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Thursday, March 22, 2012

40 Days with James ~ Day 30 ~ Judgmentalism

Day 30 ~ Judgmentalism

James 4:11-12 Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you-- who are you to judge your neighbor?

Television is turning us all into judges. This struck me as I was watching "American Idol" this past week. I sat there and judged each singer, as the show has been designed to let me do. But, then, after Steven Tyler said something that made no grammatical sense, Jennifer Lopez began to praise a singer that I thought was awful. I said, "What is she thinking? That was terrible!" Suddenly, I was judging the judges! When Randy rightly said (in my judgment) that it wasn't the best of the night, the audience booed. "Why do they always do that? They don't know anything!" Another judgment! The worst part? I know nothing about music except what I think sounds good. But, since I have a remote and an opinion, I am able to cast judgment in my living room like I am a record producer!

Judgmentalism is an epidemic in our society. We judge everything. We even judge our brothers and sisters in the church. We look down on them and gossip about them. Sometimes, in our self-righteous "benevolence," we give "godly" advice on how this person can improve themselves, you know, become a better Christian...well, a better Christian by our judgment anyway. In our worst moments, we'll find ourselves thinking, "Why are they here? Are they even a Christian? If so, they certainly aren't as mature or sanctified as I am!"

We spend a lot of time trying to see around the planks in our eyes so we can stare at the specks in the eyes of others (Matt. 7:3-5). Judgment may be funny when watching American Idol, but it is deadly in the church. It causes despair among those who worry about their faith and pride among those who think they have this whole Christian life figured out. To be sure, we are to lovingly correct one another when we fall into sin. But, it is not ours to judge the faith of our brothers and sisters. That belongs to God! He is the one who is able to save and destroy.

When we find ourselves being judgmental towards our brothers and sisters, we find ourselves opposed to God. His judgment towards sinners took place on the cross. The guilty verdict against sinners was declared against Jesus as He was condemned in your place and in the place of all your brothers and sisters in the church. God has cast his judgment on all of us in Christ. God has judged us holy for Christ's sake.

Confess: Heavenly Father, gracious Judge, you have had mercy on me for the sake of your Son Jesus who took my guilty verdict and died in my place. You have declared me, a sinner, righteous. Please forgive my constant judgmentalism. Teach me to let your judgment stand for my brothers and sisters. Help me to love and not judge. AMEN.

Challenge: Once again, go an entire day without saying something negative about anyone.

Pastor Bob

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