Hanging out with Job

I’ve been hanging out in Job lately.  Poor man, right?  I mean, his whole world gets taken from him, and as if that’s not enough, then his friends all start falsely judging him and his relationship with the Lord.  Misperceiving his heart.  Telling him things about his motives that aren’t true.  And telling him things about his life and God’s motives in his life that are patently false.

Ughhh…. to have Job’s friends.  Especially at a time when he so needed them.

Have you ever been there?

When those you long to support you all instead judge you?

If so, I am sorry.  It’s painful.  And it’s lonely. And I am sorry for your suffering.

As if that weren’t hard enough, what can make it even more difficult is when – like Job’s friends – they are united in their judgment. When they have camaraderie in their perceptions.  It can create a feeling of legitimacy and validity.  It can strengthen their resolve in the ‘correctness’ of the judgments.

And it leaves Job – or you – out to dry.

We’ve talked about the danger of this mindset:

If one person calls you a horse, buck it off.
If three people call you a horse, buy a saddle.

Yes, it’s a cute phrase… but does it pass through the grid of Scripture?  That’s what matters!  Our blog on it covers some helpful territory, yet as I’ve been hanging out in Job, the Lord has, for me, brought the clearest example of the danger of that mindset.

Job was, after all, called all kinds of things by – how many? – three people.  (And in the end, ultimately four.) They have chapters and chapters and chapters of perceptions, judgments, and arguments about him and his relationship with the Lord. So are they right?  Is Job a ‘horse’?

This is what the Lord God says:

“There is no one on earth like [Job]; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”  ~ Job 1:8

The Lord God says Job is blameless and upright.  The Lord God says Job fears God and shuns evil.

So the (so called?) friends’ seeming unity of thought does not strengthen their argument.  Instead, it actually weakens them.  Or perhaps it’s more poignant than that: It deceives them.

And in their deceived mindset, what do they do?  Share them with Job and add to his distress.  In other words, they in effect help add to his calamity.

Yikes.

That was Satan’s job.

What does God think of the three friends?  The Lord says,

“I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.”  ~ Job 42:7

The Lord God is angry with them.  Oh yikes.  My eyes well up with tears as I read that.  Those are words I sure don’t want to hear from my Lord!

Job actually was right.  And they are wrong.  The Lord God calls their characterizations “folly.”  And He repeats his assessment in the next verse:

“You have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.”  ~ Job 42:8

My heart sinks.

What should Job’s friends have done?  Instead of presenting their characterizations, what are we to do with arguments and perceptions that set themselves up against the knowledge of God?

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.  ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5

We demolish them.  Dethrone them.  Put an end to them. Remember the cross imagery? We remove them. In a powerful, intentional, offensive, vanquishing way, we destroy them.

Such a powerful reminder from Job and his (so called?) friends.

Lord, help us not to be people of “folly.” Help us to demolish every argument and perception that sets itself up against your knowledge.  Help us to be friends of care, not judgment.  And help us to speak of you and your people what is right and pure.

But ‘their heart is deceitful’!

We’ve looked at a lot of reasons why *not* to judge.  One of the biggest arguments I hear to defend judging is this:

“But your heart is deceitful.”

The situation would go something like this:

Jimmy approaches Sally and tells her something that he thinks he sees in her – something that negatively defines her character or motives.  Sally is stunned and tries to clarify that he has misperceived the situation and her motives.  Jimmy responds, “Well, Sally, your motives aren’t always as pure as you think.  After all, your heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.”

Hmmmm… is Jimmy spot on?

Jimmy sounds godly by quoting Scripture.  And at first glance, maybe the situation seems like Jimmy should be able to speak about Sally’s heart.

But let’s look a little more deeply.

If it’s true that our heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure (and Scripture says it, so I believe it), then what makes Jimmy’s heart any different from Sally’s?  If that verse applies to Sally’s heart, then why wouldn’t it apply to Jimmy’s as well?  So we’ve got Jimmy’s deceitful heart characterizing Sally’s deceitful heart.   That doesn’t clarify the motives of the heart – it compounds the deceit of the heart! 

