Posts Tagged judge

Here Comes the Judge – Not!

John 12: 47

I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.

In his unforgettable characterization, Flip Wilson said, “Here comes the judge!” Jesus might say, “Here comes the Savior.”

I was reading the story of the Samaritan woman when today’s verse came to my mind. The account of Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan woman is found in John 4, verses 1 – 42. Many people came to believe in Jesus as the Messiah because of this woman. She was an evangelist for Christ even though she had three strikes against her. First, she was a Samaritan, a race despised and disdained by the Jews. Second, she was a woman. As such she was at best a second class citizen; at worst, a non-entity. Then there is strike three. She was apparently living with a man who was not her husband. Strike three, you’re out!

But wait . . . Jesus evangelized a city through this misfit. How can that be? She was the disfavored of the disfavored. Why did Jesus show her acceptance? Why didn’t he try to correct her of everything she was doing wrong? Why did he even condescend to speak with her? One thing is clear to me, as I read this tale; one of us has the paradigm wrong, either Jesus or me.

Many of us, while good intentioned, operate under a wrong mindset. We mistakenly believe that we need to judge and correct in order to save. That is not, however, the model Jesus set for us. In his book, judgment is correlated with damnation. Love is connected to salvation. Let me ask you this question? Which model do you think is most effective? John 4: 39 reads, “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony.” Jesus ended up staying in that Samaritan town for three days at the insistence of the residents all because one unlovely sinner spread the gospel. Because Jesus showed her kindness and acceptance, especially in the light of her living arrangement, she evangelized a town.

Love is the greatest force on earth. God is love (1 John 4: 8) and love is God. Mountains can be moved by applying this, the greatest power on earth. It was love that sent Jesus to earth and it was that same love that caused him to choose the cross. HE DIDN’T ENDURE THE CROSS TO JUDGE US BUT RATHER TO SAVE US. He went to the cross so that we could be free of the judgment that was due us. He removed the judgment from our shoulders, indeed from our lives, and took it on himself. He is called the savior. That must have meaning. In his own words, he describes himself as our savior, not our judge. He has the right to judge us because the Father gave all judgment to him (John 5: 22). He chose not to exercise that authority but rather to spend his life and death in removing judgment from us. That is one powerful testimony. Tell that to a sinner. Tell them that no one is judging them. Tell them God loves them and sent His son to save them rather than judge them. Tell them Jesus wants them to spend eternity with him in heaven. That is the good news of the Gospel.

Accuser

Revelation 12: 10

Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down.

Who is the accuser of the brethren? It is he who has been thrown down. It’s Satan, right? God is not the accuser of the brethren. We have already seen that He is the rewarder of the brethren. God is not judging us. He sent salvation and the salvation and power that He sent threw down the accuser. “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8: 1). Christ, our savior, rescued us from judgment and condemnation. That is why our Father does not want us judging and/or condemning each other. He does not want tattle-tales.

Jesus said, “Judge not lest you be judged” (Matthew 7: 1). Well, that sentence could just as easily end with “Judge not.” Satan is the accuser of the brethren. Jesus is the savior of the brethren. He has restored us in His glory and majesty. That is why he hates to hear us judging and criticizing each other. He knows our weaknesses. That is why we needed a savior but despite our faults we are the beloved.

If God isn’t judging us, and we saw that to be true in Monday’s Word of the Day (John 5: 22) and Jesus isn’t judging us (John 3: 17) then where do we get the goofy idea that we are allowed to judge anyone? In doing so we are doing the devil’s work because he is the accuser. This is really huge. Since God and Jesus have foregone their legal right to judge, condemn and sentence us then anyone who does judge is usurping their authority. This is exactly why you see verses in the Bible against gossip, backbiting and strife. We are playing with the devil’s toys when we engage in those acts.

Whatsmore, judging others invites calamity upon ourselves. That is one of the big reasons Jesus doesn’t want us to judge. Remember he said, “Judge not lest you be judged.” Look at Luke 6: 37, “And do not judge and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.” The degree to which we accuse our brethren and judge them, that is the amount of judgment seed we sow and hence by that measure we will receive judgment. It isn’t that God is judging us. We have already seen that is not the case. No, it is that we will just reap judgment and condemnation from the people around us. If you think people are judging you, it might be because you have been judgmental. Jesus wants to save you from yourself.

Whatever you have thought about criticism, accusation, judgment and condemnation in the past should now be tempered by what you know from the Word. God has not called us as judges but rather as believers. He has not asked us to tattle on our sisters and brothers. He is explicitly saying to us that this is an area which is forbidden to us. Satan stands accused for this very thing. He is the one who holds our sin up before the Father but God has condemned him for his acts.

Free yourself from Judgment. It is too heavy a load to bear.

Judgment

Isaiah 43: 25

I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.

There is so much confusion about judgment but what you need to know is that you have already been redeemed. Yes, we were guilty in our sins and didn’t love God but even when we didn’t love Him, He sent His only begotten son to die for us and Jesus took our guilt upon himself. He became our sin so that our sin was nailed upon that tree and our sin went to the grave and Praise God, we are now free.

This is hard for man to understand because this is not the way we think but remember Isaiah 55: 8 where God says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways.” We keep wanting to put ourselves under judgment but God says, “I don’t remember your sins.” When God looks at you, He sees that the blood of the beloved has washed you clean. He doesn’t see sin. He sees Jesus. As hard as it is to understand, God doesn’t judge. 

