 4:1) which requires making judgments as to right and wrong. Jesus said in Matthew 7:15, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing.”
What, then, is this scripture referring to? Jesus’ statement, “Do not judge” is speaking against the kind of hypocritical judgmental attitude that tears others down in order to build ourselves up. It is not a blanket statement against all critical thinking which needs to be done in assessing certain situations.
The title of today’s message is “Do Not Pass: Refusing to Judge Others.” On this fifth Sunday of Lent we are looking for ways to draw closer to the Lord. As we look toward receiving communion this morning, let us examine ourselves in this particular area.
1. Improper Judgment: Jesus knew that the problem of judging others was a problem that needed to be addressed back then as it is also today. He is saying, “Don’t pick on people, jumping on their failures and criticizing their faults unless you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging!” (Message Bible Matthew 7:1)
Story: A very critical, negative barber never had a good thing to say about anyone or anything. A salesman came into his shop one day and told him he was going on a business trip to Rome. The barber asked, “What airline will you be taking and what hotel will you be staying at?”
When the salesman told him the barber criticized the airline for being undependable and the hotel for having horrible service.
“You’d be better off to stay at home,” he advised.
“But I expect to close a really big business deal and then I’m going to see the Pope.”
The barber continued, “Don’t count on seeing the Pope. He only sees important people.”
Several weeks later the salesman returned and stopped by the barber shop. “How was your trip?” asked the barber.
“It was wonderful,” the salesman said. “The airline was great, the hotel was excellent.”
“Did you see the Pope? What happened?”
The salesman said, “Oh yes! I even bent down and kissed his ring.”
“No kidding. What did he say?” asked the barber?
“Well, he placed his hand on my head and said to me, “My son, where did you ever get such a lousy haircut?”(source unknown)
When you judge, usually it will eventually come back to you. Most of us are in such a habit of judging and criticizing others that we don’t think about how it affects others as well as how it affects us in our walk with the Lord.
Illustration: The other day I made a remark to Walter about someone and I said, “What do you think?” He said, “It’s not my place to judge.” I think that was good advice.
We seem to have the disposition to look unfavorably on the characteristics and actions of others which leads to the pronouncing of rash, unjust and unloving judgments upon them. One of the things that is so bad about judging in this way is that we don’t know people’s motives. We never know all the facts. We don’t know their hearts and we can’t read their minds. We jump to false conclusions so much of the time.
Illustration: It is said that the Sioux Indians have a prayer that says, “O Great Spirit, let me not judge another until I have worn his moccasins a moon or two.”
A Scripture to remember when we are tempted to judge others based on incomplete facts is James 2:12. “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
So if what you give out boomerangs back to you, would you be glad to get it back? If it is harsh, critical judgment you wouldn’t. If it is mercy, you would.