Now in some situations, the “Jimmy” of the situation will then say, “But Sally is wrong.  I see this clearly, and she doesn’t.”  Again, if the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure, then how are we to trust that Jimmy’s ‘seeing Sally’s heart clearly’ isn’t deceitful and beyond cure?  Being firmly convinced certainly doesn’t preclude deceit!

So we’ve got the logic argument that compounding deceit makes judgment worse – not better!

Let’s also look at the contextual argument.  Here’s our verse with the verses before it:

5 This is what the Lord says:

Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
6 That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.

7 But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
8 They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”

9 The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.   Who can understand it?  ~ Jeremiah 17:5-9

The Lord God says not to trust in man.  After all, what man can understand the heart?  Instead, trust in God.

Then check this out – this is the very next verse!

I the Lord search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
according to what their deeds deserve.”  ~ Jeremiah 17:10

The argument that Sally’s heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure does *not* merit Jimmy’s judging it.  The point of the verse is *not* to have another person’s deceitful heart judge yours.  It is *not* to rely on man.

Instead, it is that the Lord searches our hearts.  It is to trust in the Lord!

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.  ~ Psalm 139:23-24

Our heart is deceitful, so GOD is the one who searches the heart!  His is not deceitful.  It is only from a pure perspective – and He’s the only one with a pure perspective! – that our hearts can be accurately perceived.

Question: What are some other reasons why we shouldn’t defend judging another person with ‘but your heart is deceitful’?

Pretty silly to judge!

I would be remiss to do a series on judging and not include Romans 14!  And wow is there so much good stuff in here.  I’m tempted just to cut and paste the chapter.  I mean, God is God, and His Word is brilliant, of course! We’ll just hit on a few things pertaining to judging…

… or one!  We could pretty much start – and end! – with verse 4:

Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?

That pretty much hits the nail on the head:  Who am I to judge another’s servant?

Especially when the ‘another’ is God!

To their own master, servants stand or fall.

For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written:

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’”

So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.  (v 4, 10-12)

God’s servants answer to Him.  He doesn’t need us to judge them!

I love this summary*:

It’s God we are answerable to… That’s why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other.”

Do you love that?  “the petty tyrannies of each other”!  It is God to whom we answer, so

“None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters.”

God’s got the judgments – and the judgment seat – taken care of for His servants.  He doesn’t need us to help!

And actually, our judgments are, well, pretty unhelpful.

“So where does that leave you when you criticize a brother? And where does that leave you when you condescend to a sister? I’d say it leaves you looking pretty silly—or worse. Eventually, we’re all going to end up kneeling side by side in the place of judgment, facing God. Your critical and condescending ways aren’t going to improve your position there one bit. Read it for yourself in Scripture:

‘As I live and breathe,’ God says, ‘every knee will bow before me; Every tongue will tell the honest truth that I and only I am God.'”

So our judgments don’t help us.  And they also don’t help our brother or sister in Christ.  Instead, as we look at verses 13-21, they cause a big ol’ mess.

1.     Judging makes their life more difficult.

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. (v13)

   2.     Judging drags them down by finding fault.

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (v19; Message instructs with the inverse)

     3.     Judging makes us no longer a companion with them in love.

If your brother is distressed because of [whatever the non-Scripture issue is], you are no longer acting in love. (v16)

  4.     Judging wrecks God’s work among us.

Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of [whatever the non-Scripture issue is]. (v20)

That certainly doesn’t sound like anything that is beneficial to the kingdom!

So if our judging is actually pretty destructive, and since God’s got the judging taken care of,

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. (v13)

Amen?

So we leave the judging to God.  After all, He is the perfect Judge!  And I love that in His judgment, He’s rallying for His servants:

To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. (v4)

As the Lord rallies, so shall we.  Instead of judging, we can engage in things that are beneficial for the kingdom.

  1.     We use our energy to build up His servants.

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (v19)

     2.     We single-mindedly serve our Master! 

So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.  For the kingdom of God is …a matter of …righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.  (v12, 17-18)

We’ve got our hands full just taking care of our own life before God!

