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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.

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