John 7:24 “Do not judge by appearances but judge with right judgment.” And v50 “Nicodemus, who had gone to Him before and who was one of them, said to them “Does our Law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?””
These two verses don’t seem to have any correlation with each other. But imagining deeper perhaps they identify attitudes that I carry and should correct… What is “right judgment?” Isn’t this something I have continual issue with? How should I approach a subject like this? There are two words in the Greek that are generally translated “judgment”: Krisis and Krino. One is “judgment leading to condemnation” and the other is “evaluation.” Since “condemnation” is God’s province alone, I have to focus on “evaluation.” Wait a minute! My issue is slipping into condemnation. So: How do I cultivate “right judgment” (Krino) from wrong (Krisis)?
Once I became a Christian (many moons ago and today) it didn’t take long to start saying “You are wrong, I am right…”or some other variation on this theme-thumping my Bible. (True story: I have in my early years shopped for Bibles by the way it wiggled; being flexible as I shook it…) It is the occupational hazard of Christians. Our hearts want to lead us to be Pharisees. And if we pray “Father, make my heart soft and responsive to Your Spirit” we find ourselves in sinful conflict. Most times I am not even aware that I have become a “double minded man” and only vaguely aware that I have become “unstable” (Ja 1:8) Other times I bull my way through and do not “think with sober judgment” about myself (Ro 12:3) but have skewed judgment. What do I do to counter this? How do I press through as a faithful disciple? Paul lays this on us in a number of letters but is clear in Romans 12 “Do not be conformed to the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Ro 12:2). What does this mean to me? It means: Replace the judgment that I have, driven by my worldly heart, with the Living Word of God-not only memorizing, but chewing, thinking, discussing, and praying over it and with it. I can’t covet my own ideas but must covet the Bible. It was said of Charles Spurgeon that if you cut him, he would bleed Bible. Do I want to be like that? You bet!
When I drop into Pharisee gear, I find myself taking over God’s prerogatives-in it a sinful, rebellious, and totally inappropriate place to be. I must remember: “There, but for the Grace of God, go I”, no matter who I face. This is embracing the Gospel. Such embrace starts with me.
Father, Please keep me from dropping into Pharisee gear; doubling down with my pride and superiority vs. someone else’s. Such is why the scariest verses in the Bible have to be Matt 7:21-23. May I declare Your goodness all of my days-help me in this because I am weak and fall continuously. Jesus: You love me (I don’t know why) and You care for me (I am underserving)-and I am grateful You do so. I will cherish this mystery all of my days. AMEN