* The summaries are from the Message.  I know some people don’t love the Message, but please be assured I am *not* relying on it as inspired text.  Just like commentaries can provide insightful perspective at times, the Message can at times provide perspective as well.

What I would love to change

I so wish I could change it.

I so wish I could change one of the recurring themes in interactions involving judging.  I just love thinking about how much cheerier the world would be if it were different!

This is what I wish we wouldn’t miss out on ~

Judging misses an opportunity to care.

Take this story, for example…

Mindy is hanging out in the church lobby waiting for service to start.  Oh yeah!  she thinks.  Here comes Sarah, my small group leader! 

Um… but wait. 

Sarah races by Mindy with her hand up covering her face.

Um, really?  Mindy thinks.  How rude!  She’s my small group leader, and she didn’t even have the common courtesy to say hi.  And then she put her hand up to cover her face?!  I’m not two years old.  I know you’re still there.  If you don’t want to talk to me, then just tell me.  If you don’t want to be friends, there are more mature ways to let me know than to pretend like you don’t see me and that I can’t see you in the church lobby.  You clearly don’t want me in your small group. 

And on top of all that, Mindy thinks, you’re my small group leader!  This is no way for a small group leader to act.  I should find a staff person and let them know how rude my small group leader is being.  She is certainly not reflecting Christ’s love.

So that’s what Mindy thinks.  Now this is what’s going on in Sarah’s world…

Sarah is on her way to church.  She’s putzing along in traffic, all the while praying for the girls in her group.  She adores those ladies.

As she walks into church, she greets the guy cleaning the windows.  He gets startled, and oops!  Window cleaner spray goes right in her eye.  She jerks and rubs her eye… but apparently too harshly.  Her contact lens scratches her eye, and as she’s rubbing, it goes who-knows-where on her eyeball.  Ouch!  Her eye is on fire from the combination of the chemicals, the scratch, and now the super awkward – and painful – location of her contact lens.  With her hand clutching her eye, she races towards the bathroom hoping to get some relief by flushing her eye out with water.  It’s kind of hard to see and navigate through the crowd.  She prays, Lord, it would be nice if someone saw me and could come help.

Yikes, right?

Mindy feels like she has quite the case.  But does she?  When she runs her thoughts through Philippians 4:8, how will she fare?

Now what if Mindy – instead of judging and critiquing – chose instead to take captive her thoughts?  What if she chose to consider palliating circumstances?  What if she chose to not let judging and critiquing distract – or usurp – her love for her sister?  What if she had chosen instead of judging to care?

We have such a powerful opportunity as believers for our love for one another to be a testimony of Christ.  Yet judging or critiquing often causes us to miss an opportunity to care.  It can be such a sinful distraction from Christ’s call in our lives to love one another!

Simply being aware of this can keep us watchful for sin and Satan’s sneaky ways!  It can be a reminder when a judgmental thought enters our mind to ask, “Is there a way I could show love here?  Is my judging causing me to miss an opportunity to care?”

The Lord was gracious to use this in a powerfully humbling way in my life recently.  I can’t wait to tell you about it next time!

Palliate!

So I learned a new word today: palliating.

I was reading a commentary on Matthew 7:1’s “Judge not lest ye be judged.”  Barnes’ Notes on the Bible explains judging as, among other things, “the habit of forming a judgment …without an allowance for every palliating circumstance.”

So maybe you’re more of a lexicomane than I.  {Do you like that?  It’s another kind of fun word I learned today : ) – apparently it’s up and coming.}  Anyways, I wasn’t really sure what palliating meant… so I wasn’t really sure if I was in the habit of doing it or not.

Good ol’ Webster tells me that palliating basically means extenuating or mitigating; it can lessen the severity of something (often a disease).  So Barnes’ challenge is not to form judgments without allowing for every extenuating circumstance.

Re-framed positively, his encouragement is to first consider every possible circumstance before judging.

