I found this short story very convicting when I read it.
A twenty-two year old beautiful young lady was travelling with her mother in a bus. The lady looking out of the window, shouted with excitement, “Mum, look, the people on the street are going behind us?”
Her mother smiled.
Then the lady saw tall buildings and shouted, “Mom, look at those buildings, they are going behind us too, and also, the cars and trees.”
Her mother smiled softly again.
Meanwhile, two other ladies on the bus had been watching all the drama. They cast reproachful glances at the excited young lady’s childish behaviour.
Suddenly she shouted again: “Mom look, the clouds are travelling with us!”
This time, the other two ladies couldn’t take it anymore and said to the mother, “Why don’t you take your daughter to a good doctor”?
The mother smiled and said, “I did. In fact, we are just returning from the hospital. My daughter had no eyesight from birth. She received her eyesight today!”
The two ladies became ashamed of their actions. The other passengers in the bus began to sympathize with the woman and her daughter, and encouraged them to share their story, while casting scathing looks at the other obnoxious ladies. The ladies became ashamed and uncomfortable where they had intended to make the woman and her daughter ashamed and uncomfortable.
“Judge not, that ye be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1 KJV)
Every individual on earth walks their own journey and has their own story. You may have no idea what the twists and turns about their journey have been, nor might you know where it has led them in life. You may also be unsure about facts concerning the story that has emerged as a result of their journey, and so, it is better not to judge anybody based on face value. This is made very important and further buttressed by the fact that God has commanded us to “Judge not according to outward appearance, but judge righteous judgement.” (John 7:24).
Not judging doesn’t mean that you pretend not to see what people do; it rather means to accept what they are doing and think maybe there are reasons for them to behave that way. With this realization come compassion, kindness, peace of mind, and opportunity to help others or to make good friends.
In his book Revelation Revealed, Dr. Jack Van Impe made a comment that got me returning to it often for deeper meaning. He said, “A believer is never to judge a person as far as character and motives are concerned. However, he should definitely judge when that individual’s doctrine is heretical or is filled with wickedness.” This very much corroborates God’s Word in the previously mentioned John 7:24: people’s character and what you perceive to be behind their reason for what they do are all based on outward appearance, but you can never go wrong when you judge sin. However, there’s a catch (pun intended), and it could be you!
It’s a trap!
Here’s the catch! To judge righteous judgement, the judge must himself be righteous. Jesus demonstrated this when a mob tried to stone a woman caught in the act of adultery. He simply said to them, “He without sin cast the first stone.” The crowd lowered their stones till there was no one left to accuse the woman. Why didn’t Jesus stone her? He was a Jew and was righteous. He let her go because He had not come to the world to judge sinners but to save them. His judgement is reserved for His second coming when everyone who has refused to be saved will be judged according to their evil works.
You see, it makes no sense to try to judge people seeing that you could be guilty of something. If you do, you would be trying to do God’s work, and you will inevitably force God’s hand to withdraw His mercy from you and judge you just as you have judged them. “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” (Matthew 7:2 KJV)
“Lord, help me to understand that it is your duty to judge the work of every man whether good or bad. Forgive and cleanse me of every sin and guilt hidden in me and give me the righteousness that comes from You and not from what I think I am doing right so that whenever I judge sin, it will indeed be righteous judgement. I pray in Jesus name, Amen!