Thought for the Month
"Do not judge, so that you may not be judged". This clear warning against Christians judging each other indicates the consequences of disobedience. In Matthew 7 Jesus illustrates His teaching by telling a forceful parable. "Why do you see the speck in your neighbour's eye but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbour, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye, while the log is in your own eye?'" Criticism of other people is so often based on a wrong attitude towards them. Jesus regards it as a defect of our spiritual vision. He took this sin very seriously and said those who committed it are 'hypocrites'. There were two human faults that our Master particularly disliked, one was hypocrisy and the other arrogance. These serious weaknesses are both involved in judging others. When we judge someone else we make the arrogant assumption that we are better than the person we are talking about. We may be trying to be helpful, but really we are covering our own weaknesses. Comments made about other people's beliefs without the spirit of love prevent us from seeing clearly our own failure to interpret the Scriptures correctly.
Paul wrote to the Church at Rome "Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls…..Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead make up your mind not to put a stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way." Romans 14 is a chapter to be read often (especially when we have heard a juicy piece of gossip). Paul takes to task those who criticise others about what they eat and which days they observe. Christ alone, Master of all, is in possession of all the facts and circumstances, is much better able to 'judge', particularly as He was the one who went all the way to Calvary for the brother or sister being criticised.
The members of the Church at Corinth were very divided among themselves with criticisms flying in all directions. "Therefore" Paul writes to them, "judge nothing before the appointed time, wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in the darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God."
James too has a word on this subject "Do not speak evil against one another, brothers and sisters.…There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. So who, then, are you to judge your neighbour?" (Jas 4.11,12). This attitude towards others within the Church is gossip and slander. Sadly it is also extended to other communities. The principles and basis for condemning other groups who we feel do not belong to Christ are the same as for individuals and can be just as hurtful, not only to those who are judged but to those who are uncharitable enough to make the criticisms. Other Christians, not of our persuasion, stand or fall before one Master and Lord ‑ and He gave the law of love by example, not only in word but in every action of His life.
Gone from us
Brother Dan Henderson (Lydney)
Brother Ellis Thurman (Barnsley)
Sister Elsi Booth (Manchester)
Till the day breaks and the shadows flee