So if I am frustrated with someone, I should consider

  • What may have contributed to their action?
  • What else is going on in their life?
  • How might they have perceived this?
  • Whom do I know them to be?
  • How would their God-given gifts affect their handling of the situation?
  • How would their God-given personality affect their handling of the situation?
  • How would their spiritual maturity affect their response to the situation?
  • What other stressors in their life should I be considering?
  • What other situations in their life may frame their actions?
  • What may have been their godly intent?
  • Does the timing of the situation play into this at all?
  • Does the location of the situation affect it at all?
  • Do the others involved affect it at all?
  • What might their emotions or feelings have been at the time?

It’s also helpful to consider me in the equation:

  • How does my background affect how I perceive their actions?
  • How does my personality affect how I perceive them?
  • What else might be going on in my life that may affect my relationship with them?
  • What might I not fully understand about this situation?

And perhaps most importantly,

  • Lord, what else am I missing?

Just some brainstorms!  This certainly isn’t intended to be an exhaustive list or a checklist, but these types of questions can help us think through a situation and consider it from all angles.  Considering all possible mitigating circumstances can help keep us from judging unfairly… from judging in an ungodly manner.

So let’s go forth and palliate!

Or maybe this is a better palliating campaign slogan:  Be a pal and palliate!

[ Sorry to those of you whose cheese-meters just exploded : )]

Question:  What questions and considerations help you palliate?

Who knew calculus had eternal value?!

Judge not.”

Well, then, what are we supposed to do?  Are we then to be laissez-faire?

Not at all.

When I was in high school, our calculus teacher loved to give a Christmas present – well, he called it a present.  We sure didn’t!

It was a Christmas take home exam with 20 questions.  Yuck, right?  The good news was that we could work on it in groups and as a class, so our senior year Christmas break consisted of a lot of calculus parties.  (Is that an oxymoron?)  That’s how we celebrated Jesus’ birthday: doing calculus!

So we all worked together.  We divided and conquered.  We learned and brainstormed and sharpened one another and did our best to conquer this crazy ‘present.’

And as we were nearing the end and getting ready to turn it in, one person found an error, so we starting calling each other so everyone could fix it.  (Yes, we picked up a phone and called.  No texts.  No group e-mails – this was pre-e-mail days.  Weird, huh?)

We were all so grateful that someone realized we were doing something incorrectly and made us all aware so that, if we wanted, we could change our approach.  And of course we wanted!  We wanted to do our best before the ‘judge.’

So with all this group work going on, you can imagine what the grades looked like.  We all pretty much got the same grade.

Pretty much.

One member of our class figured out we did something wrong on a problem.  But he didn’t tell anyone else.  He just turned it in.

So when our teacher handed back the tests, he announced that everyone pretty much got the same grade.

Pretty much.

Except for this one student.

He did better.

{sink}

You could just feel the stomachs drop in the room.

{uggh}

And the collective gaze that pondered, “Why didn’t you tell us?”

I mean, 5 points is 5 points.  I’m not sure anyone really cared about having 5 more points… as much as they cared about a teammate who knew we were doing something incorrectly.  A teammate who knew we would submit our Christmas break’s life before the ‘judge.’  A teammate who knew the ‘judge’ would find us at fault.  A teammate who knew we could be sharpened – and knew how to sharpen us – and who did nothing about it.

We wanted to do our best before the ‘judge’ and reflect all he’d taught us as best we could.  We had all spent so much time together as a team sharpening one another.  We were a team. Betrayal may be too strong of a word, but it was not a happy moment.

It was, however, valuable.

When I am aware of something that can sharpen another person, that can help us be a stronger team, that can help us better reflect our Teacher, that can help us stand ‘perfect’ before our Judge, oh dear!  I certainly don’t want them to look at me one day with an incredulous gaze of “Why didn’t you tell me?”

If I love them, and I want what is best for them, and I want what is best for us, and I want what is the best reflection of our Teacher for His glory, then yes, indeed!  You better believe I want to tell them.

Not as a judge.

Not to condemn them.

Not because I think I’m better than them.  I most certainly am not!

But because I seem to be aware of something that can be helpful before the Judge.  And because out of love and care and compassion, I want what is best for them, for us all, and for His glory.

So I share to make them aware.  At best – at times – as a humble coach.

