Monday, July 27
Apostles' Creed Focus
“from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.”
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
- Matthew 7:1-3
Does anyone remember culture's fascination with American Idol? It was the prime example of what other talent and competition shows would later base themselves off of. Millions of people would watch the show weekly as it aired (this may be shocking to those who have only binged watched Netflix), waiting to see who would be announced the winner at each season's end. The staple of the show from season to season were its judges, mostly known either for their humor, kindness, or outright rudeness.
I always wondered what it would be like to judge people on national television. Personally, I thought I’d be kind of scared to hold that authority. How do you tell someone something that could crush a life long dream while being permanently recorded on camera? I feared hurting someone’s feelings. I thought that it was probably close to impossible to love someone, while also telling them they should have kept their day job instead of pursuing a musical career.
What’s funny is my feelings about this show closely portray how our culture views judgement today. It’s commonly thought that it’s not possible to love someone while also judging them. Many of us would rather be called anything else other than judgmental. Perhaps the most popular area of scripture commonly misinterpreted to back this claim up is the beginning of Matthew 7.
When we take a close look at the text, we see that Jesus actually is not warning us against discerning truth from error. He isn’t saying don’t judge at all. If we take Jesus as the prime example, he certainly doesn’t oppose the offering of correction. Jesus corrects others throughout the gospels! What he does call out in this passage however, is giving correction in the wrong spirit. Having the right belief about judgement is not enough if it’s leveraged without love or through the motivations of pride. Jesus always demanded more than agreement from his disciples: he demanded obedience.
How does this strike you today? Are you opposed to judging others for fear of conflict or do you sit on the opposite side of the spectrum, where you could probably reflect more on healthy correction through love? No matter where you land, Jesus calls us to stand up for the truth, while also calling us to love others. Through the help of the Holy Spirit, we can be confident that we can strike a godly balance between the two.
Lord thank you that you are the perfect judge. I ask that you would give me confidence in the truth you display before us and love for those around me. God please let me see others how you see them and treat them in a healthy balance of truth and love. Amen.
Verses for Further Reflection
James 4:11-12, Romans 2:1-4