And there will not be a great day where you will be judged because you have already been redeemed. God isn’t going to resurrect all of your old sin and judge it. He already did and pinned it on Jesus and on the cross. Does it sound outlandish when I say, “God doesn’t judge?” Consider John 5: 22, “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son.” That quote from Jesus establishes two things: God isn’t judging and all judgment has been given to Jesus.

But hold on a moment before you throw yourself at the foot of the judgment seat again. Jesus has something to say about this, “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3: 17 – 18). Come on!! Let’s get a revelation of this! We are not slated for judgment. The blood speaks for us. Glory to God I am saved!

Listen. I am not saying that the world is not judged. I am telling you that you have been saved by the grace of God, saved from judgment. Hallelujah! You don’t have to face the judgment seat of terror. You are going to see your Dad. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (John 5: 24). It really is this simple. You have been set free from the curse of sin, death and the grave. You are free. You are loved. Glory!

Do You Love Me?

John 15: 17

This I command you, that you love one another.

If you knew me would you still love me? My definition of a friend is “someone who knows you and still likes you”. Sometimes we become acquainted with someone but then when we find a blemish on their armor or find that they have needs as well as strengths, we abandon that friendship.

One of our problems is that we make judgments about people based on these perceived faults. Well, when you began becoming friends with them, did you think they were perfect? There has only been one perfect. So discovering that a person is flawed really shouldn’t be such a big surprise.

Our response to these pronounced judgments is to hide away our true selves. Hence my question, “If you knew the real me, would you still love me?” Well, I know how Jesus answers that question and it is probably why we love him so much. He sees us for who we truly are complete with all of our emotional baggage, scars and our faults and yet loves us anyway. In fact, he knew all of my short comings before he went to the cross and seeing my damage chose to go to the cross anyway. Now that is a friend indeed.

Now Jesus directs us. He has said, “Do not judge” (Matthew 7: 1). Instead he commands us to love one another. I don’t see an easy way around these two imperatives. Do you? We are very good at determining what is good and what is bad but remember, that is the fruit of the tree we were never supposed to eat from (see Genesis 3: 2 – 4). Eating the fruit of that tree is what yielded the curse and it is still producing misfortune and torment in our lives today.

We do not need to agree with each other’s politics or even religious views but we do have to accept one another. We have not been appointed to determine who is good and who is bad, who gets into heaven and who does not. Our job is but to love. Period, end of story. Now, if we could really get a revelation of that, we would transform the world.

The Righteous Judge

James 4: 12

There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?

 I have an even better question. Who are you to judge yourself? You see, all judgment has been given to Jesus: ALL. We have no more business judging ourselves than we do in judging others. This is one thing that really makes Jesus angry. Read the gospels. When was his ire piqued? It was always over the sanctimonious Pharisees. How dare we judge what Jesus has sanctified.

I am as guilty as anyone. Recently my trip to the beach coincided with fall bike week, bikes as in motorcycles. Some bikers are accountants during the week but we also encountered some folks that you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley at night. But that is a judgment isn’t it? This fellow passed me on the street and I could feel myself recoil. He was covered in tattoos, his hair was dirty, his teeth needed some work and of course he was dressed in jeans and a leather vest. Now for all I know he could have been the nicest person at the beach but I felt myself wanting to give him a wide berth. I did catch myself though and tried to see him through Jesus’ eyes and then it occurred to me that Jesus went to the cross for this guy. Who am I? Am I really any cleaner than he?

God gave all judgment to Jesus because he is the savior, the life giver. When Jesus judges it is in order to bring salvation, hope and blessing. We condemn people. When we exercise judgment then we are calling what Jesus calls holy unclean. We begin to look like Pharisees.

For those of us who are tough on ourselves we must recognize that self-condemnation, judgment and persecution are not saintly exercises. We are God’s precious children. How would you feel or react to someone criticizing your children? Do your really want to call one of God’s children unclean? Not me! I’m guessing that is the one way to incur his wrath. Our energy would be better spent thanking God for making us His righteousness in Christ Jesus. We may not demonstrate perfection in our actions but the perfect lives within us. We are temples of the Holy One and that alone makes us worthy and beautiful. I may disappoint myself sometimes but God sees fit to make His abode within me. And honestly, as the Apostle Paul has taught us, it really is in my imperfection, in my weakness that His glory shines. Whatsmore, if I am busy judging and condemning myself it means that my eyes are on me rather than on Him and that is the deepest cut of all.

We have not been given the authority to judge anyone and the reason is because we seed the soil of our spirit with corruption when we exercise judgment. It is poison to our spirits and it is from our spirits that life comes forth. We all want to harvest a crop of abundant life so we must take care of the soil and note what kind of fertilizer and seed we are spreading. If we put toxic material like judgment and unforgiveness in the fertile soil of our regenerated spirit it is going to have a devastating effect on the life giving spring of our spirits. We really must ponder this and allow Jesus to speak into our lives about the toxic environment we are creating in His temple. It doesn’t matter who your judgment is aimed at – it is all forbidden you. So whether it is tattooed motorcycle riders, rock and roll musicians, gays, the “other” church or even yourself, you are killing your crop which is the abundant life of blessing and health when you engage in it. All judgment belongs to Jesus and he has not shared his authority with any of us. I would even say that it is a high offense against Jesus and the position God has given him. Moreover, we take on the mantle of Pharisees when we engage in judgment and the last thing any of us wants is for Jesus to see us as Pharisees. Release all judgment. You will find freedom and peace.