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Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In was a comedy sketch TV program that aired in the late 60s and early 70s. My parents used to love that show. One of the sketches I remember best was the “Here Comes De Judge” sketch that featured Flip Wilson and later Sammy Davis Jr. In this sketch, you would have an innocent defendant stand before “De Judge” and receive all types of abuse. For a sample of this sketch watch this: http://video.aol.com/video-detail/laugh-in-here-comes-the-judge/2172108200
As funny as it was to watch some poor guy get misjudged and abused at the hands of a judge, we all know, in real life, being misjudged by others isn’t funny at all. How many times have we been falsely accused of wrongdoing, or have our motives for an action totally misunderstood. Think of how painful it was to have to defend yourself when you know you are an innocent victim of wrong headed judgment.
For many well-meaning people, the solution to making wrong judgments is simply to make no judgments at all… This sounds like a great solution, but, unfortunately, there are times when judgments need to be made. Would you feel comfortable leaving your child at a babysitter, without making a judgment about that sitter’s character? Or could you marry someone without ever examining their life to be sure they are a suitable mate for you? Can you standby idly watching a loved one take a life path that would lead to their harm or even death?
Making, or not making, judgments about others are a very complicated necessity of life. The Lord has given us insight into this subject in His Word…
The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee? Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel. Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day? Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
In a nutshell, our text gives us the Lord’s teachings on the judgment of others… there is a righteous type of judgment and there is an unrighteous type of judgment. Therefore, the core of our study is this… which type of judgment is righteous and what type is unrighteous. Once again, the Lord does not leave us guessing about these things.
Here are the basic principles we are to use to help us render the proper type of “righteous” judgment:
- When we judge others without looking at ourselves first, we are judging unrighteously. Matt 7:1-5, Rom 2:1-1. Many times this type of judgment can become a stumblingblock for those being judged. Rom 14:10-13
- When we judge other’s motives, by trying to guess what is in their heart, is an unrighteous judgment 1 Cor 4:1-5
- We should not be critical of others who choose not to keep the dictates of OT ceremonial laws, they no longer mandatory for us to keep. They were fulfilled, and ended, with the first coming of Christ to earth. These laws were given to teach the OT believers about the first coming of Christ (a shadow of things to come). When Christ came the purpose of these laws was fulfilled and they are no longer to be observed. Col 2:13-17, John 7:20-23
- Our judgments should not be influenced based upon the possibility of personal gain. James 2:1-9
- Our motives for judging others must ALWAYS be with the intent to help those we are judging. We should never judge others with the intent to find fault so we can justify our own lives or look better in the eyes of others around us. James 4:10-12 As we seek to help others it should be with a humble attitude realizing, apart from God’s grace, we would be in the same shape, or worse, than the person we are judging. 1 Thess 5:14-28, Gals 6:1-6
- We must judge others to choose our teachers, leaders and associates in life. To not render this judgment is to open us up to false teachings and sinful practices in our life. Matt 7:15-20, 2 Cor 6:14-18
- We must be constantly making life decisions based on the context of God’s Word. We must judge other’s actions and teachings before we follow in their footsteps. Roms 2:26-29, 1 Cor 2:13-16, Luke 12:56-59
(Note: I’ve only been able to summarize the basic teachings found in the above references for the sake of this study. I would suggest that we prayerfully study each of the above references for a much more complete understanding of the principles for Scriptural judgment making.)
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:
For followers of Christ, righteous judgments should be a daily, habitual action. How many different decisions are we called upon that dictates a judgment be made? How many times do we fail the Lord by making unrighteous judgments concerning our lives and the lives of others? For the Christian, knowing, understanding and applying the above principles is of utmost importance.
For those who are not yet followers of Christ, the first and most important judgment you will ever make is to decide the truthfulness of God’s Word. Does the Bible contain errors? Are the historical accounts of both Old and New Testament fictional or are they factual? Finally, and most importantly, are the Bible’s claims about Christ true; and therefore, can I trust in Christ with my soul’s eternal destiny?
By God’s grace, you will come to an acceptance of the truthfulness of Scripture and the need to trust in Christ and His work on the cross. 1 John 1:1-4
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One of most famous college basketball coaches of all time was John Wooden, coach of the UCLA Bruins. Coach Wooden, a devout, outspoken, Christian, set many NCAA records during his coaching career at UCLA. He set records for number of undefeated seasons (4), number of conference championships (19) and number of NCAA championships (10). To read more about the achievements of coach Wooden please go to http://www.sacredhoops.com/john-wooden/
Besides being known for his extraordinary spirituality, coaching skills and achievements, Coach Wooden was also known for NEVER using profanity. Many times he would use the phrase “Goodness’, Gracious’ sakes alive!” as a replacement for profane language. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxMGcmp5t30
Unknown to many, this phrase carries with it a reference to Jehovah, the triune God who Coach Wooden served.
Both the terms Goodness and Gracious are attributes of Jehovah God of the Bible. Exodus 34:6 makes this very clear “… The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,” This is how the phrase “Goodness, Gracious” began, it was used as an alternate name(s) for our God. Because He is a good God, He is given the title “Goodness”. Because He is the God of grace, He is given the title “Gracious”.
This being the case, what does it mean when the Bible says God is a God of goodness? Let’s continue our study centering on “goodness”, one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.