Summary: If you want to stop judging, then focus on the fundamentals, analyze your attitudes, and consider the coming judgment.
Overcoming a Judgmental Spirit
Rev. Brian Bill
Have you heard about the 33 miners in Chile that have been trapped 2,200 feet underground since August 5th? Newsweek reported that everything they need to survive must fit in canisters a bit over three inches wide (9/20/10). I was encouraged to hear that they sent down 33 mini-Bibles for them.
In commenting on their chances of survival, John Cacioppo, a psychologist who specializes in social isolation in humans and animals at the University of Chicago, said this: “If the miners who are trapped can bond and work together to tick off the days they are separated from their families and friends, it would help them survive the ordeal…If they’re a cohesive group and there’s good reason to think they can get out alive, they’re likely to be fine. If they were not cohesive to start with, it would be worth trying to do something to build group cohesion…If social order breaks down among the miners, or if one of them begins feeling ostracized, trouble could ensue.”
In other words, they will survive to the extent that they can get along…and the same is true for us as believers. How would you do if you were trapped underground with 32 other people for 53 days so far, and you knew you might not be rescued for several more months? Let’s bring this closer to home. I’m going to count off 33 people and when I point to you, would you please stand? Now look around and imagine you spending months together with this motley crew. Some of you are starting to hyperventilate already.
How’s the judging been going this past week? Are you still measuring people according to your spiritual standards? I thought of a verse from the lips of Jesus this week that should provide an incentive for all of us to throw away our spiritual tape measures. It’s found in Matthew 7:2: “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
How did you do on your homework assignment this past week?
* Did you figure out why you’re so sour and crabby?
* Did you move toward someone this week? How did it go?
* Did you deal with any family friction? How did that turn out?
* In what ways has your view of God expanded this past week?
* Anyone want to share how praying before saying helped you say less?
Last week we were introduced to the topic of “disputable matters,” those grey areas about which the Bible allows for differences of opinion and preference. I mentioned that there are a lot of areas that the Bible is very clear about. In our next series that will begin on October 24th, we’re going to tackle some very provocative and highly relevant topics with some clear biblical answers.
* What Jesus Would Say To…A Muslim
* What Jesus Would Say To…A Mormon
* What Jesus Would Say To…An Atheist
* What Jesus Would Say To…An “Ex-Christian”
Today we want to tackle the topic, “How to Overcome a Judgmental Spirit.” Behind this topic is the assumption that we all have some judgmentalism that we need to jettison. I know I do. Please turn in your Bibles to Romans 14:9-12. I see three ways that this passage will help us overcome a judgmental spirit.
1. Focus on the fundamentals of our faith. We see this in verse 9: “For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.” John Piper points out that Paul is not just offering some insight into clearing up some relational bumps. Instead, Paul is elevating things immensely by tying our care for fellow Christians to the weightiest truths about Christ. Since Christ died for that believer you are judging and He rose again for that one you are despising and ignoring and He is Lord of those who are dead and alive, then as we focus on Jesus, we should stop our judging. In other words, in light of what really matters, we should let little matters go.
2. Analyze our attitudes. Check out the first part of verse 10 where we’re faced with two probing questions that draw a contrast between what Christ has done and the condemning that we tend to do. The first question is emphatic with the word “you” used twice and is directed to the “sensitive” brother: “You, then, why do you judge your brother?” And the second is directed to the “strong” one: “Or why do you look down on your brother?” To judge means to sift out and analyze evidence and is in the present tense indicating that they were continually passing judgment. Passing judgment, by implication also conveys the idea of condemning.