Summary: Second of two-part series on judging. This one focuses on Jesus’ words in John 7:24
November 7, 2010
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT IS FROM ANDY STANLEY’S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."
Audio of this sermon can be heard at www.aberdeenwesleyan.org. Click on the "media" tab.
The fact of the matter is that we judge people all the time.
We all have our lenses we judge people and stuff through, and we all have our own personal “measuring sticks” that we hold up to people to see if they measure up to our standards as someone we be friends with or minister to or whatever.
How do we judge people?
Their past (especially if it’s a bad one).
Their education (or lack of one).
What colors our judgments?
- Our own past, whether good or bad.
- Our church traditions.
- Our own beliefs as we read or mis-read Scripture.
- Our mood at the time.
Last week we looked at Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:1-5, where we find the most quoted words of Jesus in our generation, and those are, “Do not judge, or you, too, will be judged.”
Society likes to throw those words in our face when we confront them about things like immoral lifestyles or false religious beliefs.
“Who are you to judge? Jesus says don’t judge or you’ll be judged. So there!”
And we looked at the fact that Jesus wasn’t saying we throw out all thinking and discerning, because as we’re going to look at today, Jesus actually commands us to judge, as we’re going to look at today.
So what was He saying? He was saying we are not to judge others with:
• A critical spirit.
• An unexamined life.
Why am I covering this stuff?
Because in our emphasis this year on developing healthy relationships that strengthen individual families and the family of God, this issue needs to be addressed – because Christians can be judgmental in the way Jesus condemns, and they can be ignorant of the kind of judgments Jesus wants us to be able to make.
That will help us in our relationships within the family of God and our relationships outside that family.
“Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.”
Okay, so we see here that Jesus, rather than commanding us to not judge, is actually commanding us to judge. But it needs to be done rightly.
How do we do that? Let’s take a look at that for the rest of our time.
In this verse, we find two very distinct instructions that we would do well to take to heart, and the first one is…
“Stop judging by mere appearances…”
Elsewhere in the gospels, Jesus had been accused of breaking the Sabbath because He was “working” by healing a guy.
To the religious leaders, Jesus appeared to be breaking the Sabbath. But Jesus is letting them know that their judgment of Him was erroneous because they didn’t have a proper understanding of the situation, or of the Scriptures.
What we see on the outside is often deceiving.
You know, I make fun of myself and my appearance sometimes, and I make note of the fact that I’m more likely to be compared to Hector Elizondo, the bodyguard/chauffeur from The Princess Diaries than I am to be compared to say, Zac Efron (sp) in High School Musical.
My point is that at first glance I don’t think I make that much of an impression. And if people were to judge me based merely on my appearance, they won’t get an accurate picture of who I am and what I’m all about.
Then they see my wife and they think, “Man, he’s got to have SOMETHING going for him to get that good of a wife.” And as they get to know me, they find out that I’m more than what my appearance alone would say.
That’s true for all of us, isn’t it? The problem is that we judge people by their appearance all the time, in spite of the fact that it’s not an accurate measure.
The principle found in 1 Samuel 16:7 describes the way God operates, and it’s a lesson for us as well –
“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
This is from the story of God choosing David as the new king of Israel. And these were God’s words about David’s oldest brother who must have been a total stud because the prophet Samuel said, “Whoa – this guy must the new king. He just looks like a kingly kinda guy.
And God said, “Nope. Not him. Keep going.” And God chose the youngest one – David.
David didn’t look like a man of God or a king. He was young and inexperienced. He didn’t know anything about being a king. He probably came in from the field smelling like the sheep he was watching.