So one day when it all adds up, we can thank each other for being a teammate.  A teammate who sharpened us.  A teammate to whom we can say, “Thank you for telling me!”  Not because it gets us more points.  But because it draws us closer to the likeness of the Judge.

And nothing is more glorious than that!  Exponentially glorious, that is : )

Why we’re called Christians – and not Godians!

Matthew 7:1-2 is fascinating to look at in the Greek. I’ve color coded below the words that are the same. The ones that begin with κρί are judge or judging. The ones that begin with μέτρ refer to a measure.

1 Μὴ κρίνετε, ἵνα μὴ κριθῆτε· 2 ἐν γὰρ κρίματι κρίνετε κριθήσεσθε, καὶ ἐν μέτρ μετρεῖτε μετρηθήσεται ὑμῖν.

In these two verses, judge is used five times – three right in a row. Measure is used three times – all right in a row. The only other words in these sentences are ‘little’ words like modifiers or conjunctions – not, so that, for, in what, and, and to you. So it seems that either Matthew temporarily had a vocabulary shortage, or he’s really hitting this subject hard!

These two verses with all their repetitious words translate

Do not judge, that you will not be judged. For by what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and by what measure you measure, it will be measured to you.

Boy, he really hammers it!

Our previous posts have explored some of the poignancy of this passage and why he really hammers it. They are challenging!

I came across a commentary that really seems to capture the reason for such intensity about judging. Warning: read at your own risk!

…such persons [who judge] take upon them the place of God, usurp his prerogative, as if they knew the hearts and states of men; and therefore will have judgment without mercy at the hands of God. (from Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)

Um… yikes. {swallow}

I think I need to read that again to really get it:

…such persons [who judge] take upon them the place of God, usurp his prerogative, as if they knew the hearts and states of men; and therefore will have judgment without mercy at the hands of God.

Not even Christ came to judge the world! After the ever-popular John 3:16, John furthers that Christ did not come to judge the world, but that through Him we might be saved! Here it is in the Greek:

οὐ γὰρ ἀπέστειλεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸν κόσμον ἵνα κρίνῃ τὸν κόσμον ἀλλ᾽ ἵνα σωθῇ ὁ κόσμος δι᾽ αὐτοῦ

The translation is

For God did not send his Son into the world in order that He may judge the world, but in order that the world may be saved through Him.

I’m sure you caught the κρί in the verb. It’s the same word for ‘judge’ that we’re talking about in Matthew 7:1-2.

So if God did not send His perfect Son to judge, then, um, do we really think He sent us to judge? If Christ didn’t even climb in the judge’s seat on earth, what in the world would we be doing there?

We’re called Christians, right? Not Godians. : ) And for good reason! We are to be like Christ – and not like God (the Father). We are to be like Christ – not sent to judge the world. We’re *not* to be like God – taking His place as if we knew the hearts and states of men.

I vote we evade the ‘judgment without mercy at the hands of God.’ I vote we love and coach each other towards Christ-likeness – without judging the hearts of men.

Are you in?

Are you my judge?

My husband was hanging out one evening watching TV. And because I love my husband, I curled up next to him. He was watching the reality show America’s Got Talent – where America votes in ‘the ultimate talent show.’

As I sat down to watch, it hit me.

That is exactly what it feels like.

Just like that.

When I’m going along in life, and I think I’m surrounded by fellow teammates. Others on the journey with me simply all doing our best. Others to cheer each other on, refine each other, sharpen each other, so that – different from the show – we can all win the prize.

But then one of our fellow teammates takes a seat in the judge’s chair and starts judging me.

And I am stunned.

Perplexed.

Huh??!?

God is our judge. So what are they doing sitting in that chair – His chair?

When it happens, I almost don’t know what to do. Or how to react. I’m hurt. And baffled. And stunned. And grieved at what is happening to what I thought was a valuable relationship. What is going on?

This paradigm so clearly quickened in me the reality of the sudden shock in a relationship. And then the Lord, in His graciousness, brought a new, helpful paradigm to mind.

