Upon further reading and having a mini chat with my awesome church’s associate pastor, I’ve come to a slightly clearer understanding regarding this subject. As with most words in the Bible, the English translation doesn’t always do them justice. The original language usually has a little more to offer and such is the case with the word ‘judge.’
*Romans 2:1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
*1 Cor 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.
*Romans 14:10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.
*Matthew 7:1 Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
The word ‘judged’ in these verses is Strong’s #2919 (scroll down a bit to the exhaustive concordance section) and implies punishment, condemnation, damming, and the act of calling in to question. Not very nice. And exactly the kind of thing I am guilty of doing. When I don’t want someone to move into the house across the street from me because I’ve judged their character based on the car they drive (i know. ridculous.), that’s snobbery and judgementalism (i do what i want. like make up words.) at it’s finest. This is when we get into condemning ourselves because that’s quite hypocritical! It’s not like I’m rollin’ around in a Mercedes. These are not good examples. My brain isn’t working tonight. Ooo. Got one. Sometimes I get frustrated with the way in which a certain person in my life spends his/her free time and sometimes I judge their walk with God based on that fact; but, I’m bringing it (judgement, condemnation) back onto myself, because really, how do I spend my free time?! If someone followed me around for a day, would they know that I love Jesus based on how I used my time? Unfortunately, but honestly, I’m going to have to go with no on that one.
BUT! The part that I get so hung up on is when it is ok to judge. Yes, there are times that it’s accepted.
*Matt 7:16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
*Matt 7:20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
These are the verses that kept popping up when I wanted to justify the kind of judging I was doing. Here, the word used is Strong’s #1921 and means to know upon some mark or to become fully acquainted with. So, there is a difference. In these verses it’s more about discerning rather than judging. I believe that discernment is a gift from the Holy Spirit and something that is developed over time.
As with most things regarding God, it all comes down to the condition of your heart, and this is a behavior He has begun to point out in me that is less than desirable. The main thing for me to realize is that what I’ve been doing–seeing someone’s external appearance (cars, behavior, etc.) and drawing conclusions about that person’s character, their heart, is sin; to look at a person and condemn them in my mind as a ‘sinner’ who “must not be walking closely with God because of this, this, and that.” Only God knows hearts.
When I first started doing this blog I was kind of worried about how it would affect my quiet times and my desire to spend time with God. I tend to over-extend myself, over-inflate my ability to do things, and take on way too much. It’s been good though. It’s made me more self-aware, more aware of the things of God, things like this, places where I’m pitifully falling short. It’s been good.
On a lighter note :) I realize that I haven’t posted anything cooking related in a while; that’s because I haven’t been cooking! It’s been a whirlwind of fast food and restaurants the past couple of days (parenting fail), but I hope to bake something today or tomorrow and maybe even cook dinner on Thursday :) PS-there is a new tab up at the top labeled “God Stops,” check it out and share! :)