Tag Archives: Jesus

Walking the Thin Line of Judgment

WALKING THE THIN LINE OF JUDGMENT

By Carolyn Dale Newell

“Judge not, that you be not judged.”

Matthew 7:1 (NKJV)

This is one of the most misunderstood verses in Scripture. People use it without knowing the true meaning. There are two ways we can judge someone: discernment and criticism. There is a thin line between the two. We must be careful to know the difference.

Jesus said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). Christians must discern, or make righteous judgments.

A few verses below our focal verse, Jesus said that we should not give anything holy to dogs, nor should we cast pearls before swine (Matt. 7:6). That requires discernment. We need to differentiate between holy and unholy.

Further down in the same chapter, Jesus spoke about false prophets. He said, “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit” (Matt. 7:16-17).

We are fruit inspectors, and we should lovingly rebuke a sinning brother as directed in Matthew chapter 18. With witnesses and in love.

The judgment we must abstain from is self-righteous criticism. In verses 3-4, Jesus gives the example of trying to remove a speck out of a brother’s eye while having a plank in his own eye. Although the plank can be any sin, it likely refers to self-righteousness. “…remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matt. 7:5). Clean up your own life and then you can make righteous judgments. In particular, remove all holier-than-thou thinking. Refrain from hypocrisy.

As David said, “Create in me a clean heart, O God…then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You” (Ps. 51:10a, 13).

Prayerfully consider whether your judgment is one of loving discernment or harsh criticism. Never judge hastily, and always have all the information before making a judgment. Never play God nor allow yourself to become a gossip. Always show mercy, just as God has been merciful to us.

Heavenly Father, thank You for mercy. Help me to be merciful to others, and help me distinguish the differences between discernment and criticism. Cleanse me of all self-righteousness. For I know this is Your will for me. Amen.

DIG DEEPER

Read Matthew 7:1-6, and 15-20, Matthew 18:15-20.

HIKING THE TRAIL

Examine yourself. Have you neglected making righteous judgments because you were fearful of judging? Have you been critical of someone? Has it turned into gossip? Seek God’s wisdom in these areas.

Copyright 2015 Carolyn Dale Newell.

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3 Anchors to Keep You Afloat in Any Storm

 

3 ANCHORS TO KEEP YOU AFLOAT IN ANY STORM

By Carolyn Dale Newell

But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

Matthew 14:27 NKJV

Do you ever feel like you are barely keeping your head from going under water? Do you grow tired searching for a lifeboat, but no lifeboat is in sight? The victims of the Titanic felt hopeless. Despite its massive size and three anchors, the Titanic sunk.

The center anchor weighed over 16 tons. It measured about 18 feet in length, and its width was over 10 feet. It still lays on the floor of the Atlantic. A replica can be seen at the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Friend, we have a bigger and better anchor when we sail stormy waters with Jesus.

Matthew chapter 14 gives us the account of Jesus walking on water, right through the storm. Our first anchor is providence. After feeding the multitudes, Jesus sent His disciples to the Sea of Galilee while He retreated to the mountain for solitude and prayer. The disciples launched out into the water where they encountered a severe storm. These apostles were obedient. They were in the will of Jesus Christ, but they still encountered stormy waters. In the midst of compliance, something bad occurred. Something fearful.

Thunder doesn’t roll and lightening doesn’t strike only when we step out of God’s will. We can be right smack dab in the middle of it and still hit rough seas, just like these disciples.

Providence means Christ controls many situations to bring about His desired outcome. God had a reason for this storm. Peter would never experience the thrill of walking on water if not for the storm.

Consider the way Jesus providentially weaved your circumstances to bring you to where you are today. He is fully in control. Storms never catch Him off guard, even though you were surprised. Take comfort in the providence of Christ.

The second anchor we cling to is the presence of Jesus Christ. Right in the midst of the turmoil, Jesus came to the disciples. He never leaves us or forsakes us (Heb. 13:5). We shake. We shudder. We shiver, but we are not alone. We look up, and Jesus is there. Jesus came walking on the water toward the fearful men. No waves or winds prevent Him from being with us.

Our final anchor is power. Jesus calmed the storm with a word. One word from Christ holds more power than any nuclear weapon. At the sound of His omnipotent voice, creation obeys. Jesus settles seas, whips winds into quiet submission, and clears storm clouds away. Our prayers are received by the One who controls heaven, earth, Weather and climate. He even controls the smallest details of our lives.

Christians will go through storms, but we never go it alone. We are in the providential care of Jesus Christ. Jesus is by our side during every thunderclap and lightening bolt. His power controls our storms. Jesus controls our uncontrollable.

Friend, take comfort and rest in these anchors. Carefully consider them one by one. Waves may crash all around us. Winds may howl, but we have hope in Jesus. His providence, His presence, and His power will sail with us through any storm.

Lord Jesus, Thank You for Your providential control, Your presence, and Your power. Help me recall these anchors when storms arise. In Jesus’ name, Amen.