Instead of sitting in the judge’s chair, we are fellow ‘acts’ in the show. If we become aware of something the judge likes, well, out of love and care and compassion for all to ‘get the prize,’ we share our concern or learning or teaching.

It looks something like this….

Let’s take, just as an example, someone using the Lord’s name in vain. Instead of judging them:

You are sinful and disrespectful to use the Lord’s name in vain.

We can, out of love and care and compassion for all to ‘get the prize,’ share our concern or learning or teaching regarding what the Judge likes:

You: Hey – I may not be hearing you correctly, but sometimes it sounds like you say, ‘Oh my God,’ when I think you may actually mean to say ‘oh my gosh.’


Friend:
Oh, I think I do.


You:
It’s my understanding that using the Lord’s name in vain is using it when we could say something else. I know it’s so commonly used nowadays that sometimes we pick up habits we don’t intend to. But I think that’s actually something the Lord cares a bit about.

So instead of being the judge, we are helping our fellow teammates in Christ understand what the Judge is looking for. We’re fellow teammates helping other fellow teammates along the path. Or at best – at times – we’re like a stage coach. Sharing what we know so that others may apply it if they choose.

At best, we are a coach. But we never sit in the judge’s chair. More on that next time.

Question: What model, tip, verse, or paradigm helps you spur another along? (without climbing into the judge’s chair, of course!)

P.S. While we’ve focused here on God as our Judge, He is of course not solely a judge to be pleased. God is all-merciful, all-righteous, all-loving, and delights in our good for His glory.

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O Lord.
Psalm 36: 5-6

The gift of not judging

There are so many benefits to not judging others for things not in God’s Word.  A couple we’ve explored:

1.  We may enjoy the eternal benefit of not heaping on ourselves additional judgment by the Lord.

2.  We enjoy the earthly benefit of not inviting on ourselves additional judgment by others.

Those seem like huge benefits to me!

But this is the gift that keeps on giving : )  Here are a few more…

3.  We get the added benefit of focusing our mind on more pleasant things than judging others!  Things that are lovely.  I love it!

4.  We get to focus our relationships on grace.  When we don’t hold things against our friends that God doesn’t hold against them, it can be such a gift of grace to them.  When we only get mad about the things God gets mad about, it can be such a blessing.

I recently received an e-mail from someone who was impacted by not being judged:

Wow, thanks for taking a second chance on me! : )  You were so kind to me on the phone. Thanks for being you!

Being free from judgment over things God doesn’t get mad about can truly be such a blessed gift.

5.  Not only is it a blessing to them, but it is a blessing to us as well as we enjoy a friendship in which our hearts are strengthened by grace.

Question:  What are other benefits of not judging others for things not in God’s Word?  You can leave a comment below. 

Who Is The Judge?

When we are warned, “Judge not lest ye be judged,” in Matthew 7:1, who will judge us?  Does “lest ye be judged” refer to the judgment of God, the judgment of believers, or both?

judge's bench and gavelAs in our earlier example, if a friend judges me for not returning their call quickly, it will likely cause me to expect them to return my calls quickly…and be extra upset if they don’t!  So judging could cause fellow believers to judge me for the same thing.

But it could also refer to the Lord’s judgment, as some passages seem to suggest.  Let’s check out James 5:9 as an example:

Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

The concepts in this verse seem to be similar to Matthew 7:1 – that we shouldn’t grumble against or judge our brother or sister, or we will be judged.  Also, the wording is similar, and the Greek is identical to that of Matthew 7:1.

So who is judging in this parallel passage?  James clarifies that the judging is done by the Judge who is standing at the door. Who is this Judge?  Well, in the previous two verses, James reminds that the Lord’s coming is near, and here he says He stands at the door, so it seems that the Judge is the Lord.

So “lest we be judged” could refer to being judged by other believers for the thing for which we are judging them.  Or it could refer to being judged by the Lord.  Or both – yikes!

No matter whom it’s from, it seems like a wise thing to avoid.  We may reap eternal benefits of avoiding additional judgment… and the earthly benefit of not incurring additional judgment in our relationships.

Question: How do you keep from judging others? (that is, not judging others for things not in Scripture!) You can comment below.