Tag Archives: Judgment

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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Never Forsaken 

NEVER FORSAKEN

By Carolyn Dale Newell

 

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice,

saying…”My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Mark 15:34 (NKJV)

 

One of the greatest comforts I know is that God never leaves me, nor forsakes me (Heb. 13:5). He has been right there by my side as I have gone through many difficulties, and He will be with me to the end. Christians have the peace of knowing that God will be with us when we die. Even though there may be pain, He will comfort us and our loved ones when they leave this world to enter heaven.

 

As Jesus hung on the cross, He did not feel the comfort that God will give believers at death. He received God’s wrath and punishment without His grace. He received exactly what we deserve, and He bore the weight of our sin. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21).

 

After God’s wrath had been unleashed on Christ, He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” This is the only time that Christ did not refer to God as His Father. God had forsaken Him, and He was not comforting Him. Could this be a picture of what hell is like? Those who never repent and remain unsaved will receive eternal punishment from God without His comfort and grace.

 

As we consider death, let us be comforted by the fact that we will not have to face it alone. God will comfort His children and give us the grace that He always gives us through everything that we endure on this earth. We should also lift up thanksgiving to Christ for taking our judgment.Truly the songwriter got it right – “O what a Savior”!

 

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for never forsaking us. Thank You for comforting us and giving us grace no matter what trial we are facing. Amen.

 

DIG DEEPER

Read Mark 15:33-41.

 

HIKING THE TRAIL

Whatever you are going through today, take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. God will never leave you, nor forsake you, even in death. 

 

Copyright 2014 Carolyn Dale Newell.